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Sapphire HD 5450 512MB Review

jlqrb    -   February 3, 2010
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Conclusion:

With ATI's current and Nvidia's upcoming high-end graphics cards taking all of the oxygen out of the room, it is easy to forget that must mainstream users don't want (or need) the amount of power and price that come attached with enthusiast grade products. This group of users is instead looking for an option that is budget friendly and can allow them access to some of the advanced technologies of the day. In this regard, the HD 5450 does an outstanding job. The card is the first to incorporate DX 11 and also the first to use a display port with support for ATI's Eyefinity technology in an affordable, sub-$100 offering. These are no small feats and, even though there are models that will be released without Eyefinity support and there is not a great deal of DX 11 games available, the trickle down of these key 5-series technologies will greatly benefit many in the mainstream.

With the home PC's becoming such an integral part of digital video, photography, and media, many users find themselves doing some kind of editing, watching, or transcoding on an almost daily basis. This is precisely the reason that features such as ATI's stream technology, which when supported by both the graphics card and software can accelerate applications by using the CPU and GPU in concert such an important part of today's computing experience. There was a time not too long ago, where all processing outside of gaming was handled solely by the CPU, which could be a major strain on your system. This was just how it was, and if you didn't have extremely expensive hardware, you might not get the best results while doing larger scale digital editing, watching HD content, or even running a simple interface such Windows Aero. This is no longer the case and graphics cards have now advanced beyond just being a way to view an image on your monitor or play the latest games, into a more integrated part of computing as a whole. With companies such as Adobe including GPU acceleration into their latest photo editing and flash player programs, users can get more done in less time than ever before. This is extremely helpful in many circumstances and even entry-level cards with low prices can handle acceleration quite well. It is features like these that, when combined with others such as ATI PowerPlay ™ Technology, Accelerated Video Transcoding, ATI Avivo™ Technology and Eyefinity, that make the HD 5450 ideal for both HTPC and workstations. When it comes to the HTPC crowd, the HD 5450 has a few extra goodies though and also includes a low profile design and uses only 20 watts of power at full load, allowing the passive cooling heatsink to easily keep the temperatures under control.

With the HD 5450 from Sapphire you should have more than enough power for you daily tasks and will even be able to play mainstream games such as World of Warcraft and The Sims. These games don't require the high-end gear of some of the more demanding games out, but if they do have any slow down, the HD 5450 can overclock quite well, which can improve the gaming performance of the card as well make applications that use ATI stream run faster. Even with performance that is not leaps and bounds over its predecessor, the HD 5450 does manage to bring a host of new technologies to a much wider audience, but whether or not these technologies are worth upgrading from your current hardware is entirely up to your specific needs. You have to focus on the market for this card, High end gaming is not it, obviously, but is the mainstream market looking for an upgrade path over a current integrated solution for use with applications that support GPU acceleration for an overall performance increase in your day to day tasks.

 

 

Pros:

  • Passive cooling
  • Low profile
  • ATI Stream Technology
  • ATI Eyefinity Technology
  • DX 11
  • Price
  • 20 watts at full load
  • Overclocking

 

Cons:

  • Gaming Performance
  • 64-bit memory interface
  • Specs similar to HD 4550


 

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