Product: AMD Radeon HD 6450
Company: AMD
Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: April 7th, 2011
Summary & Conclusions

AMD Radeon
AMD Radeon
The AMD Radeon HD 6450 offers a genuine improvement over the previous generation, providing more gaming performance and better Home Theater features than the now 15-month old AMD ATI Radeon HD 5450. At this market segment it represents a nice value upgrade over integrated and on-chip competitor graphics solutions, delivering a balanced all-round feature set with respectable performance.

The Radeon HD 6450 is a great value package that combines GPU compute performance with up to 240GFLOPS of single precision floating point compute performance - quite a bump from the 100GFLOPs the HD 5450 boasts. Depending why you are considering a sub-$60 video card - less than the price of a AAA title, these days - this card is either great value or not quite the best fit.

If you need the multi-display capabilities for productivity or media consumption, or specific media features such as Blu-ray 3D, this is a nicely priced card to fill those needs. AMD Eyefinity is largely a productivity option although AMD were keen to indicate that using three 720p panels it is possible to hit 30fps in some games, at low settings. For use with multi-tasking, like running web-based games, educational or children's titles, or watching streaming online media while working, the HD 6450 is a great card for multi-display configurations.

The AMD Radeon HD 6450 supports CrossfireX, but not with E-series fusion APUs, only another HD 6450. AMD reports that the technical ability is there, but the careful balance of CPU and GPU performance in the E-series APU line means that little benefit will be seen from implementing it. We're not so sure, as one of the touted Caicos features is its ability to offer AMD Eyefinity support - a point underscored by the option to run some nice fast framebuffer, in the form of GDDR5 equipped HD 6450s. Building on an E-350 APU and adding the combined GPU horsepower would be quite a benefit to Eyefinity users, we think, especially for AMD APP programs running on those three screens.

If you don't need those capabilities, then the value of the HD 6450 is a little less clear. As an upgrade path from iGPU, such as Intel HD graphics or AMD IGPs in chipsets, the choice comes down to if you need the form factor and low power vs. more performance from an older generation card. At the same price point as the HD 6450 you can now get a HD 5570, which has double again the stream cores as well as half height options. As you'll be running games at very low or low settings for most common resolutions (1280x1024 through 1366x768) the feature support level is less important - DirectX 11 isn't a game changer at low or ultra low in-game settings. With that in mind, your purchase options open up a lot.

 Ultimately, if you're serious about needing Eyefinity then the 512MB of GDDR5 might be restrictive and the 1GB DDR3 edition may be more attractive, although probably not as attractive as a HD 5500 series card. Fundamentally this card is aimed at OEMs, System Builders and resellers, looking to provide attractive priced systems with modern features and a small footprint - both carbon and physical. The main competition for the HD 6450 is AMD's own Fusion E-series, which offer similar GPU performance with some CPU thrown in for good measure, inside the same power budget and allowing much smaller platforms. For upgrading an existing HTPC or standard desktop for an infrequent gamer, it's a great low price option.

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