Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Powercolor HD5450 1GB DDR3 Video Card Review

For those of you in the market to build or upgrade a HTPC, you are in for a real treat. Up for review is the Powercolor HD5450 1GB DDR3 video card. While it is a competent basic video card, where it shines is the use in a HTPC. The Powercolor HD5450 has good enough gaming perfomance that you will be able to play your current release titles on it. It is not, however, a gaming powerhouse. But for approximately $50 retail, it is a bargain for what you get. And what you get are some of the features listed bellow:

292 million 40nm transistor count
Terascale 2 Unified Processing Architecture

DDR3 memory interface
PCI express 2.1 x16 bus interface
DirectX 11 support
Open GL 3.2 support
Image Quality enhancement technology
ATI Eye finity multi-display technology
ATI Stream accelleration technology
ATI Crossfire X multi GPU technology
ATI AVIVO HD video & display technology
ATI Powerplay power management technology

And not to forget the specs and feeds, they are:

Engine clock speed: 650 MHZ
Processing Power - 104 Gigaflops
Polygon Throughput - 650 m polygons/sec
Data Fetch Rate - 20.8 billion fetches/sec
Texel fill rate - 5.2 Gigatexels/sec
Pixel fill rate - 2.6 Gigapixel/sec
Anti-alaised pixel fill rate - 10.4 Gigasamples/sec
Memory Clock Speed - 800 MHz DDR3
Memory Data Rate - 1.6 GBps DDR3
Memory Bandwidth - 12.8 GB/s DDR3
Typical Power - 19.1 watts
Idle Power - 6.4 watts

As you can tell, it has some competent graphics processor specs. One thing not mentioned is it's 1/2 sized PCB and low 19.2 watts typical power are a great combination for a HTPC card. It feature three dufferent rear connectors, one each for VGAm HDMI, and DVI. And it has some great features for HTPC functionality. For this I want to focus on the ATI AVIVO HD video & display Technology. For this it's features are:

UVD 2 dedicated video playback accelerator
Advanced post-processing and scaling
Dynamic contrast enhancement and color correction
Brighter Whites Processing (blue stretch)
Independent video gamma control
Dynamic Video Range control
Support for H.264, VC-1, MPEG 2, and Adobe Falsh
Dual-stream (HD + SD) playback support
DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support
Intergrated dual-link DVI output with HDCP - 2560x1600 max resolution
Integrated Display Port output - 2560 x 1600 max resolution
Integrated HDMI 1.3 output with Deep Color, xyycc wide gamut support, and high bit-rate audio. max resolution 1920 x 1200
Integrated VGA support - 2048 x 1536 max output
3D stereoscopicdisplay/glasses support
Integrated HD Audio controller
Output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI with no additional cables required
Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby Trult and DTS Master Audio formats.

What this mean is you get a video card that meets all the requirements for an HTPC. It features the video playback controller to playback all of your video files, including your blu-ray discs. Many of the manufacturers are including a DVI to HDMI output. With the built in support for high resolution audio, you can now hookup your HTAC to your surround receiver via HDMI. Thanks to the support of Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio, that pocessing is done on the card. And to suport the features, hear are a few benchmarks:

3DMark06, 3DMark Vantage, and PCMark Vantage.

ATI hit a great one at this bow price point. For the money it performs well, with the ability to overclock for better performance. I overclocked it to 690MHz, and the memory to 890MHz. And for those looking for a card for their HTPC, it's a no brainer. It has all the features to handle all your video and audio processing needs. Its got the small size that is required. It also takes little power to run. And at only $50 dollars, it's cheap. I would recommend it. For more details and specs, check out Powercolors website at http://www.powercolor.com/.
Reference gear used: Asus P7P55D Deluxe mptherboard, Intel Core I3-540, 4GB Corsair DDR3-1600 XMS3 memory.