The budget models had to wait a bit longer. Just last week we took a look at AMD's latest GPU entry and their most affordable Radeon HD 5000 series graphics card yet. The Radeon HD 5450 is available already for $45-60, aiming to replace the HD 4350 which currently retails for as little as $35. As we quickly discovered, you shouldn't expect to play graphically intensive games with a card in this price point. With that out of the equation, the only added benefit the saw this card proposing over a modern IGP is the ability to run a triple monitor setup on the cheap with AMD's Eyefinity, and for HTPC users, HDMI bit streaming support which is built in every HD 5000 series GPU.
Back in January the company also released the budget-minded Radeon HD 5670. This $100 card was able to put away the similarly-priced GeForce GT 240 in most tests, but the speed margins were disappointingly close, not to mention it was seriously outclassed by the older and slightly more expensive GeForce 9800 GT and Radeon HD 4770.
Needless to say, AMD has hardly shocked us with their sub-$100 Radeon HD 5000 offerings thus far. In a perfect world we'd always like to see at least a 20% increase in performance from generation to generation across the board, just like the Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 graphics cards managed to deliver at the upper end of the scale. However, without much competition from Nvidia we feel the mid-to-budget markets are suffering to a certain extent.
Today AMD is introducing another new member to the Radeon HD 5000 family -- the eighth installment in the series. The ATI Radeon HD 5570 will sit between the aforementioned Radeon HD 5450 and 5670 in terms of pricing and performance, which means it should deliver a similar level of performance to that of the Radeon HD 4670 at the same starting price of ~$79.
The Radeon HD 5570 is a more powerful GPU than the HD 5450, while retaining some of the HTPC-friendly properties that made the latter an attractive buy. Cards using this chip should remain low-profile and fairly low in the power consumption department, though a cooling fan will be the default choice to keep the GPU running cool.
On the same note, due to heavy demand from you, our readers, we have added a new set of benchmarks to this review, testing cards at this price level on gaming titles running at 720p resolution (1280x720). While we don't expect this card to revolutionize the budget GPU market, it should be interesting to see how AMD rounds out its assault on this segment. Without further ado, let's take a closer look at their latest budget GPU offering.
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