Power & Temperatures

While entry-level video cards may not top the performance charts, their low transistor count and low power usage means that they do very well on our power and temperature charts. And by being passively cooled, they are winners by default for noise, as they don’t generate any noise to measure.

On paper these cards differ by around a few watts when it comes to idle power, but by the time you put them in our i7 test rig, those few watts melt away. The Radeon 5450, the Radeon 4550, and the GeForce 210 all idle at 121W on our test rig, tying with the GeForce GT 240 for the lowest idle power usage we’ve measured.

Under load this changes some. The 5450 offers the second-lowest load power usage that we’ve measured, coming in below things like the GT 220 and the 4550. It doesn’t quite best the GeForce 210 however, which we believe to be a combination of the 210’s smaller-yet GPU and differences to how NVIDIA and AMD go about throttling their cards when we’re running FurMark.

At any rate, the 5450 does particularly well against other AMD cards, not only beating the 4000-series, but coming in under the 5670 by a hefty 47W. The 5670 may be the better HTPC card from a deinterlacing standpoint right now, but you pay for it with power.

We should note that for our load temperature testing, we use a closed case with all of the fans active on our Thermaltake Spedo case. So the results here are from plenty of airflow being sent towards the first PCIe x16 slot. Since we’re looking at passive cards today, they’re much more affected by this than actively cooled cards are. In a case with little to no airflow, these passive cards would definitely get hotter.

For load temperatures, the 5450 is the coolest video card we have ever tested, taking the title by 4C over its nearest competitor, the GeForce 210. This is thanks in a large part to the use of a double-wide heatsink for better heat dissipation, and of course the low power consumption of the 5450 in the first place. This also gives us a chance to quantify the differences between the double-wide heatsink on the reference card and the single-wide heatsink on the Sapphire 5450; the smaller Sapphire heatsink is only 4C worse at 51C. The double-wide heatsink in this case looks to be overkill.

At idle things change some. Our coolest cards are the actively cooled cards, which have their own fans to keep them cool. The passively cooled cards on the other hand build up some additional heat, coming in at the mid-40s, similar to several of our mid-range cards.

Left 4 Dead Conclusion


View All Comments

  • Purri - Monday, March 08, 2010 - link

    Ok, so i read a lot of comments that the cheap passive DP-Adapters wont work for a EyeFinity 3 Monitor setup.

    But, can i use this card for a 3 monitor windows-desktop setup without eyefinity - or do i need an expensive adapter for this too?

    I'm looking for a cheapish, passivly(silent) cooled card that supports 3 monitors for windows applications, that has enough performance to play a few old games now and then (like quake3) on 1 monitor.

    Will this card work?
  • waqarshigri - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    yes of course it has amd eyefinity technology .... i played new games on it like nfs run,call of duty MW3, battlefield 3, Reply
  • plopke - Friday, February 05, 2010 - link

    :o what about the 5830 , wasn't it delayed until the 5th. It is suddenly very quiet about it on all techsite. And not launched today. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, February 04, 2010 - link

    Your charts are all buggered up. Just looking over the charts, in Crysis: Warhead, you test the nvidia 9600GT for performance. Ok fine. Then we move a long to the Power consumption charts, and you omit the 9600GT for the 9500GT ? Better still, we move to both heat tests, and both of these card are omitted.

    WTH ?! Come on guys, is there something wrong with a bit of consistency ?
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, February 05, 2010 - link

    Some of those cards are out of Anand's personal collection, and I don't have a matching card. We have near-identical hardware that produces the same performance numbers; however we can't replicate the power/noise/temperature data due to differences in cases and environment.

    So I can put his cards in our performance tests, but I can't use his cards for power/temp/noise testing. It's not perfect, but it allows us to bring you the most data we can.
  • yyrkoon - Friday, February 05, 2010 - link

    Well, the only real gripe that I have here is that I actually own a 9600GT. Since we moved last year, and are completely off grid ( solar / wind ), I would have liked to compare power consumption between the two. Without having to actually buy something to find out.

    Oh well, nothing can be done about it now I suppose.

    I can say however that a 9600GT in a P35 system with a Core 2 E6550, 4GB of ram, and 4 Seagate barracudas uses ~167-168W idle. While gaming, the most CPU/GPU intensive games for me were world in conflict, and Hellgate: London. The two games "sucked down" 220-227W at the wall. This system was also moderately over clocked to get the memory and "FSB" at 1:1. Also these numbers are pretty close, but not super accurate, But as close as I can come eyeballing a kill-a-watt while trying to create a few numbers. The power supply was an 80Plus 500W variant. Manufactured by Seasonic if anyone must know( Antec EarthWATTS 500 ).
  • yyrkoon - Friday, February 05, 2010 - link

    Ah I forgot. The numbers I gave for the "complete" system at the wall included powering a 19" WS LCD that consistently uses 23W. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Thursday, February 04, 2010 - link

    Where's the low-profile 5650?? I don't want to downgrade my 4650 to a 5450 just for HD bitstreaming. =/ Reply
  • Roy2001 - Thursday, February 04, 2010 - link

    Video game is on XBOX360 and Wii, so i3-530 for $117 is a better solution for me. It supports bitstream through HDMI too. My 2 cents. Reply
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 04, 2010 - link

    I apologize if this has been confirmed already, but does this mean we won't see a chip from ATI that falls between 5450 and 5670?

    There were four GPUs in this range last gen (4350, 4550, 4650, 4670)

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