AMD’s Radeon HD 5450: The Next Step In HTPC Video Cardsby Ryan Smith on February 4, 2010 12:00 AM EST
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Power & Temperatures
While entry-level video cards may not top the performance charts, their low transistor count and low power usage means that they do very well on our power and temperature charts. And by being passively cooled, they are winners by default for noise, as they don’t generate any noise to measure.
On paper these cards differ by around a few watts when it comes to idle power, but by the time you put them in our i7 test rig, those few watts melt away. The Radeon 5450, the Radeon 4550, and the GeForce 210 all idle at 121W on our test rig, tying with the GeForce GT 240 for the lowest idle power usage we’ve measured.
Under load this changes some. The 5450 offers the second-lowest load power usage that we’ve measured, coming in below things like the GT 220 and the 4550. It doesn’t quite best the GeForce 210 however, which we believe to be a combination of the 210’s smaller-yet GPU and differences to how NVIDIA and AMD go about throttling their cards when we’re running FurMark.
At any rate, the 5450 does particularly well against other AMD cards, not only beating the 4000-series, but coming in under the 5670 by a hefty 47W. The 5670 may be the better HTPC card from a deinterlacing standpoint right now, but you pay for it with power.
We should note that for our load temperature testing, we use a closed case with all of the fans active on our Thermaltake Spedo case. So the results here are from plenty of airflow being sent towards the first PCIe x16 slot. Since we’re looking at passive cards today, they’re much more affected by this than actively cooled cards are. In a case with little to no airflow, these passive cards would definitely get hotter.
For load temperatures, the 5450 is the coolest video card we have ever tested, taking the title by 4C over its nearest competitor, the GeForce 210. This is thanks in a large part to the use of a double-wide heatsink for better heat dissipation, and of course the low power consumption of the 5450 in the first place. This also gives us a chance to quantify the differences between the double-wide heatsink on the reference card and the single-wide heatsink on the Sapphire 5450; the smaller Sapphire heatsink is only 4C worse at 51C. The double-wide heatsink in this case looks to be overkill.
At idle things change some. Our coolest cards are the actively cooled cards, which have their own fans to keep them cool. The passively cooled cards on the other hand build up some additional heat, coming in at the mid-40s, similar to several of our mid-range cards.