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Final Thoughts

Having blitzed through the Radeon HD 6450 review in only two days, I’m going to hesitate some to make too many definitive statements, as in an ideal world we have some additional tests we would have liked to run that instead will need to wait until a later time.

On a pure performance-per-dollar perspective the 6450 comes up well short of the best, but we’d basically be a broken record at this point. It’s very rare to see new low-end products claim the top spot for their very narrow price bracket, even if a die shrink is involved. Even a slight discount on a more expensive product blows the entire lineup out of the water, and this is what happens with the 5570 and GT 430.

It has always been the case in the low-end that a few more dollars buys a lot more performance, and this hasn’t changed. If you’re buying for performance purposes purely on a $55 budget than the 5570 is going to be hard to beat, or even the GT 430 if you want to go with NVIDIA. However an even better suggestion is to spend another $30-$40 and try to snag something like an AMD Radeon 5700 series card or an NVIDIA GTS 450—the performance difference is simply staggering.

So what do we do with a very low power, low performance, budget priced card? We throw it in our HTPCs of course! It’s here where we need to do some more aggressive testing as time allows, but the Radeon HD 6450 has all the makings of an excellent HTPC card. It has all the video decoding features we could ask for at the lowest TDP we’ve ever seen those features made available at. For a pure video decode and 10ft GUI card, I’m not sure there’s anything that can top the 6450. The only area where it comes short is overall gaming performance if you intend to game on your HTPC, in which case the 6800 series, or perhaps a Turks-based card would be a better choice…

The only notable blemish here is that AMD has gone for a soft launch. If you're buying OEM there's no reason you can't get the 6450 today (or last month for that matter); however, if you're buying retail you're going to be waiting roughly another two weeks.

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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