The HD5450 is the current low end card from ATI and here is XFX’s incarnation of it. Is it a good card and more importantly can it give you half decent performance from it’s lowly price of < £50?
Introduction: XFX HD5450 1GB
Here we have a review of the current entry level Radeon graphics card. A card such as this cannot expect to compete with higher end more expensive cards and play the latest 3D games at high resolutions but not everyone has the budget to afford the high end cards and as such the HD5450 series will still sell well. Many will buy this model for their HTPCs or for budget starter builds with a view to upgrading to a better card at a later date.
It may be that you want to play the latest games and not having a huge budget are willing to run with the lowest detail settings and at a reduced resolution. This may be a suitable card for that situation. So hopefully by the end of the review I’ll also have answered a very common graphics card question. Namely, “Can an entry level card play current games”?
The HD5450 is available with either 512Mb or 1Gb of DDR2 memory. This particular XFX model comes with 1Gb which should be more than enough for an entry model today. The card is available for between £45 and £50 from most on-line retailers, I happened to buy mine over the counter from Novatech in Cardiff.
For those who enjoy their technical specs here are the highlights. The HD5450 series has 80 Stream Processing Units, 8 Texture Units, 16 Z/Stencil ROP units and 4 colour ROP units. It’s fabricated using the 40 nm process and the chip contains 292 million transistors. It runs at a core speed of 650 MHz and can support either DDR2 or DDR3 memory. This particular card the HD-545X-ZNF2 has DDR2 memory running at 1000MHz. I would be surprised if there was much benefit to having the DDR3 version of a low end card like the HD5450.
The card being based on the newer 5000 series does support all the latest feature sets including DirectX11, Shader Model 5 and Open GL 3.2. The maximum supported screen resolution is 2560 x 1600, although you would be limited to 2D at this resolution, fine if you want an extremely large windows desktop.