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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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  • lukechip - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    In the April 2011 Video Card MSRP list, you've omitted the Radeon HD 6950 2GB. Given that this was the first 6950, and in my mind, the 'real' 6950, why is it not listed ? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    The MSRP list isn't mean to be a definitive list of every card at every price point; but still, that was a rather silly omission. I've since added it. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    Also missed the GTX 590, but I understand that the purpose of the chart was to show the 6450's position, not to be completely and ultimately definitive. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    No, that would be because I'm an idiot.

    The chart was taken from the GTX 550 Ti article, which predated the 590 (which is why it's not there).
    Reply
  • GeorgeH - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    This might be a great HTPC card for an existing box, but unless AMD has seriously screwed up I can't see this card being terribly attractive for much of anything once Llano ships. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    I would've liked to see some discussion on that topic. Llano will probably be pitiful on the CPU end, but if they can cram a strong GPU into the product, these $50 GPUs will eventually become extinct. Reply
  • starfalcon - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    I suppose with Llano and Ivy Bridge, discrete graphics for HTPC use will essentially be extinct.
    For gaming I wonder if they will be willing to release any low end graphics that can be beaten by IGPs, if not, then I wonder what the lowest end cards they will release will be.
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Thursday, April 07, 2011 - link

    I agree, unless they will be used in other ways. I'm not sure what max resolution IGPs can support. Also, I'm sure if you use the HTPC as more of a PC than HT, you will probably need the additional parallel processing (or dedicated GPU).

    All-in-all these cards remind me of dedicated cards from the 90s :)
    Reply
  • starfalcon - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    I know IGPs can do 2560x1600.
    With Sandy Bridge I think it only can do it with display port but besides that 1920x1200 with HDMI/DVI. Shouldn't be a problem.
    What will you need the additional parallel processing for?
    Or dedicated GPU?
    Sandy Bridge supports quick sync and Llano should have lots of processing capabilities, Ivy Bridge should have more and more stuff also.
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Sunday, April 10, 2011 - link

    Say you're playing a game, want to put it on pause and watch some TV, or have multiple display setups and want to watch TV while playing a game. Add a DVR capture card and you'll be need more CPU and GPU processing.

    I'm just not sure how great the performance would be. Especially assuming you wanted to attach this to a 46"+ display. It might be "capable", but we all know that word is very misleading and quality is hard define when you don't see it with your own eyes.
    Reply

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