Sapphire HD 5450 512MB Reviewjlqrb - February 3, 2010
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The Sapphire HD 5450 comes as a low-profile card that uses durable all solid capacitors and has a passively cooled heatsink over the GPU core. This passive cooling should be more than enough to ensure the graphics card stays within safe operating temperatures as the card only requires 20 watts of power at full load. This low power requirement also means there is no need for any extra power cables to the graphics card, with all supplied power easily be supplied straight from the motherboards PCIe x 16 slot. This new card comes with supports for PCIe 2.1, but will work with older PCIe configurations such as PCIe 2.0 and 1.0 as well, so there is no need to worry about compatibility here. At the back end of the card is a two pin fan header that can be used if an active aftermarket heatsink with a fan is added for better cooling.
The HD 5450 comes with a host of connectivity options that should satisfy most users. First, let's look at the Display port which can run resolutions up to 2560 x 1600, but best of all is its supports ATI Eyefinity Technology, which can run up to three displays. Next, there is an included dual link DVI-I port that can run resolutions all the way up 2560 x 1600. Last, but not least, is the standard VGA port, which will support resolutions up to 2048 x 1536. For users with cases that cannot fit full sized expansion brackets, the HD 5450 comes with two low profile brackets. One bracket allows access to the the graphics cards HDMI and DVI-I ports and is secured onto the card itself, the other bracket is solely for the VGA port and can be placed in a empty expansion slot directly below or above the expansion slot the card is occupying. This is a nice feature, as it is often the case in these situations that you would lose the VGA port entirely, making this is a nice workaround.
For cooling, the HD 5450 uses a passively cooled heatsink that covers most of the bottom of the GPU and has a small portion that wraps around the top . Unlike active cooling, passive cooling will not produce any noise due to there being no fan or moving parts or air. The heatsink is black in color and has a finned design and should be more than capable of cooling the low wattage GPU core below it.
The HD 5450 graphics cards uses the Cedar graphics processing core with a clock frequency of 650MHz. The Cedar core is manufactured on a 40nm die with 80 steam processors and has a 64-bit memory interface. The included memory chips on the review model are 512MB DDR3 memory modules clocked at 1600MHz. The modules are found on both the front and back of the PCB and are manufactured by Samsung, which seems to be the case with a few of the new ATI cards. The HD 5450 will be available as both 512MB (like the one I am reviewing) or 1GB models, with most using either DDR2 or DDR3 and one using GDDR5 memory.
Now that we have had a good look at the card itself, we can get it in the system and start the installation process.