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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  • 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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