Sapphire Radeon HD 5450 512MB DDR3 Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     February 3, 2010

Sapphire Radeon HD 5450 512MB DDR3 Review

Product Number: 11166-00-40R
Warranty: 2 years
Price: Approx $60 USD

In the past, Hardware Canucks has mostly concentrated on reviewing higher-end graphics cards that can play literally any current and future game at reasonably high settings. Eyeball-popping performance is always nice to look at but we canít forget large numbers of people just donít have the need for a higher-end graphics card but still want to do a bit of gaming every now and then. This is actually the primary market for GPU manufacturers and while many make use of integrated graphics, companies like ATI and NVIDIA offer a whole range of low-budget discrete graphics cards which should appeal to this market as well.

It used to be that the primary computer in your regular familyís home was used for working on the odd office program, surfing the internet and to a lesser extent playing some basic games. However, as our lifestyles began to gravitate towards a more digitally-oriented perspective we asked more and more of our little grey boxes. Nowadays, even grandparents are watching YouTube videos and editing photos and the need for increasingly powerful hardware has never been more evident. Standard definition YouTube videos have evolved into performance-hogging high definition standards while Flash-based games and Blu-Ray playback also sit atop the list of things that lower-end computers have problems with.

Into this melting pot of expanding expectations and broadening horizons for the PC industry, ATI has now released their new HD 5450 series of cards. The ďraison díÍtreĒ of this GPU isnít to wow us with performance but rather offer a regular user everything they could possible need in an efficient, well-priced package. Whether it be improving Flash performance or decoding a 1080P stream from a DVD, this little card can do it all and at a more than fair price of about $60 for the 512MB DDR3 model. Contrary to some reports you may hear at launch, this price has been confirmed with numerous retailers.

Speaking of price, ATI has decided to compete directly with a pair of newly-released NVIDIA cards: the GT 210 and GT 220. According to our research, both of these 200-series cards have recently undergone a bit of a price cut in anticipation of the HD 5450. You can now find GT 210 DDR2 cards for about $45 while the significantly more powerful GT 220ís price ranges from $60 for the 512MB DDR2 models to about $75 for the 1GB GDDR3 units. As such, the HD 5450 bridges the gap between these two cards but ends up competing with both so it will be interesting to see how well it performs.

This review will be a bit different from the gaming-centric articles we have done in the past for the simple reason that the HD 5450 isnít targeted towards gamers in any way. Rather, we will be seeing how it stacks up in the areas where it is supposed to shine: HD decoding, Flash acceleration and very basic gaming. Also of note is that the Sapphire card we will be reviewing today sports 512MB of DDR3 memory and will retail for around $60USD.


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