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Old 02-04-2010, 02:53 AM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default ATI's Radeon HD 5450 - The Perfect HTPC Card?

This past fall, AMD launched its latest graphics generation with the high-end HD 5870, and today, it looks to the opposite end of the spectrum with its $50 HD 5450. Though inexpensive, the HD 5450 has a surprising amount of spunk. Coupled with its passive design and full media capabilities, it looks to be the ideal solution for your HTPC.

You can read the full review here and discuss it here.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:43 AM   #2
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Great article, I was wondering how one can compare HTPC capabilities. Do you just try a slew of cards playing blue ray and see if it skips?

It certainly looks like an amazing card for this purpose or a basic gaming rig. The price tag is just perfect for such. This is like the card for people who are still chilling out on NV 7 series or lower and want some updated features.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killem2 View Post
Great article, I was wondering how one can compare HTPC capabilities. Do you just try a slew of cards playing blue ray and see if it skips?
Hope you don't mind if I jump in here...

You do pretty much have to test these boards; especially the low end ones. You can filter this down a lot by looking for cards that specifically say they are rated for "1080p" which is 1920 X 1080 resolution at 60 hz vertical refresh.

But it's not always the video card that bottle necks an HTPC... Sometimes it's the CPU being too slow (1.6ghz or better recommended), sometimes it's the disk drives (SATA drives running in AHCI mode is a must) and sometimes it's the software itself...

On the software front I've gone to quite a few "professional" installations that were stuttering and burbling on MKV and FLAC files and the problem was cleared up by getting rid of Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player and replacing it with one of the better free players out there... My personal choice is Media Player Classic Home Cinema edition... never seen it disappoint yet, but it does take a little setting up.

I've also seen OS issues (stuff in the background usually) cause problems. Norton Security is the worst but just about any background virus scanner or auxiliary firewall can steal CPU cycles at a critical moment... For HTPC use I generally shut down everything except the core OS functions and networking.

Of all Windows OSs, XP seems to do the best job in the HTPC environment and it is strongly favored by "Computer Audiophiles" as giving the best sound reproduction available.

I don't know much about Linux, so no recommendations there...

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:18 PM   #4
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Default I bought one on release.

Not only for HTPCs but for photographers this card is perfect. For me I want silence when I'm editing my photos. I bought this because I am not a gamer and have no need of a high-performance video card. I never play games. Not even solitaire. So very little of the processing I need done is through the card. Most everything is processed by the CPU, of which I have a Q9550 and 6 gigs of ram. I batch edit huge raw files, flip back and forth between photos and multitask with email, trillian, streaming music, notepad++, open office, utorrent, lightroom, irfanview, and two windows of firefox with an embarrassing amount of tabs and 30 extensions running almost all the time. This card does not flinch when I play HD videos with all that running in the background.

Windows experience rates graphics at 5.0 and gaming at 6.2.

Of course with the heatsink it is dead quiet. Gotta love that!

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Old 03-08-2010, 10:45 PM   #5
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Glad you are enjoying the card! It's true... it's a great all-around card for non-gaming purposes, and dead silent at that. It's hard to find a real fault, that's for sure.
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