Axle Radeon HD 5450 ReviewRHKCommander959 - July 2, 2010
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The Axle Radeon HD 5450 is a low profile graphics card with a normal expansion slot bracket attached (it can be removed easily but Axle didn't include a low profile bracket so modifying it or ordering one can make it low profile). The PCB is red and since the memory bus is 64-bit the manufacturing cost is reduced. The amount of memory that is installed is 512MB of DDR3, more than enough for a graphics card with only 80 Stream processors. The card is full PCI Express x16 in length, but it should likely run just fine in an x8 and x4. The card is PCI-E v2.1, which should be backwards compatible to v1.0 but I have had problems using some of the 5000 series cards in PCI-E v1.0a slots and cannot confirm if it will work on other v1.0a motherboards, but they worked just fine in PCI-E v1.0 motherboards that I had around. Physical Crossfire bridges aren't needed because the PCI Express channels can handle the bandwidth between low end cards, so to put it directly, CrossFireX only requires at least two cards and setting it up in Catalyst.
The card is passively cooled with a decently sized aluminum heatsink. The Axle company logo is at the last fin. The PCB is red and cut to low profile sizing, two DDR3 BGA chips on each side are mounted. No backplate is installed since the contact area is so small and minimal pressure is needed so PCB warp should be minimal to nonexistent. Springs are used with the specialized nuts, but when the nut is tight it is bottomed out so the spring serves little use really.
The Axle 5450 has VGA, HDMI, and DVI output, which should meet most user needs out of the box. Most people who buy this card won't use dual monitors and the VGA port is good up to 2048x1536 anyway, while the DVI can handle 2560x1600. The heatsink height causes this card to take up two slots. The card does not require auxiliary power in the form of Molex or 6-pin PCI Express connections, using less than 20W means the PCI Express slot can supply ample power to fit the needs of this card.
The thermal paste that came installed on the card was surprisingly not hard, almost all other companies have sent graphics cards with hard paste. Too much was used so it slopped over to the circuits, this paste looks to be ceramic based so it likely isn't capacitive but I don't have my meter handy to check, so this is unconfirmed. After cleaning all of the paste off, the core is clearly visible. The memory was made by the now defunct Qimonda on 1DSH1G-04A1F1C-16G F6514288 DDR3 chips. Each one has 128MB capacity.
Time to set up the drivers!