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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  • ET - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    If you're worried about crossing the 25W line you can always slightly underclock it. That said, unless you intend to use it for gaming, folding or another such heavy task, it shouldn't come close to 25W, and from your description above it sounds like you're not planning such things. Reply
  • DjPete2008 - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    According to this - http://www.rage3d.com/reviews/video/amd_hd6450_lau... - the idle power draw is actually less than the 5450.

    So it would probably be compatible with my system, and as ET said, I could also underclock it. Now to wait and see what retail products get released.
    Reply
  • Wave_Fusion - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    Since the Turks architecture is what my 6770M is based on, I'm looking forward to see how the desktop versions do. It might not be as impressive in the desktop world, but as mobility cards go its not far from the top. Reply
  • evolucion8 - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    It is a good review, but I think that it might be more productive doing video quality analysis instead of gaming performance as no one will buy such low end card for gaming anyways. Or at least two or three gaming performance charts and the rest with video quality and performance analysis, good product overall, but in terms of gaming performance, I think that the GT 430 is a better option. Reply
  • Mishera - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    I second that.

    I've been thinking about building a htpc using Amd's e-350, and was wondering if something like this would be useful from a feature/video quality perspective, or if the apu would be adequate on it's own.
    Reply
  • ET - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    I always find gaming potential interesting, but I think that 1680x1050 maximum quality with 4x AA isn't. I don't really need putting this in the perspective of all the other cards just to show it's not good for that. I want to know what it does work for. 720p would be a good testing point for an HTPC. 1280x1024 and 1024x768 aren't really in use these days.

    It might be a good idea for Anandtech to develop a low end gaming benchmark, with game and setting selections which are more useful to indicate the suitability of such low end hardware for some gaming. I know Jarred is working on a low end gaming article, but I'd love this to be put into standard reviews of such hardware.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    The majority of non-gamers (those that would probably buy this card not for HTPC), are on 17-19" monitors (ie those that come with the Dell/HP) computer and so I would argue that the 1280X1024 is likely the MOST important resolution to test.

    Still I agree with the above poster that the game tests are more of a formality and the focus should be on the video quality and performance analysis (specifically power draw doing common HTPC tasks not a load benchmark with crysis).
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    Unless that Dell/HP is pre-2005, it is probably not not 1280x1024. The various widescreen resolutions with between 768 and 900 pixels of vertical resolution have been more common for quite a while at those screen sizes. Reply
  • ET - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    Low end Llano chips will have 160 cores, but slower and with slower memory. That'd put it around HD 3000 or even under (and sometimes higher), but still over HD 2000. Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    Tough call. Llano will have access to a dual channel memory bus of up to DDR3-1866 which theoretically should provide more bandwidth than the 6450, although it will have to share this with the rest of the system. Even so, this should still be plenty enough to beat HD 3000 regardless of what Llano model is in use, assuming the fastest memory is used.

    I believe Llano's true strength will be 720p with AA; even with 400 shader cores it's not going to be a monster and certainly won't be suited for 1080 gaming. Hell, I wouldn't even put my 4830 through that. One thing we really don't know right now is how many texture units and ROPs Llano actually possesses.
    Reply

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