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ATI Radeon HD 5450 & HD 5570 Graphics Cards

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The ATI Radeon HD 5450 and HD 5570 are the lowest models in ATI’s HD 5000 family. The 5450 may make a perfect HTPC card, while the 5570 is one step up, hoping to deliver reasonable 3D performance at a reasonable price.

February 8, 2010 by Lawrence Lee

ATI Radeon
HD 5450 512MB

PCI-E Graphics Card
ATI Radeon
HD 5570 1GB

PCI-E Graphics Card
Street Price
US$79~$85 (SEP)

The HD 5850, 5870, and
5970 made big splashes when they were released last year, but they are all high-end
cards costing $300+. Some users cannot afford or are unwilling to invest that
much money in a graphics card; many still simply don’t need that much horsepower.
For casual gamers, a card like the 5570 offers reasonable performance at a reasonable
price. The 5450 appeals to those who do little or no PC gaming, but enjoy watching
a lot of high definition video.

Radeon HD 5450 (top) and HD 5570 (bottom).

One feature that has been marketed heavily by ATI is the Eyefinity multi-display
technology. While Eyefinity is supported on all HD 5000 series cards, both of
our reference samples lack the native DisplayPort connector required for Eyefinity.
That’s not to say the 5450 and 5570 do not support Eyefinity; ATI’s board partners
have the option to include a DisplayPort if they wish, so you will see retail
versions both with and without.

HD 5450 technical specifications according to GPU-Z.

The 5450 takes the lowest position in ATI’s 40nm family; as the runt of the
litter, it should be very power efficient and provide a sizable improvement
in 3D performance over integrated graphics. Still, it likely lacks any serious
gaming prowess and may be suitable only for those who enjoy older titles or
play at low resolutions. It does however make an ideal high definition playback
card as it has the ability to bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
This feature is available on the entire HD 5000 line, but now you don’t have
to spend $100+ for it.

HD 5570 technical specifications according to GPU-Z.

The 5570 is one step up from the 5450, presumably the minimum any serious gamer
should consider. Though it costs only $30 more, the 5570 packs a lot more under
the hood including over twice the number of transistors, 5 times as many stream
processors, higher texture/pixel fillrates, and more memory bandwidth. All this
comes with a considerably higher power rating as well, which is why our reference
sample has an active cooler. Its closest competitor from the previous generation
is the HD 4670.

Card Radeon HD 5450 Radeon HD 5570
Process 40nm 40nm
Transistors 292M 627M
Engine Clock 650 MHz 650 MHz
Stream Processors 80 400
Compute Performance 104 GFLOPS 520 GFLOPS
Texture Units 8 20
Texture Fillrate 5.2 GTexels/s 13 GTexels/s
ROPs 4 8
Pixel Fillrate 2.6 Gpixel/s 5.2 Gpixel/s
Z/Stencil 10.43 GSamples/s 20.8 GSamples/s
Memory Type DDR3 / DDR2 DDR3
Memory Clock Up to 800 MHz 900 MHz
Memory Data Rate Up to 1.8 Gbps 1.8 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth Up to 12.8 GB/s 28.8 GB/s
Typical Board Power 19.1W 42.7W
Idle Board Power 6.4W 9.69W

It should be noted that our 5450 sample actually does not conform to the specifications
listed by ATI as its memory is clocked at 900MHz. Expect slightly lower power
consumption and 3D performance on models that adhere to the reference specifications.


Note that retail versions of the HD 5450 may not utilize the same cooler as
our reference sample. In fact, none of the initial HD 5450’s found in the wild
so far have the big red heatsink pictured below. Manufacturers also have the
option to alter the connectors and tweak core and memory speeds; be aware of
this when shopping for a 5450.

Our 5450 sample has a surprisingly large, stylized crimson red heatsink.


The PCB is only 16.8cm long. Though the reference sample has a passive
cooler, there is a fan header located on the right hand side.


The heatsink has thick, broad fins with plenty of curves — an aesthetic
choice, not a functional one. At least it looks impressive.


A padded backplate with four screws secures the heatsink to the card.
The mounting holes form a 43mm square; this is the same layout found on
the old HD 2600/2400 and GeForce 8600/8500 series.


A thin thermal pad transfers heat form the GPU core to the heatsink. The
card has Samsung 1.1ns memory chips, good for 909MHz.


Note that retail versions of the HD 5570 may not utilize the same cooler as
our reference sample. Manufacturers also have the option to alter the connectors
and tweak core and memory speeds; be aware of this when shopping for a 5570.

Our 5570 sample has a small, low profile heatsink and a 46mm diameter


The HD 5570 PCB is the same length as 5450: only 16.8cm. The cooling fan
has 7 blades and have very little curvature.


The heatsink is comprised of copper with fins running down the card’s
length. A black plastic cover directs exhaust air toward the rear of the


The 5570 has the same mount holes and backplate as the 5450. It also has
1.1ns GDDR3 memory chips.


Underneath the heatsink we find that the chip package is rotated and the
thermal interface material is softer like third party goop.


Our test procedure is an in-system test, designed to:

1. Determine whether the cooler is adequate for use in a low-noise system.
By adequately cooled, we mean cooled well enough that no misbehavior
related to thermal overload is exhibited. Thermal misbehavior in a graphics
card can show up in a variety of ways, including:

  • Sudden system shutdown, reboot without warning, or loss of display signal
  • Jaggies and other visual artifacts on the screen.
  • Motion slowing and/or screen freezing.

Any of these misbehaviors are annoying at best and dangerous at worst —
dangerous to the health and lifespan of the graphics card, and sometimes to
the system OS.

2. Estimate the card’s power consumption. This is a good indicator of how efficient
the card is and will have an effect on how hot the stock cooler becomes due
to power lost in the form of heat. The lower the better.

Test Platform

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Testing Procedures

Our first test involves recording the system power consumption using a Seasonic
Power Angel as well as CPU and GPU temperatures using SpeedFan and GPU-Z during
different states: Idle, under load with CPUBurn running to stress the processor,
and ATI and FurMark running to stress both the CPU and GPU simultaneously. This
last state is an extremely stressful, worst case scenario test which generates
more heat and higher power consumption than can be produced by a modern video
game. If it can survive this torture in our low airflow system, it should work
fine in any PC.

The software is left running until the GPU temperature remains stable for at
least 10 minutes. If artifacts are detected by ATI’s artifact scanner or by
eye or any other instability is noted, the heatsink is deemed inadequate to
cool the video card in our test system.

If the heatsink has a fan, the load state tests are repeated at various fan
speeds (if applicable) while the system case fan is left at its lowest setting
of 7V. If the card utilizes a passive cooler, the system fan is varied instead
to study the effect of system airflow on the heatsink’s performance. System
noise measurements are made at each fan speed.

Our second test procedure is to run the system through a video test suite featuring
a variety of high definition clips. During playback, a CPU usage graph is created
by the Windows Task Manger for analysis to determine the average CPU usage.
High CPU usage is indicative of poor video decoding ability. If the video (and/or
audio) skips or freezes, we conclude the GPU (in conjunction with the processor)
is inadequate to decompress the clip properly. Power consumption during playback
of high definition video is also recorded.

H.264/VC-1 Test Clips

H.264 and VC-1 are codecs commonly used in high definition movie videos on
the web (like Quicktime movie trailers and the like) and also in Blu-ray discs.
To play these clips, we use Cyberlink PowerDVD.

1080p | 24fps | ~10mbps
1080p H.264:
Rush Hour 3 Trailer 2c
is a 1080p clip encoded in H.264
inside an Apple Quicktime container.


1080p | 24fps | ~8mbps
Coral Reef Adventure Trailer
is encoded in VC-1 using the
WMV3 codec commonly recognized by the “WMV-HD” moniker.

x264/MKV Video Test Clip

MKV (Matroska) is a very popular online multimedia container
used for high definition content, usually using x264 (a free, open source
H.264 encoder) for video. The clip was taken from a full length movie; the
most demanding one minute portion was used. We use Media Player Classic
Home Cinema to play it as its default settings allow it to use DXVA (DirectX
Video Acceleration) automatically when used with a compatible Intel/ATI
graphics chip. For Nvidia graphics we use CoreAVC to enable CUDA (Compute
Unified Device Architecture) support in MPC-HC.

1080p | 24fps | ~14mbps

x264 1080p: Spaceship is a 1080p x264 clip encoded from
the Blu-ray version of an animated short film. It features a hapless
robot trying to repair a lamp on a spaceship.


Estimating DC Power

The following power efficiency figures were obtained for
the Seasonic S12-600
used in our test system:

Seasonic S12-500 / 600 TEST RESULTS
DC Output (W)
AC Input (W)

This data is enough to give us a very good estimate of DC demand in
our test system. We extrapolate the DC power output from the measured
AC power input based on this data. We won’t go through the math; it’s
easy enough to figure out for yourself if you really want to.


BASELINE, with Integrated Graphics: First, here are the results of
our baseline results of the system with just its integrated graphics, without
a discrete video card. We’ll also need the power consumption reading during
CPUBurn to estimate the power draw of discrete card later.

VGA Test Bed: Baseline Results
(no discrete graphics card installed)
System Power
DC (Est.)
Ambient temperature: 22°C

ATI Radeon HD 5450:

VGA Test Bed: ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB
Sys. Fan Speed
GPU Temp
System Power
12 dBA
CPUBurn + ATITool
CPUBurn + FurMark
15 dBA
18 dBA
Ambient temperature: 22°C
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA

The reference heatsink cooled the graphics card very well, keeping the GPU
core well below 50°C when idle and just under 70°C on load. Increasing
the speed of the system fan in our airflow-starved VGA test system had only
a small effect on the thermal results. It’s fair to say that the large passive
heatsink can keep the GPU comfortably cool in most thermally-demanding environments.

Interestingly, stressing the CPU and GPU combined only increased the power
draw by 1W compared to the CPU alone. This is surprising as even ATI’s integrated
graphics typically generate higher power consumption in the order of 10W.

ATI Radeon HD 5570:

VGA Test Bed: ATI Radeon HD 5570 512MB
VGA Fan Speed
GPU Temp
System Power
17 dBA
CPUBurn + ATITool
19~20 dBA
CPUBurn + FurMark
20 dBA
Ambient temperature: 22°C
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA
System noise level: 12 dBA

The 5570 stock cooler got the job done as well, with idle and load temperatures
of only 36°C and 73°C respectively. The fan ramped up fairly smoothly,
but spun a little too fast for our liking. The power draw increased by only
21W when the GPU was stressed with FurMark, so the card does not require much
power; it shouldn’t take much to cool it adequately.

Noise & Cooling Comparison

5570 idling.

5570 at full load.

At one meter distance, our test system measured 17 dBA when idle and 20 dBA
at load with the HD 5570 running inside. At idle, The fan emitted a soft hissing
type noise, and a slight whine was noticeable when we took the side panel off
our case. It was fairly smooth when fully enclosed though. On load, the whine
became audible, and there was a lot more turbulent noise.

Noise & Cooling Comparison
SPL @1m
GPU Temp
SPL @1m
GPU Temp
ATI Radeon HD 4670
13 dBA
16 dBA
ATI Radeon HD 5570
17 dBA
20 dBA
ATI Radeon HD 4770
15 dBA
17 dBA
ATI Radeon HD 4830
14 dBA
20~21 dBA
Ambient temperature: 22°C
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA
System noise level: 12 dBA

Compared to the midrange cards from ATI’s previous generation, the HD 5570’s
fan control settings seem overly aggressive, particularly when idle. A reduction
in fan speed when the GPU core is only 36°C would hardly be detrimental.
A slow down on load would be welcome as well; we’d be comfortable letting the
GPU temperature slip into the 80°C range.


The power consumption of an add-on video card can be estimated by comparing
the total system power draw with and without the card installed. Our results
were derived thus:

1. Power consumption of the graphics card at idle – When CPUBurn is
run on a system, the video card is not stressed at all, and stays in idle mode.
This is true whether the video card is integrated or an add-on PCIe 16X device.
Hence, when the power consumption of the base system under CPUBurn is subtracted
from the power consumption of the same test with the graphics card installed,
we obtain the increase in idle power of the add-on card over the
integrated graphics chip (Intel GMA950). (The actual idle power
of the add-on card cannot be derived, because the integrated graphics does draw
some power — we’d guess no more than a watt or two.)

2. Power consumption of the graphics card under load – The power draw
of the system is measured with the add-on video card, with CPUBurn and FurMark
running simultaneously. Then the power of the baseline system (with integrated
graphics) running just CPUBurn is subtracted. The difference is the load power
of the add-on card. (If you want to nitpick, the 1~2W power of the integrated
graphics at idle should be added to this number.) Any load on the CPU from FurMark
should not skew the results, since the CPU was running at full load in both

Both results are scaled by the efficiency of the power supply (tested
) to obtain a final estimate of the DC power consumption.

Estimated Power Consumption Comparison (DC)
ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB
Asus EN9400GT Silent 512MB
PowerColor HD 4650 512MB
ATI Radeon HD 5570 1GB
ATI HD 4670 512MB
ATI HD 4770 512MB
Asus EN9800GT Matrix 512MB
ATI HD 4830 512MB

The HD 5450 is easily the most energy efficient graphics card we’ve tested,
using half the power of the GeForce
9400 GT
when idle, and less then a third on load. The 5570 uses about
5W more than 4670 when idle, but 11W less on load.

Video Playback

Test Results: Video Playback
Test State
ATI Radeon HD 5450
ATI Radeon HD 5570
CPU Usage
Avg. DC Power*
CPU Usage
Avg. DC Power*
Rush Hour
(1080p H.264)
Coral Reef
(1080p x264)
*compared to idle

Both the 5450 and 5570 passed our video test suite with ease, using approximately
the same amount of extra power doing so. These figures may seem high compared
to the numbers we typically get when testing integrated graphics, but remember
our test system configuration has an energy inefficient Pentium D processor,
so even minor CPU usage can increase the power demand significantly.

3D Performance

While 3DMark is a completely synthetic benchmark, it is a good general indicator
of 3D performance, particularly when the score differences are quite high.

3D Performance: Futuremark Comparison
ATI HD 4200
(Integrated, Sideport)
ATI HD 3300
(Integrated, Sideport)
ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB
GeForce G210M
(Asus UL80Vt)
PowerColor HD 4650 512MB (DDR2)
ATI Radeon HD 5570 1GB
ATI Radeon HD 4670 512MB

The 5450 scored significantly higher in both 3DMark05 and 3DMark06 than any
IGP, similar to the GeForce G210M in the Asus
laptop. For reference, we managed to play Call of Duty 4 on the
UL80Vt at 1366×768 resolution fairly smoothly with most of the extra details
turned on and 2x anti-aliasing. It should also be noted that our HD 5450 sample
had memory clocked 100MHz higher than the reference speed. According to ATI,
this results in 5~6% higher scores in 3DMark Vantage. AiB partners do have the
option of using faster memory if they so desire. The 5570’s scores were just
below that of the 4670.


Some of the card’s inner workings can be revealed by taking a look at the BIOS.
We used GPU-Z to extract the board’s BIOS and Radeon
BIOS Editor
to examine its contents.

ATI Radeon HD 5450:

Clock settings. Boot/3D/UVD setting in red, idle in green.

The 5450 uses clock speeds of 650/900MHz in 3D and when UVD is at work. Its
idle clocks run at 157/200Mhz.

ATI Radeon HD 5570:

Clock settings. Boot/3D setting in red, idle in green, UVD in yellow.

The 5570 maintains clock speeds of 650/900MHz in 3D, 400/900MHz when UVD is
activated, and 157/200MHz when idle.

Fan settings.

According to the BIOS, the 5570’s fan rises slowly, spinning at 30% of maximum
until it reaches 45°C. It then increases linearly until the core temperature
hits 109°C when the fan speed tops out.


These recordings were made with a high
resolution, lab quality, digital recording system
inside SPCR’s
own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber
, then converted to LAME 128kbps
encoded MP3s. We’ve listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation
from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of
what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn’t hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn’t record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 seconds of room ambiance, followed by 5~10 seconds
of the VGA test system without a video card installed, and then the actual product’s
noise at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume
so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don’t change
the volume setting again.

Comparable system sound files:


ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB:

According to reviews at HardwareCanucks
and AnandTech,
the Radeon HD 5450, as we expected, delivers poor modern gaming performance,
only capable of smooth play in less GPU-intensive games, and even then at lower
resolutions than most gamers are accustomed to. It is still a huge step up from
integrated graphics, especially Intel-based solutions. That being said, if you’re
serious about PC gaming, you’re going to need to spend 50~100% more at the minimum
to get a good experience and value.

The 5450 excels primarily as an energy efficient GPU for high definition video
playback. As a member of the HD 5000 family, it can bitstream Dolby TrueHD and
DTS-HD Master Audio through HDMI, and is easily the most affordable card that
can do so. For audio buffs, this alone makes it a steal for $50. If you have
a mini-ITX home theater PC however, you may not have enough room for a two-slot
card. Luckily, most of the 5450s hitting the market so far are single-slot versions,
many of which are fanless.

Like our reference sample, many of the retail versions sold by ATI’s partners
lack a DisplayPort connector, so they do not support Eyefinity. We are surprised
not to see more Eyefinity supported 5450s, perhaps equipped with low speed DDR2
to keep the cost down. A power efficient, triple-display video card would be
particularly useful in corporate environments.

ATI Radeon HD 5570 1GB:

Positioned just above the HD 5450 on ATI’s depth chart, the $80 HD 5570 does
deliver a sizable gain in 3D performance, putting it about on par with the
HD 4670
. Both are similarly priced with the 4670 costing about $10
less. In terms of power consumption, the 4670 does better at idle, while the
5570’s advantage is on load. There’s also the faster HD 5670 to consider; it
can be had for as low as $95. A price reduction would help make a decision between
the two easier.

Like the 5450, our 5570 sample does bitstreaming but lacks support for Eyefinity.
The versions that will include it will undoubtedly drive the cost up somewhat,
putting it in the same price bracket as the 5670. AiB partners will also likely
come up with quieter cooling solutions as well for this 30W GPU. The reference
cooler on our sample was adequate, but a little undersized and unnecessarily
noisy given the card’s high energy efficiency.

Our thanks to ATI/AMD
for the video card samples.

* * *

Articles of Related Interest

PowerColor Radeon HD 5850: Worth the Wait

Radeon HD 4770: ATI’s First 40nm GPU

Radeon HD 4890 Turbo Edition

GeForce GTS 250 1GB Graphics Card

EN9400GT Silent Edition

Budget Gaming Graphics: ATI’s HD 4670

* * *

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