PC enthusiasts have been building and running Home Theater PCs for years and have always been looking for the best video card to use. When searching for the right parts for a HTPC you will want to make sure they have the features you want and at the right price point. When we suggest a GPU for a HTPC, we have a list of important features that we keep in mind when suggesting cards for a HTPC system build.
This morning, the ATI Radeon HD 5450 video card that was announced could be the dream card for HTPC use as well as an entry
level add-in DirectX 11 graphics card. It meets all the requirements listed above and also includes support for key features that you would expect to find in an entry level graphics card.
For starters, the ATI Radeon HD 5450 video card will be priced between $49-59, which is a very sexy price point that nearly anyone with a computer can afford. The Radeon HD 5450 consumes just 6.5 Watts of power at idle and 19.1 Watts at full load. That means this card is not an energy hog and can easily be passively cooled if the manufacturer would like to do so. The ATI Radeon HD 5450 reference design that we are looking at today is passively cooled, which means that this GPU solution will make no noise in a PC. The card also features a low-profile design which means it will fit in numerous small form factor (SFF) or mini-ITX chassis that are popular for HTPC builds. The list of nice features doesn’t stop there, though, as the Radeon HD 5450 supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio out for what could make it the ultimate media PC graphics card.
The specifications of the Radeon HD 5450 video card are decent for the planned price point. The Radeon HD 5450 has a core clock frequency of 650MHz with a memory clock frequency of 900MHz. This is good enough for a memory bandwidth of up to 12.8 GB/s and a compute performance rating on the Radeon HD 5450 of 104 GFLOPS. That might sound like a large number, but keep in mind the AMD 785G chipset has integrated graphics that have a compute performance rating of 40 GFLOPS. Those with a 790GX chipset in their motherboard have 48 GFLOPS. The Radeon HD 5450 is basically a little more than twice as powerful as AMD’s current generation of integrated graphics. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, as adding a Radeon HD 5450 will offload a ton of work from the GPU when it comes to multimedia content, and since it has low power requirements it could actually help reduce the overall power consumption of the system.
The AMD Radeon HD 5400 series architecture is similar to that seen in the Radeon HD 5670 series, so you
can take a look at the block diagram above to give you an idea of what
this new core looks like. AMD
basically just took the die used in the Radeon HD 5670 series and cut it
in half. To be more specific, the Radeon HD 5450 series
offers up 2 SIMD engines, with up to 80 total Stream Processing
Units. This GPU ends up having 292 million transistors and is built on the 40nm process by no other than TSMC. Now that we have a good understanding of what the specs are, let’s take a look at the card itself.