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Conclusion

We think that AMD’s Redwood (RV830) and Cedar (RV810) based graphics cards are good and appropriate for their respective price categories. It does not mean they are free from any shortcomings. We can note that even the most advanced model, the Radeon HD 5670 with GDDR5 memory, is not very good for modern games. Our brief test session has shown that some games can be played in the HD-ready or even full-HD mode, but you cannot hope playing Crysis on a large screen as this wouldn’t be an easy task even for the top-end products from AMD and Nvidia. Anyway, we would dare recommend the Radeon HD 5670 as the best choice for a power-efficient HTPC that can be used for occasional gaming as this graphics card is far superior to the Nvidia GeForce GT 240 in terms of functionality. However, its full-size PCB won’t fit into compact low-profile system cases. You’ll have to buy a full-size “flat” system case which can be quite expensive. As for the specific models, the Gigabyte GV-R567OC-1GI leaves a good impression with its high-quality components and effective cooler. The cooler takes two slots, though, making this version of Radeon HD 5670 even more fastidious in its system case requirements than the reference card with reference cooler.

If you want to assemble your HTPC in a low-profile system case, you may prefer the Radeon HD 5570. It is a low-profile card that often comes with a low-profile mounting bracket included into the box. Its slow DDR3 memory and reduced GPU frequency won’t allow you to enjoy modern 3D games, though. According to our tests, the Radeon HD 5570 is only more or less good at 1360x768 or 1280x720 but generally cannot cope with the full-HD mode (1920x1080). By the way, Sapphire should be given credit for setting up the cooler of the Sapphire HD 5570 1GB DDR3 DP in such a way that the card is nearly silent whereas the reference card is not so comfortable acoustically. Sapphire’s card is hotter because of this, but a well-ventilated system case should solve this problem.

Finally, the Radeon HD 5450 presents no interest for gamers. But despite its weak 3D rendering capabilities, this card has a full-featured video processor and supports HDMI 1.3a, which may make it preferable to an integrated graphics core. The only exception is the Blu-ray 3D support. The Cedar has only one HD video decoding engine and cannot work with that upcoming format. The version from Sapphire discussed in our review is smaller than the reference card but gets hotter at work. It needs a well-ventilated system case. The reference card, on its part, is colder but may not fit into some compact enclosures due to its taller heatsink.

Our today’s tests have shown that AMD’s Radeon HD 5600, 5500 and 5400 series cards all cope nicely with HD video decoding, also with decoding two HD video streams simultaneously. Unfortunately, HQV Benchmark 2.0 suggests that none of modern GPUs can deliver ideal image quality which you can expect from special-purpose video chips installed into players and TV-sets. Hopefully, AMD will be able to improve the video playback quality of its solutions by polishing off their drivers.

Gigabyte GV-R567OC-1GI Summary

Highs:

  • Good gaming performance for its class;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Best Edge-detect CFAA in the industry;
  • Best anisotropic filtering in the industry;
  • Supports up to three monitors;
  • DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0 and DirectCompute 11 support;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
  • High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability;
  • HDMI 1.3a support;
  • Integrated sound core;
  • 7.1 sound over HDMI, including Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio;
  • Low noise;
  • Low power consumption.

 Lows:

  • May be too big for compact cases.

Sapphire HD 5750 1GB DDR3 DP Summary

Highs:

  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Best Edge-detect CFAA in the industry;
  • Best anisotropic filtering in the industry;
  • Supports up to three monitors;
  • DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0 and DirectCompute 11 support;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
  • High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability;
  • HDMI 1.3a support;
  • DisplayPort support;
  • Integrated sound core;
  • 7.1 sound over HDMI, including Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio;
  • Compact size;
  • Low noise;
  • Low power consumption.

 Lows:

  • Low performance in contemporary games;
  • No DVI-I → HDMI adapter included.

Sapphire HD 5450 512MB DDR3 DP Summary

Highs:

  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Best Edge-detect CFAA in the industry;
  • Best anisotropic filtering in the industry;
  • Supports up to three monitors;
  • DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0 and DirectCompute 11 support;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
  • High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability;
  • HDMI 1.3a support;
  • DisplayPort support;
  • Integrated sound core;
  • 7.1 sound over HDMI, including Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio;
  • Compact size;
  • Low noise;
  • Low power consumption.

 Lows:

  • Extremely low performance in contemporary games;
  • No Blu-ray 3D support;
  • Inefficient cooling, may get overheated with poor ventilation;
  • No DVI-I → HDMI adapter included.
 
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