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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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  • ET - Sunday, April 10, 2011 - link

    I think that DDR3-1866 is unlikely to be currently used in a budget system. It's still a premium speed. Anyway I was referring to the E2-3250, the budget Llano, which will have (though not announced officially) only DDR3-1600 support and a sub-450MHz clock rate. That puts it at under 60% performance of the Radeon 6450 based on clock speed (I think that memory won't further impact performance), which based on the test results should drop its performance under the HD 3000 in many cases.

    The low end A4 chips, which have ~600MHz clocks, 80% of the 6450 (but may be more likely to be affected by memory speed), are more likely to compete well with the HD 3000, but there are still cases in this review where the HD 3000 was over 80% of the 6450 in terms of FPS, so they could lose there.

    Anyway, that's not to bash Llano, just trying to get more of an understanding of it. I think it's better to keep expectations low and be pleasantly surprised later than the other way round.
    Reply
  • Gungel - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    Just found this incredible expensive offer on HP's store front:
    HP QM229AA Radeon HD6450 512MB DDR3 $129.00

    Are they nuts?
    Reply
  • aarste - Saturday, April 09, 2011 - link

    Would have been nice to see some 23.976 fps tests Reply
  • Sxotty - Sunday, April 10, 2011 - link

    Why is it a great HTPC card if it is loud? That is one of the worst blemishes for that purpose. The review says it is surprised it is so loud and assumes other models will be quiet. That means that unless you get a passively cooled model you could likely end up with an annoyingly loud card that is completely anathema to the HTPC environment. As such recommending the card for that purpose seems silly without additional disclaimers. Quiet is more important for HTPC than passing all the HQV tests b/c cards always make noise, and only sometimes have to do weird cadences. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, April 11, 2011 - link

    Keep in mind this is an internal reference design. It won't see the light of day in retail. Retail cards will (for better or worse) have different coolers. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Monday, April 11, 2011 - link

    You wont find an HD3000 intel IGP on the price range of low end dual core Llano. Hey, you wont even find an HD2000 for the same price xD.

    This 160SP Llano should cost around 60-70. More or less what current Athlon II X2 cost.
    Reply
  • ch1n4 - Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - link

    Hi,
    Did you have time to make the HTPC relevant tests with the 6450? Additionally it would be very useful to see the difference in performance between the DDR-3 Version and the DDR-5 Version. It's a shame that only the DD3- Version has got a passive cooler. Therefore it would be very important to know if the Radeon 6450-DDR3 is the Perfect HTPC Card, or only the DDR-5 Version? Or none of them and the Radeon 5570 is still the King of HTPC.
    Reply

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