ATI Radeon HD 4650 review
Not particularly quick, but a reasonably priced media card.
Review Date: 13 Feb 2009
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £49 (£56 inc VAT)
Value for Money
The ATI Radeon HD 4650 is remarkably similar, at least on paper, to the HD 4670. Both have 320 stream processors and 514 million transistors. You can choose from DDR2, DDR3 or GDDR3 memory - although it's clocked at 500MHz in this card, as opposed to either 900MHz or 1,000MHz on the HD 4670.
The major difference between the two admittedly similar cards, though, is in the core clock speeds - the 750MHz of the HD 4670 has been reduced to a mere 600MHz in the HD 4650.
This has a dramatic effect on frame rates: Crysis is still playable at medium settings, but both Call of Duty 4 and Far Cry 2 failed to hit 30fps above medium settings, suggesting that the HD 4650 will struggle in demanding scenes.
It isn't too great with games, then, but the HD 4650 proved no slouch with high-definition video, handling Blu-ray playback with no skipping or stuttering. The HD 4650 is better in other areas, too. Its svelte dimensions - it's single-height and around half the length of the largest cards - lend it to being used in media centres, and our sample came with an HDMI port alongside the more usual DVI and VGA outputs.
Future models are also being released with passive cooling, which makes them even more suited to super-quiet media centres - although the fan included on our model wasn't intrusively loud.
It isn't really enough to save the HD 4650, though, as for £9 more you can get a genuine gaming card, while £19 less will get you Blu-ray playback.
Author: Mike Jennings
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