AMD's Radeon HD 6450: UVD3 Meets The HTPCby Ryan Smith on April 7, 2011 12:01 AM EST
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.