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Compute Performance

With the 11.3 Catalyst drivers AMD started including their OpenCL runtime with the drivers, a long-awaited development that we’re hoping spurs additional OpenCL development. With that change AMD’s marketing posture has once again shifted towards advertising their GPGPU capabilities, though the 6450 isn’t a great platform for this. With 160 SPs its twice as capable as the 5450, but this is still around 1/10 the theoretical capabilities of their high-end cards, and there the difference between the GPU and the CPU often isn’t the same 10x difference.

In short the 6450 isn’t very fast for GPGPU computing tasks, and indeed Cyberlink’s MediaEspresso won’t even allow hardware encode acceleration on the 6450. This is probably the only notable weakness for the 6450 as an HTPC platform—the decoding is great, but it has no hope of catching up to Intel’s Quick Sync for encoding.

Our first compute benchmark comes from Civilization V, which uses DirectCompute to decompress textures on the fly. Civ V includes a sub-benchmark that exclusively tests the speed of their texture decompression algorithm by repeatedly decompressing the textures required for one of the game’s leader scenes. Note that this is a DX11 benchmark.

With only 160 SPs the 6450 achieves very limited performance here.

Our second compute benchmark of the day is SmallLuxGPU, the GPU ray tracing branch of the open source LuxRender renderer. While it’s still in beta, SmallLuxGPU recently hit a milestone by implementing a complete ray tracing engine in OpenCL, allowing them to fully offload the process to the GPU. It’s this ray tracing engine we’re testing. Note that as Intel doesn’t currently offer an OpenCL driver for their HD Graphics iGPUs, we’re only looking at dGPUs here.

We’ve cut off all the scores above 10K rays/second just to make the 6450 fit, which should give you an idea of the relative performance. The 5770 at $50 more easily gets 4x the performance.

StarCraft II Power, Temperature, and Noise
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  • Andrew Rockefeller - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    I'm a bit psyched at the prospect of a passive 6XXX series card. Rumour has it that Llano will be hybrid crossfire capable with such a card. It is a piece in the puzzle for my ultimate 'completely passive' yet still decently powered HTPC build.. hopefully coming to my loungeroom sometime Q3. Reply
  • EmmetBrown - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    For the image quality. JPG introduces more distortion. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    More video ports. I have 3 monitors (2x20, 1x30); and since that's not an eyefinity supported setup I stuck a 5450 in next to my 5870 to run the 3rd screen. It wasn't any more expensive than a DP-DVI adapter and came without the compatibility/reliability nightmare the adapter came with. Reply
  • casteve - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    A lower power way to get multi monitor support. Catalyst doesn't downclock the memory if you have more than 1 monitor plugged into a video card. On a 5770, that's 30W extra when idling or doing any 2D (non-gaming) function. Plug a 2nd monitor into a 6450 and lower power consumption by ~20W.

    Ryan - will there be an addendum to cover the HTPC tests? Can you add power use during some typical apps (playing 1080P content, etc)?
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    Yes, there will be an addendum. Ganesh (our HTPC/media streamer guru) will be looking at a 6450 in an HTPC setup. I can't promise what tests he'll run though, so you would have to talk to him. Reply
  • bobbozzo - Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - link

    In the HTPC review, I would like to see a comparison of using the hardware features for deinterlacing, deblocking, etc., compared to software such as ffmpeg.

    thanks!
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    " AMD’s previous low-end product, the 80SP Radeon HD 5450, is effectively matched by Intel’s HD 3000"

    Huh? To get the HD3000 you have to spend some $200 on a cpu, not to mention a new motherboard in 100% of situations. With a $50 6450 you can buy a $50 Athlon II and have better graphics for less than half the total price. Any intel solution in this price range is going to be stripped down vs the HD3000. Celeron B810 for example. That chip is $90 but its gpu has been gutted. A $35 5450 and a $50 X2-245 together would ker-stomp the celeron B810, for less money too.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    Take the statement as forward looking rather than focused on GPU upgrades to existing systems. If you have an Athlon II and you wanted decent graphics, chances are you're already running at least a 5570, which as we point out is significantly faster than the 6450. If on the other hand you buy a new system later this year and it comes with a Sandy Bridge CPU, would you really want to pay an extra $50 to "upgrade" to the HD 5450? No, you wouldn't. You would want a card that is faster and offers more, and this is where the 6450 comes in. On the AMD side, you also have Llano coming out, which will be quite a bit faster on the GPU side than the HD 5450. Again, why would AMD continue to have their low-end discrete GPU lag behind modern IGPs? Reply
  • DjPete2008 - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    When you get a chance to do more testing, I would love to know if it is would be a worthwhile upgrade from a Radeon HD 5450, especially in terms of power consumption. I currently have a passively cooled 5450 in my HP Proliant Microserver, running as a NAS / HTPC. (P.S. - It would be awesome to see a review on the Microserver as well).

    Would the 6450 be able to fit in the required power envelope of my system (the x16 PCI Express slot is apparently rated at a maximum of 25W, according to the marking on the motherboard)? The motherboard might well be able to go a bit higher than 25W, but I'd rather let someone else find that out :)
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    What? All your questions are answered in this article. The TDP rating of the 6450 is 40% more at idle and load than the 5450. The TDP is 27W. Reply

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