Despite killing off the ATI brand, AMD is certainly not killing off some of the company’s best practices, among which is saturating the video card market with an offering at just about every conceivable price point. Today proved to showcase that effort more than most, as the chipmaker rolled out THREE new sub-$100 cards.
Starting at just $55, the Radeon HD 6450 is the least powerful AMD graphics card you can buy. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, however, because even at $55, the card brings in two video ports (one HDMI and one DVI-I, in its reference design). That alone can substantially improve a user’s experience, since it brings with it the possibility of using a second monitor. If you’re looking to game, it’s certainly not your best choice, as it isn’t going to work sufficiently well to justify the cost. HTPC owners might give it a look, especially since it’s available in a low-profile form factor.
Next on the list is the $79 Radeon HD 6570. It offers a bit more oomph than its generally anemic sibling, but at the cost of losing the silently passive air cooling. It’s trapped in between the low-low-end, useful for ports and HTPCs, and the top of the entry-level. That honor belongs to the new Radeon HD 6670, which comes in at $99. It’s not a bad performer for the price, bringing more-than-playable framerates in some of today’s most popular games. There are GDDR3 and GDDR5-equipped versions of both models, however, so take care when you look around.
While NVIDIA certainly has some affordably priced cards of its own, these models aren’t really competing with them – instead, they’re competing with themselves. Well, their older selves, at least: price cuts on last year’s higher-end models are bringing them down into the same price range (or lower!) occupied by these cards, and since the Radeon HD 5000 series also offers a number of attractive features, like DirectX 11, it can be a difficult choice to make.