Media has found its way off of your TV set and into your office ever since Napster came along. The slow migration back to the living room has finally happened after many failed attempts at making a home theater PC that will make your wife happy, companies have finally figured it out. New HTPC products we are starting to see are quieter and lower profile than ever and we are starting to see some seriously impressive products geared not only toward media, but also all around use. ATI has found its place at the forefront of this HTPC movement by creating a line of graphics cards that not only cover everything I mentioned above, but also come with something everyone really wants to see, come on, you know what I mean, okay for the intellectually challenged of you out there I mean this new series is not going to break the bank. Let’s be honest money really can buy happiness if you don’t have to spend as much. Today we will be looking at the ATI 5450 Series Graphics Card that should only put you back about $50, let’s get a closer look:Provided by: ATI
Closer Look (Card and Catalyst Control Center):
How does the 5450 stack up, the closest board I could find was the 4350 so this will give you the just of what to expect:
The memory bandwidth for the Radeon 5450 has some serious improvement over its predecessor also a slight drop in wattage make it ideal for HTPC applications.
- Intel Core i5 - 661 Clarkdale CPU
- Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler
- Asrock H55M mATX Motherboard
- Crucial DDR3 PC3 16000 2 x 1 GB
- Cooler Master GX 750W PSU
- Cooler Master CM 690 II PC Chassis
- Seagate 1TB HDD
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Edition
If you were to go buy this card for your i7 extreme overclocking enthusiast rig than take a moment, and fallow these simple steps for me:
First: Dip your hand in some water, really get it sopping.
Second: Extend your arm to your side.
Third: As quickly, and with as much ferocity as possible, slap yourself. If your choice in purchase still seemed like a good idea just give it another go.
Okay now that we have that dealt with let’s move on. The ATI Radeon 5450 is a great little card, don’t get me wrong but it was never, and will never, be designed with the enthusiast gamer in mind. At best this is a casual gamer’s card. We are not here to play games on this card it was intended for an HTPC and that is just what we put it in.
Although the onboard GPU of the new i5 661 is a fantastic idea, it doesn’t have the horsepower of a dedicated GPU with dedicated ram. That is why I decided our i5 build we just featured is the perfect fit for the ATI 5450. Although I will admit I am actively looking for a better htpc case than the Coolermaster case I am using right now, it is a beautiful case but a little on the bulky side for an HTPC no amount of convincing is going to make my wife believe this bulky brute will look pretty in her living room. Anyways back on track:
I did the gaming and 3D Mark thing down below but the real test of this card is running bluray and that is exactly what I did. To begin with, some of the CPU load is compensated by its onboard GPU but having a dedicated GPU with dedicated memory will still work just that little bit more in the load balances favour. I was running around a 30% load on the cpu with the ATI 5450 without it was in and around the 46% area.
Also the reason I decided on the i5 is the fact that I was able to push the CPU to a 4.4GHz overclock in my review the only thing that held me back was the speckling on my display due to the abuse I gave to the GPU side of the chip. Now I can overclock the hell out of the i5 and still enjoy crisp images and the ability to run 3 displays with infinity. The overall HTPC experience was a good one, coupling great HDMI support with Avivo software, made the imagery really pop out on my 52inch Samsung. Although 1080P was pretty decent with the onboard GPU from Intel, the extra attention to detail I was able to achieve with Avivo (a relatively old technology now) was just that little extra oomph my home theatre experience needed. Now on to the numbers and another video:
We try to be different here at OCHQ and the majority of the people that love our reviews are too lazy to read. Don't take it as a personal shot, who has time to read these days? So in summation here you go:
Well this card is small, cooler is unimpressive, it only has 512MB DDR3 memory, oh yeah and it is pretty freakin amazing. If you had told me a year ago that I would be able to use this type of technology for under $50 I would have laughed in your face. HTPC cards were almost always pricy right up until ATI got into the 4000 series then this new series they took the cards to a whole other level. I honestly cringed when I unpacked these cards because along with the good stuff we have to review the lower end and sometimes it is a lot of work for little reward. Not in this case, I was shocked that this card supported this many features including DirextX 11 but still had every single attribute you would need for your own custom build media box. Sure some of the frame rates are unplayable, but the sheer fact that some of them are just attests to the power that ATI has put into these miniscule GPU’s.
I for one am proud of ATI, I am a Canadian and ATI started here and I hope they finally take back their place at the top of the market share once again. The only problem I ever had with ATI’s in the past was there drivers so far the drivers have been rock solid which is also something I am very happy to see. Keep it up ATI, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
- New Display Port Connector
- Bluray Playback
- Quiet (even with the fan version)
- Cross Fire Support
- Direct X 11
- Really, None; for its Price it Surpassed my Expectations by a Longshot