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Written by Bruce Normann   
Thursday, 04 February 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
ATI Radeon HD5450 HTPC Video Card
Radeon HD5450 Features
Radeon HD5450 Specifications
Closer Look: Radeon HD 5450
Radeon HD5450 Detailed Features
ATI Eyefinity Multi-Monitors
Video Card Testing Methodology
3DMark Vantage Benchmarks
Crysis Benchmark Results
Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark
Far Cry 2 Benchmarks
Resident Evil 5 Benchmarks
ATI Radeon HD5450 Temperature
VGA Power Consumption
Radeon HD5450 Final Thoughts
ATI Radeon HD5450 Conclusion

ATI Radeon HD5450 Conclusion

Looking at the performance of the ATI Radeon HD5450, you have to give up the idea that this is going to be any kind of solution for a gaming rig. In modern FPS games, it was well below any reasonable person's expectation for visual quality. Even at the reduced resolutions and quality levels that we introduced in our review of the HD5670 and GT240, the HD5450 just barely got into double digits for frames-per-second. This card is not really practical as a multi-purpose solution. We'll have to wait a bit for the HD55xx to see if it's possible to successfully bridge the two requirements of gaming and video playback. The strength of the HD5450 lies in Home Theater PC usage only, where it performs superbly. ATI is currently leading the game in image quality for HD video, and this small, low power, silent and cool board supports all the latest software enhancements that make those improved visuals possible.

The appearance of the passively cooled HD5450 is visually stunning. There are some really ugly passive cards out there, along with a few decent looking ones, but nothing comes close to the design statement that this one makes. AIB partners will have pretty much total flexibility to implement their own cooling systems, and I don't expect any one of them to top this. Batmobile indeed; this one is fine art, of the industrial design variety.


The build quality of the Radeon HD5450 was quite good, for an engineering sample. The parts were all high quality, the soldering and component placement were to a high standard, and the heat sink was manufactured and assembled perfectly.

The features of the HD5450 have been carried over in full measure from the very first HD58xx series: DirectX 11, Full ATI Eyefinity Support, ATI Stream Technology Support, DirectCompute 11 and OpenCL Support, HDMI 1.3a with Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio. Nothing was left out on this card, despite it being produced for a clearly different role than the original barn burner gaming cards. Even though this card will not thrive in a multi-functional role, it still provides a solid HTPC experience and is a considerable upgrade for many systems still relying on IGP.

As of March 2010 there are several models available at different prices for the Radeon HD 5450, depending on DRAM configuration and cooling solution. PowerColor offers the AX5450 for $40, while the Sapphire 100291L lists for $43 and XFX HD5450 sells for $50. This is a small price premium from the lowest priced cards available from our favorite e-tailer, but launch pricing is always a bit high, for obvious reasons. We saw in our gaming tests that it takes an extra $50-70 to get decent results with challenging titles, but the extra performance also buys you higher power requirements, more noise and more heat.

The ATI Radeon HD5450 earns a Silver Tachometer Award, because there are some buyers that absolutely demand a passively cooled, completely silent video card, and they also need that card to support the latest technology and features for HD video playback. Until now, those two requirements were mutually exclusive; now there is a product; the one and only product, which completely meets their needs. The fact that it's impossible to build a dual-use card with 40nm technology that does all that and can play FPS games convincingly is a shame. Fortunately, we'll only have to wait a year or so, to see what 28nm GPUs can do.


+ Modern feature set
+ Extremely low power consumption
+ Aggressive power modulation of GPU and RAM
+ Best video quality currently available
+ HDMI, VGA and DVI interfaces on single slot
+ Cool, silent operation
+ Truly awesome looks
+ Very low heat generation


- High-end gaming titles are almost impossible to play
- AIB partners will probably mess with the good looks


  • Performance: 8.50
  • Appearance: 9.75
  • Construction: 9.25
  • Functionality: 8.75
  • Value: 8.50

Final Score: 8.95 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award

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# CompitableBhavesh Patel 2011-10-20 20:09
is ATI Radeon HD5450 compitable with intel dual core 2.8 Ghz processor ?
Please reply as early as possible
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# RE: CompitableOlin Coles 2011-10-20 21:17
Yes. All video cards are compatible with all processors. Just make sure the motherboard has a PCI-Express graphics slot.
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# RE: ATI Radeon HD5450 HTPC Video Cardmahmod 2012-03-08 07:50
how to make sure the mother board has a pci-slot?
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# Open up the box and look inside.Bruce 2012-03-08 08:29
Wikipedia has some good pictures on the PCI Express page that show what they look like
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# RE: ATI Radeon HD5450 HTPC Video CardHanzyy 2012-04-24 07:43
Is is good foor games?Will it play them fast? I don't know so much about hardware and stuff...
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# Not so muchBruce 2012-04-24 07:50
This card is on the low end of discrete graphics.
It's really better suited to a Home Theater PC.
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# Fan connectorRoger 2012-06-01 17:01
I see there is what looks like a fan connector on the card - is this correct and if so what would be the power specs for a fan?
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# YesBruce 2012-06-02 11:12
If you look at some of the other HD 5450 cards out on the market (Newegg has 34 models for sale, 2+ years after launch...!) you wll see that many of them have active cooling, with a fan plugged into this very same header. It's only two pins, so don't expect PWM or anything, just straight DC with no speed monitoring.
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# RE: Fan connectorTaimur 2013-02-05 10:52
The PCI slot has to have the little gap thing, the oppisite way around that does the graphics card have so for instance -- ---- and ---- -- and most of all if the the ports on the graphics card are pointing toward the outside, etc.
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# Re Fan ConnectorRoger 2012-06-02 18:10
Thanks for that Bruce,

Just to clarify such a connected fan would be of similar size and watts etc. to an inbuilt one?

Like I have a spare fan DC 12v 0.11A which is probably ok and another which is DC 12v 0.70A which is probably too powerful?
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# Yes, again....Bruce 2012-06-03 06:58
That's the idea. It's not going to be an exact science, but most fans that are small enough and thin enough to fit on that card's heatsink will be fine. I've been assuming that you want to cool the GPU on the HD 5450 with this fan... right?
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# Thats right Bruce...Roger 2012-06-03 22:01
I figure one cannot have enough fans (especially where I live in the tropics) so I might as well use a spare fan to play on the heatsink. The card will be on the bottom of the mobo with the heat sink facing down so I will mount the fan on the case bottom facing up to the heatsink.

Thanks again
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# RE: ATI Radeon HD5450 HTPC Video Cardjex2013 2013-03-05 18:43
I badly needed an htpc graphic card for my htpc. I am really having a hard time choosing because i really don't have any idea with these kind of things. But anyways, you're post is quite helpful. Thanks!
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# REPLY PLZZZAMINLRB 2013-03-08 13:33
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# No, It's NotBruce 2013-03-08 14:02
It is not good for high resolution games.
It was designed for HTPC use, which is much less demanding.
Plus, it was released three years ago, that's a LONG time in video card history. Why are you interested in it now? Can you even buy one in your location?
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