Mistakes happen; I'll be the first to admit that and when it comes to the HIS HD 5450, sample mistakes happened. When they originally asked if I wanted to look at the model I said since we'd already looked at two, if it didn't offer us anything over the ones we had looked at already then we wouldn't be interested.
The thing I like about HIS along with a few other companies I deal with; I can be blunt with them and they won't take offence. These low end models are only so interesting and once we've looked at one or two we're not really all that interested in having a look at any more.
Anyway, they gave me that normal marketing spiel; it's low profile, well, yes, so are the other two we looked at. It's got passive cooling, that's great, but so do the other two. Anyway, they let us know they were going to ship over this version of the card. Out of the box this card has the low profile bracket installed; it does include the high profile bracket which is also good news. The other main difference is the fact that this one comes with 1GB of memory instead of 512MB. Well, I've made my feelings quite clear, even recently on my own blog here on how I feel about 1GB memory on low end cards, but you know what; whatever!
So, I said what the hell, send it over, I'll check it out. What was great is that HIS said, "We will send it to you to take a look as the one we've got is with Eyefinity ready. If you don't think it will be a good model that's fit for your readership, then you can just put it in your library as reference :)." I give big Kudos to HIS for this and mostly for that reason I actually took the time to review the model. Not everything went to plan, though. Let's see what happens when we look at the card and bundle.
I actually got an e-mail from HIS while the card was in transit that due to the rush rush nature of getting the model out before Chinese New Year, the sample might have the high profile bracket already installed. Since I hate changing brackets, it was nice to see when I opened the box that the high profile bracket was separate. Apart from this there's nothing else to get excited about with it being a standard low end bundle.
Once I got to the card and noticed that there was a high profile bracket already on the model, I quickly came to the conclusion that the model was packed together very fast to get over to us. So on that note it's worth knowing that in the bundle you would normally get the high profile bracket and a low profile VGA one with a low profile bracket for the DVI and DisplayPort already being installed.
The cooler on this particular HD 5450 is slightly different to the other ones we've seen. Unlike the reference ATI one, this is a single slot one and compared to the Sapphire one we have some extra fins hanging off the back along with a vertical design as opposed to a parallel one.
As we mentioned above, the card carries with it a Dual-Link DVI connector along with a DisplayPort. We've also got a VGA port which gives us the ability to run Eyefinity.
When it came to testing the card, I thought sure, I could just test it as is and compare a 1GB version to a 512MB one, but honestly, who are we kidding? There's going to be no difference between the two models.
Instead I chose to fire up the Catlayst Control Center, move to Overdrive and see what kind of overclocking could be done on the card. Look, I understand that you really aren't going to game with this card, but at least when it comes to the performance it will be a bit more interesting to look at.
Since I live life on the edge, I cranked the clocks up to the max. Out of the box we see the stock 650MHz / 1600MHz DDR setup on the model. In Overdrive we can overclock to 700MHz / 1800MHz DDR. The good news is the card had no issues after we hit the test button, so it was time to move forward.
Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage
Test System Setup
Processor(s): Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB Kingston Hyper X PC3-16000 2000MHz DDR CL9 (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 640GB SATA 2.0 HDD (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows 7
Drivers: ATI Catalyst Cedar Beta
If you didn't read the specification section on the last page, I would highly recommend that you just quickly jump back and read it for an explanation on why we've overclocked the card today. With everything being covered in that section, there's really not much else that needs to be said.
Like the other HD 5450 review, we won't be talking about the graph results today since across the board the results are consistent. Instead we'll wrap our thoughts up on the final page.
Let's get started!
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here
3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.
3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.
Unigine Heaven Benchmark (DX10 & DX11)
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
Version and / or Patch Used: 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/products/unigine
New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.
Note: If a card doesn't support DirectX 11 the benchmark will be left out. If it does it will be included along with the DirectX 10 results.
Direct X 10
Direct X 11
Benchmarks - 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).
Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5
Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com
Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.
Benchmarks - Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.03
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com
Buy It Here
The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.
Benchmarks - World in Conflict
World in Conflict
Version and / or Patch Used: 126.96.36.199
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).
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 that is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards. We use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.
Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum
Batman Arkham Asylum
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.rocksteadyltd.com
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com
Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.
Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.
Note: With support for PhysX NVIDIA based cards will be tested with the technology on and off, while ATI cards will be tested with the technology off due to it not being supported on their cards.
Benchmarks - BattleForge
Version and / or Patch Used: Auto Patched at Load
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ea.com
Product Homepage: http://www.battleforge.com
The Gods have disappeared and the old sun has died, letting a vile twilight engulf the world of Nyn. In exchange for all treasures the mortals possessed, the evil giants agreed to forge a new sun and hurl it into the sky.
But the deal was betrayed, the treasure stolen and now the mortals flee the wrath of the giants. Under the light of a new sun the mortals stumble into a world changed and twisted by an age of twilight. The long journey home has become a conquest of survival.
Note: Supporting DirectX 11, we have separated the graphs for NVIDIA and ATI cards. While the numbers between the two brands can be compared, you have to make note that ATI based HD 5000 series cards are running DirectX 11.
DirectX 11 (ATI HD 5000 Series Only)
Temperature and Sound 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.
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.
The HD 5450 isn't a gaming card, we already established that in a review at launch. And honestly, it wouldn't matter if we could get 1000MHz on the core and 2000MHz DDR on the memory, the bottom line is that with only 8 ROPs, 80 Unified Shaders and a 64-bit memory bus, the data just isn't going to move as quickly as it needs to for the model to really represent any form of gaming.
Like we've already said a number of times, the model has its place, especially in an office situation or a scenario where someone wants to make use of Eyefinity on the cheap. With the model also sporting all those yummy features that are great for home theater PCs, the silent nature and low profile support make it one of the best HT cards available on the market.
While the process of getting the HIS HD 5450 didn't go as smooth as normal with a mistake being made in regards to the brackets, we know how the card would've been in that situation and we've rated it in the sense that the bundle was correct.
For most of our readers the HD 5450 probably isn't for your gaming machine. In saying that, it might be for your home theater or maybe your office PC. The model has a clear place; it doesn't try to be something it's not and while I don't agree with the 1GB version of the model, I understand that it's going to be popular. We're going to see companies advertise a PC with a 1GB video card which for many sounds exciting. For people in the know, it could be anything from the HD 5450 we're looking at today to the HD 5870.
It's quiet, it's small, it's cheap and it has a market. While it might not be the model for you, there's still many people out there who will have a serious use for this $82.99 card which is about $15 more expensive than most others. Just remember, though, this version supports Eyefinity which is something a lot don't and it also gives us double the amount of RAM and includes the low profile brackets.