Meet The Radeon HD 6450

Both Turks and Caicos (6450) are cut from the same cloth as Barts, meaning they inherit many of the optimizations we first saw in Barts. A few of the changes in Barts were Barts-exclusive or meaningful only when compared to Cypress, such as the Redwood memory controller, but elsewhere Caicos is picking up these improvements, giving the 6450 a leg up over the 5450.

Coming from the 5450, we’re going to see four big changes for the 6450:

  1. Better performance due to higher clockspeeds and more functional units
  2. Improved tessellation engine
  3. New display controllers
  4. UVD3

Better performance is fairly straightforward, which we’ll see in our benchmarks. Meanwhile the improved tessellation engine probably won’t make a big difference, as 5450 and 6450 are both too slow to play most games with DX11/tessellation enabled. So the notable and useful changes for the 6450 are going to be in the display controller and UVD3.

With the new display controller comes a new set of output options for the 6450. The 6450 has gained both DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a compliance. The former is going to make it very easy to drive three digital displays from a 6450—cards almost universally come with a VGA port as the 3rd display otherwise. The latter is going to make it possible to drive 120Hz TVs at 120Hz for 3D content, primarily for Blu-ray 3D given the limited rendering capabilities of the 6450.

Of course to display Blu-ray 3D you need to be able to decode the frame-packed streams, and this is where UVD3 comes in. With UVD3 the 6450 gains the ability to decode MVC (frame-packed H.264) streams, along with full MPEG-2 decoding and MPEG-4 ASP (DivX/XviD) decoding. MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 are primarily for the benefit of mobile and Brazos platforms for energy efficiency and performance reasons, but the 6450 can tap into it all the same.

Moving on to the product itself, the card AMD shipped to us for review is very similar to our 5570 sample from last year, featuring a 6.61” low-profile card with a single-slot active cooler. At 27W TDP, power consumption is higher than the 5450, but a passively cooled low-profile 6450 should still be quite practical.

Our sample card is equipped with four 4Gbps Samsung GDDR5 modules running in 16-bit mode, adding up to the 64-bit bus we see on the 6450. Display connectivity is the same as in past AMD low-profile reference cards, featuring a DL-DVI port and a full size DisplayPort on the card, while a VGA port is at the top of the bracket attached to the card via a ribbon cable. The 6450 can drive up to three displays, including three displays through DP1.2 and an MST hub. For HTPC purposes we’d expect to see some cards replace the DisplayPort with an HDMI port.

AMD is primarily marketing this as an upgrade for Intel Sandy Bridge users, extolling the fact that they have DX11 capabilities and better drivers/compatibility than Intel. DX11 likely won’t make a difference for the games the 6450 can play, but we’ve seen first-hand that Intel still misses out on compatibility now and then. Perhaps AMD’s bigger advantage is that in the desktop space virtually all Sandy Bridge systems using the iGPU are using the HD 2000 GPU with 6 EUs instead of the HD 3000 GPU with 12 EUs; so the 6450 is placed against a sub-5450 GPU rather than a 5450-level GPU. In the mobile space however HD 3000 is the most common configuration, which makes things closer for the mobility versions of the 6450.

Introducing Caicos The Perfect HTPC Card? Probably
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  • veri745 - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    "... and this is what happens when the 5570 and GT 430."

    Typo or unfinished sentence?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    "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."

    In other words, the 5570 and GT 430 with only a minor discount on pricing blows away the 6450, at least from a pure performance perspective. Power and potentially HTPC use still could go to the 6450.
    Reply
  • 789427 - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    So you buy an APU - you get stunning graphics.
    You bought an Intel CPU - the extra $50 is what you pay to get a great CPU and HD graphics.
    Honestly, this is for joe soap and his HD monitor and will probably be branded as such!
    cb
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    It might also be nice for a productivity Eyefinity setup. I can't wait for AT to get a multi-monitor setup in their lab. Reply
  • khimera2000 - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    I cant wait till anandtech gets a multimonitor setup. then i can stop skimming the video card reviews :D

    In this modern age EVERY video card being released has the ability to drive at least two displays, and with Eyefinity, and Nvidia's offering I consider reviews incomplete unless they use ALL the technology there ment to drive. as of this moment this has not happened here. without the support of this I can only assume... and I hate assuming when im reading a review.

    As it stands, without the ability to test Eyefinity and similar set ups I dont think this place will ever be a final deal maker. and that's upsetting because if they cant get three monitors in for a normal test bed, we will probably never see reviews on how well other displays work in eyefinity.

    considering that the 5xxx came out in 2009, two years have passed since that fan fair (give or take), there really is no excuse not to have it right now.
    Reply
  • Springfield45 - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    I enjoy the tests on low end and low power graphics cards. One query though. Is the Radeon HD 5670 such an rare beast that no one has performance information? The HD 4670 was a wonderful upgrade for people that had OEM systems without the power supply to drive faster cards and it was recognized as that and reviewed quite well. Why was it's successor so ignored? Will there even be a successor in the 6xxx series? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    We keep a rolling database of performance results for GPU articles. The last time we did a low-end GPU article was with the GT 430 6 months ago, so we effectively didn't have any recent results for anything below a GTS 450. So for everything here below that, we had to rush to get results over a 2 day period. The 5670 was excluded because it's not particularly close in performance or pricing to the 6450. Everything we needed to say about how AMD had faster cards was covered by the 5570, which uses the same Redwood GPU anyhow.

    Anyhow, the 5670 does have a successor in Turks. Turks hasn't made retail yet so I can't say a whole lot about it, but its configured very similarly to Redwood. If and when it gets a retail release, you can expect to see a comparison to the 5670.
    Reply
  • Springfield45 - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    Cheers!

    I did not mean to sound as if it was a problem that card was omitted from this test. I just found it odd that it was never reviewed at all on Anandtech (and very few other places as well) since the 4670 had made such a big splash.

    Your articles are always on the top of my list a resources and I thank you for them!
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    The 5670 WAS reviewed on Anandtech:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2917

    and since this review compares the 6450 closely to the 5570, a look at the 5570 review will give you an idea of where the 5670 bar would be in this article's graphs:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2935

    The 5670 is the fastest card AMD or Nvidia ever released that didn't require a PCIE connector, although since Ryan not-so-subtly referred to a 6000-series replacement to 5670, that won't be the case much longer!
    Reply
  • DLimmer - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    Not quite true.

    There's a 5750 that is "green" and doesn't require a PCIE connector.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply

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