Sapphire Radeon HD 3450 and HD 3650

We tend to forget about lower end models sometimes, not today though! - We check out the new HD 3450 and HD 3650.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Feb 21 2008 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:04 PM CST
Manufacturer: none

Introduction





We've been so concentrated on the release of new 8800 series cards and more recently the release of the 9600GT that we've somewhat forgotten about the new mid and low-end cards from AMD carrying the 3450 and 3650 naming scheme.

We sometimes forget that not everyone has the money or the need to use these higher end cards. So that's what we're doing today, we're going to look after the people on the other side of the fence, who don't need big 3DMark numbers or 200FPS in Half Life 2 at 2560 x 1600.

So we've got two cards here, both of which are from Sapphire; the low end HD 3450 which is supposed to replace the 2400 series of cards, and the new 3650 which is supposed to replace the 2600 series of cards.

I won't lie to you, I'm not all that excited about these cards; but it's all part of the job so let's move forward and see exactly what we have with us today.

Closer Look at Sapphire HD 3450


Sapphire HD 3450

Like most low-end cards we've seen from Sapphire over recent times, the box is a nice little design that stands upright. The front of the card has a picture of a chick with a gun and gives us the standard run down of information.



We can see the brand across the top of the card while the bottom shows us the model along with some of the main features. The right of the box shows the inclusion of 256MB of DDR2 memory along with the ATI, Vista and Crossfire X logo. Why anyone would crossfire such a low-end card is beyond me, but it's available if you want it.



Turning the box over gives a bit more of a run down on the card along with letting us know what's inside. We also have some more information of the main features and a few of the many awards that Sapphire has won over the years.





Going inside the box the package is pretty light as you would expect; component out cable, S-Video to RCA and a single DVI to VGA connector. We also have a quick install guide, Driver CD and a little sticker to complete the package.



As you would expect there isn't a whole lot to the card. It's low profile by nature and carries with it a passive cooling setup that goes just over the top of the card. We can see that the VGA port is held on by a ribbon cable so if you have a low profile bracket you can have DVI or VGA.



As you would expect, the I/O side of things isn't anything too interesting; we have a single DVI connector which is fortunately Dual Link compatible along with a VGA port and a TV-out port.

The card comes clocked in with the standard 600MHz core and 1000MHz DDR memory clock. There isn't a whole lot to the card as you would expect, so with one down let's check out the HD 3650 and see what we have on our hands.

Closer Look at Sapphire HD 3650 OC


Sapphire HD 3650 OC

Moving to the HD 3650 we have a larger box that gives us the same run down as the smaller one really. The bottom of the card has the model number while we see the brand across the top.



The middle of the card shows us another picture of a woman with a gun and to the right we see some of the main features like 512MB of GDDR3, Overclocked and the fact that PowerDVD 7 is included with in the package.



Turning the box over we have some more details on the features of the card along with a bit of a blurb. There is also a little section that tells us what is included within the box. As was the case with the HD 3450, we see some awards with mention of the model and some of the main features across the bottom again.



Moving inside the package we have a few more extra bits and pieces over the HD 3450. Apart from the DVI to VGA connector, Component out cable and S-Video to RCA connector we also have a Crossfire connector and DVI to HDMI convertor.



Apart from a quick install guide and driver CD we have 3DMark06, Cyberlink DVD Suite and a copy of PowerDVD version 7.



With the package out the way we can check out the card; we see a very similar design to that of the HD 2600 card from Sapphire. There is a little cooler that runs across the card, no power connectors and a crossfire connector across the top of the card.



Finally we move to the I/O side and find ourselves looking at two Dual Link DVI connectors and a TV-Out port.

As we mentioned before, this particular card is overclocked; instead of the stock 725MHz core, Sapphire have pushed it up to 800MHz with the GDDR3 coming clocked in at 1800MHz DDR.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista
Drivers: Catalyst 8.1

Today we'll simply have the two cards together. We won't be comparing them against each other as such, but rather just simply looking at exactly how they perform and how much extra performance a HD 3650 gives you over the HD 3450.

Due to the speed of the HD 3450 we have refrained from testing it at 1920 x 1200. We have however tested the HD 3650 at 1920 x 1200.


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




Straight away we can see just how much further back the 3450 sits when compared to the 3650.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/





PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.






Not exactly big numbers here, but we again see just how much slower the HD 3450 is compared to the HD 3650.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).




Firing up CINEBENCH we can see that the HD 3650 continues to show a big lead over the smaller HD 3450.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)


Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from Steam
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here





By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Episode Two opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Episode Two with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.




We can see that we could play source based games at the lower resolutions on the HD 3650, though we're going to have to muck around with the settings to get it to do anything on the lower HD 3450.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com





World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.






We would have to venture further into the control panel and begin to really drop the levels of WIC. High isn't actually the highest setting either, as there is also Very High.

Benchmarks - Enemy Territory: Quake Wars


Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Version
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.splashdamage.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.enemyterritory.com/





Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is the latest Quake incarnation to make it out of the iD labs and carries with it a fast paced experience that manages to place a good amount of strain on your graphics card.

We use a custom made time demo which shows a bit of everything and manages to give us a good solid benchmark for the graphics cards that we test.




With a little bit of tweaking we could get Quake Wars playable at the lower resolution with the HD 3650, but don't expect to get far with the HD 3450.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/
Buy It Here





From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.

Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE 2 offers. The CryENGINE 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE 2 Sandbox world editing system.




I don't think anyone was holding their breath for some good results in Crysis. The intensive games really hurt both cards.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.




With a bit of tweaking we could get some 1280 x 1024 gaming happening on the HD 3650, but again the HD 3450 is just way too slow.

High Quality AA and AF




Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


3DMark06



Performance just gets even worse when we turn AA and AF on.


Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)



Half Life struggles enough without AA and AF, we didn't expect anything to get better when we turned it on.


World In Conflict





The performance was so low with the HD 3650 that we thought we would just skip the HD 3450 here.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




We see similar scores in 3DMark06 in XP, as we saw under Vista.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).




Again the HD 3650 comes out well ahead of the HD 3450, but it really isn't any surprise.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.





Again WIC performance is really low, you would need to get 1280 performance increased 300% to reach to a playable level.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.




We again see that if we lower the levels for the HD 3650 we should be able to get a playable frame rate at 1280.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR) - XP


Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from Steam
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here





By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Episode Two opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Episode Two with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.



In our source based game the HD 3650 doesn't have any issues at the lower resolution, though the HD 3450 does continue to struggle.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.




As you would expect, the passive card gets warm while the HD 3650 stays a pretty cool 51c.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).




The smaller fan on the HD 3650 is a little loud, but it's not the end of the world; of course the passive cooler is.....well, silent!

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.




Power draw as you would expect for these cards is pretty low; the idle watts between the two is similar with the HD 3650 just using a little more power at load.

Final Thoughts




The HD 3450 doesn't have a whole lot going for it. It would be okay for a home theater PC thanks to hardware decoding, but that's about all. These days with the price of motherboards and their integrated graphics you don't even need a card like this for an office machine.

You really have to wonder what the market is like for these low-end cards these days due to that reason alone. Even in the event that you wanted a video card for a HTPC, we would probably opt for something better that had HDMI unless you really needed the low profile ability.

The HD 3650 on the other hand is your typical mid-range graphics card. It's going to play most games at 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024. Once you go any higher than that though, you're going to start running into problems with your frame rate.

Thanks to the inclusion of the HDMI adapter in the HD 3650, it doesn't make it a bad choice for HTPC users, especially since you could do a bit of low res big screen gaming if you wanted to.

The HD 3650 has a market we can easily see is useful, but we really have to wonder what kind of person buys the HD 3450 as it honestly seems that the market would be taken up with integrated graphics these days.


Sapphire HD 3450

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Sapphire HD 3650

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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