The Budget Showdown - ATI vs. NVIDIA

The Cards

The ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB GDDR3

The first thing you'll notice about the new Radeon HD 5450 is that it is a half-height card. In fact, all reference designs of the Radeon HD 5450 and HD 5570 are half-height designs, making them suitable for barebones and small form factor systems. Another factor that makes them suitable for such systems is its insanely low 19.1W TDP, which means you don't need a powerful PSU. Moreover, it also means that a well-designed heatsink will suffice in keeping their cards cool, eliminating any moving parts from a normal cooler which equates to more hassle-free and silent operation.

This reference card comes clocked 650MHz at the core and with GDDR3 memory running at 1800MHz DDR. This is a bit of an anomaly because ATI states that the memory should be clocked at 1600MHz DDR instead. Apparently and according to Anandtech, these odd 650MHz/1800MHz DDR Radeon HD 5450 cards are the result of some internal sampling with one of ATI's OEMs, and somehow these samples made their way out to press, and we just happened to receive one of them. This is not the first time such incidents have occurred. Regardless, at those differences in frame buffer speed for the Radeon HD 5450, we think it wouldn't make much of a difference in actual test results.


As you can see, it's a really basic card with no distinguishing feature other than its rather cool-looking passive cooler

In terms of video outputs, the Radeon HD 5450 gets VGA, DVI and HDMI ports.

The design might look really funky, but it is really all about maximizing surfacing area to aid cooling.


The ATI Radeon HD 5450 1GB GDDR3

We also have a 1GB variant of the ATI Radeon HD 5450. Apart from the larger framebuffer, this card also gets a proper heatsink and fan combo cooler. Clock speeds of this card follows ATI's reference specifications, which means 650MHz at the core and 1600MHz DDR at the memory. It'll be interesting to see how this will perform against the above-mentioned 'odd-ball' Radeon HD 5450.

The 1GB variant of the Radeon HD 5450 comes with a traditional fan and heatsink cooler.

Nothing unusual here, as this card also gets DVI, VGA and HDMI ports.


The ATI Radeon HD 5570 1GB GDDR3

Apart from the larger cooler, you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference between the Radeon HD 5570 and our 1GB variant of the Radeon HD 5450. Like the Radeon HD 5450, it's a half-height, low-profile graphics card, and considering its specifications, we think it might be one of the most powerful and feature-packed half-height graphics card yet. It sports reference clock speeds - 650MHz at the core and 1800MHz DDR at the memory.

Despite being similar to the Radeon HD 5670 in terms of functional elements, the Radeon HD 5570 is a low-profile, half-height card thanks to its comparatively much lower clock speeds.

Expect to find the same DVI, VGA and HDMI port arrangement on the Radeon HD 5570.

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