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Final Thoughts

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.

Power, Temperature, and Noise
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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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