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RADEON HD3450 & HYBRID GRAPHICS

To test the Hybrid Graphics feature, we used a low-profile Radeon HD3450 256MB — something you'd see in a multimedia center. It's an ideal candidate as it is a low-end part so any increase in performance provided by the IGP would be more dramatic.


A low profile Radeon HD3450.


Comparison: HD3200 IGP (256MB) vs. Radeon HD3450 256MB
Load
HD3200 IGP
HD3450
Mean CPU Use
Peak CPU Use
System Power
Mean CPU Use
Peak CPU Use
System Power
Idle
1%
2%
41W
1%
2%
53W
H.264
2%
8%
~54W
6%
11%
~57W
WMV3
24%
39%
~68W
31%
41%
~69W
WVC1
43%
61%
~72W
47%
64%
~77W
Blu Ray
17%
21%
~73W
31%
47%
~76W
CPUBurn
100%
101W
100%
116W
CPUBurn + ATITool
100%
109W
100%
129W
2GB of system RAM was used during testing

We never could have predicted these results... the HD3200 IGP was actually superior to the HD3450 for video playback. Higher CPU usage, higher power consumption, and more heat (the card's heatsink reached 67°C according to our infrared thermometer) — unless you require more than two displays or want to play video games, adding a discrete card seems folly.


Catalyst Control Center

We used a set of beta drivers (Catalyst 8.47) provided by AMD to test the Hybrid Graphics. Once installed, it was fairly simple to get started — we had to enable the SurroundView option in the BIOS and enable CrossFire mode in the Catalyst Control Center. Note, Hybrid Graphics is a Vista-only feature. XP users lament.

Comparison: HD3200 IGP vs. Radeon HD3450 vs. Hybrid Graphics (HD3200+HD3450)
Test State
HD3200 IGP
HD3450
Hybrid Gfx.
Mean CPU
Peak CPU
System Power
Mean CPU
Peak CPU
System Power
Mean CPU
Peak CPU
System Power
Idle
1%
2%
41W
1%
2%
53W
1%
2%
53W
H.264
2%
8%
~54W
6%
11%
~57W
5%
13%
~56W
WMV3
24%
39%
~68W
31%
41%
~69W
33%
46%
~68W
WVC1
43%
61%
~72W
47%
64%
~77W
51%
65%
~77W
Blu Ray
17%
21%
~73W
31%
47%
~76W
48%
63%
~75W
CPUBurn
100%
101W
100%
116W
100%
116W
CPUBurn + ATITool
100%
109W
100%
129W
100%
130W
2GB of system RAM and 256MB of VRAM were used during testing

Using Hybrid Graphics mode, it appears playback actually became even worse. We'll chalk this up to drivers that aren't quite ready.



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