The Perfect HTPC Card? Probably

While AMD primarily targets cards like the 6450 at the budget upgrade market when it comes to retail, our preferred focus is on technical situations where such a card makes sense rather than economic situations. So with the 6450, 5450, GT 430, and other cards, usefulness in an HTPC environment is of great interest to us.

iGPUs have made some strides in the last six months in completely capturing the HTPC space, but usually they come up short in some form or another. This usually manifests itself as limited post-processing options due to a lack of shaders, and in the case of Sandy Bridge, the lack of a 23.976fps mode. iGPUs are still making strides and it’s possible we’ll see something capable of practical perfection as early as this summer with Llano, but for now you need a dGPU to achieve best results.

The last time we took a look at the HTPC market for a dGPU was with NVIDIA’s GT 430 in October. At that time it was the first low-end GPU with HDMI 1.4a and Blu-ray 3D capabilities, giving it an edge over AMD’s lineup at the cost of not supporting cadence detection for some more unusual patterns. The best AMD card for HTPC use at that time was the 5570, as the 5450 lacked the memory bandwidth and shader capacity necessary to make use of AMD’s full suite of post-processing features.

Due to how little time we’ve had with the 6450 we haven’t been able to run it through our full suite of HTPC tests, but so far it’s looking very good. Between the doubling of memory bandwidth and doubling of shaders, the 6450 is now able to run all of AMD’s post-processing features at full speed—that is they all work with Enforce Smooth Video Playback enabled and without dropping any frames in the process. AMD reports an HD HQV 2.0 score of 188, while we recorded 189 on the 5570 last year (keep in mind scoring is inherently subjective to some degree). We need to do further testing, but with our limited time it looks like the 6450 is as equally capable as the 5570 when it comes to post-processing, which is to say it’s at the top of the charts.


AMD Radeon HD 6450, Cheese Slices Test


AMD Radeon HD 5570, Cheese Slices Test

The post-processing capabilities along with the ability to decode and transmit 3D content are what have us so excited about the 6450 as an HTPC card. Although 3D content hasn’t made much progress in the last six months, for HTPC purposes at a bare minimum we’re looking at a 5570 replacement with a bit over half the power consumption and modern display outputs. That alone is quite enticing.


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Meet The Radeon HD 6450 The Test
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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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