ATI Radeon HD 5450 & HD 5570 Graphics Cards

Graphics Cards
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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 seconds of room ambiance, followed by 5~10 seconds of the VGA test system without a video card installed, and then the actual product's noise at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

Comparable system sound files:

FINAL THOUGHTS

ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB:

According to reviews at HardwareCanucks and AnandTech, the Radeon HD 5450, as we expected, delivers poor modern gaming performance, only capable of smooth play in less GPU-intensive games, and even then at lower resolutions than most gamers are accustomed to. It is still a huge step up from integrated graphics, especially Intel-based solutions. That being said, if you're serious about PC gaming, you're going to need to spend 50~100% more at the minimum to get a good experience and value.

The 5450 excels primarily as an energy efficient GPU for high definition video playback. As a member of the HD 5000 family, it can bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio through HDMI, and is easily the most affordable card that can do so. For audio buffs, this alone makes it a steal for $50. If you have a mini-ITX home theater PC however, you may not have enough room for a two-slot card. Luckily, most of the 5450s hitting the market so far are single-slot versions, many of which are fanless.

Like our reference sample, many of the retail versions sold by ATI's partners lack a DisplayPort connector, so they do not support Eyefinity. We are surprised not to see more Eyefinity supported 5450s, perhaps equipped with low speed DDR2 to keep the cost down. A power efficient, triple-display video card would be particularly useful in corporate environments.

ATI Radeon HD 5570 1GB:

Positioned just above the HD 5450 on ATI's depth chart, the $80 HD 5570 does deliver a sizable gain in 3D performance, putting it about on par with the HD 4670. Both are similarly priced with the 4670 costing about $10 less. In terms of power consumption, the 4670 does better at idle, while the 5570's advantage is on load. There's also the faster HD 5670 to consider; it can be had for as low as $95. A price reduction would help make a decision between the two easier.

Like the 5450, our 5570 sample does bitstreaming but lacks support for Eyefinity. The versions that will include it will undoubtedly drive the cost up somewhat, putting it in the same price bracket as the 5670. AiB partners will also likely come up with quieter cooling solutions as well for this 30W GPU. The reference cooler on our sample was adequate, but a little undersized and unnecessarily noisy given the card's high energy efficiency.

Our thanks to ATI/AMD for the video card samples.

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Redefining Budget Gaming Graphics: ATI's HD 4670

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