Power, Temperature, and Noise

Last but not least as always is our look at the power consumption, temperatures, and acoustics of the Radeon HD 6450. Our power usage data should closely mirror any other 6450, but with a variety of passively cooled and actively cooled cards, many retail 6450s will be quite different.

Please note that we’re only including dGPUs here. Sandy Bridge power consumption is not even comparable due to the difference in everything from the CPU to the PSU.

Radeon HD 6450 Voltage
6450 Idle 6450 Load
0.9v 1.15v

At idle the 6450 pulls about as little as we can get away with on our 1200W Antec Quattro PSU. It’s without a doubt the lowest idle power consumption out of this current generation of GPUs.

Under Crysis we see how much 27W does, or rather doesn’t contribute to total system power consumption. The only DX11 card competitive with these level of power consumption is the 5450; the next-lowest card is the 5570 which starts out at 10W higher. This low power consumption is what helps to make the 6450 a good candidate for passive cooling and HTPC use.

A bit surprisingly power consumption under Furmark is the same as it is under Crysis: 178W at the wall. This is likely due to lower CPU power consumption while at the same time GPU power consumption rises. Considering every other card has crept up at least some, this further highlights just how little power the 6450 consumes.

The cooler on the 6450 is identical to the cooler on our 5570 sample, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that cooling characteristics are similar even with the lower power consumption. In this case an idle temperature of 39C is not close to being record-breaking, but it is consistent with this cooler. Running the fan faster could lower the result at the cost of noise, but there's no need.

Now load tempeartures on the other hand can certainly set some records. At 59C under Crysis the 6450 is tied with the 5570 for the coolest actively cooled card. We’re actually surprised it doesn’t do a bit better here given the similar cooler but lower power consumption.

Under Furmark the GT 220 does manage to edge out the 6450, but the 6450 is still the coolest AMD card by 3C. It’s an interesting contrast from a couple of weeks ago when we were looking at dual-GPU monsters; 64C is practically lukewarm.

Under idle the 5570/6450 cooler is consistent with most other well designed coolers: it’s quieter than the noise floor of our testbed.

So the downside to the active cooler being used is that it’s not very quiet. If you want a quiet 6450 you’re better served by a passively cooled model for obvious reasons. But even if you want an actively cooled model, we strongly suspect you’ll see better coolers than the one on our sample. There’s no reason an active cooler needs to be more than a couple of dBA off of our noise floor—the GT 430 proves that.

Compute Performance Final Thoughts
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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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