HIS Radeon HD 3450 (H345H256NP)

Mar 26th, 2008 | By

Print this article


HIS Radeon HD 3450 (H345H256NP)


Date
: 03/27/08 – 12:34:52 AM

Author
:

Category
: Video Cards


Page 1 : Index

Manufacturer
: HIS Digital

HIS is one of the better known video card manufacturers when it comes to ATI-based cards. I'm sure you have seen several of their products reviewed here at Overclockers Online. Before continuing further, I must admit I am an NVIDIA fan and that this is the first ATI card I am getting my hands on in about 4 years – my last ATI card was a Radeon 9000 Pro.

OC Online Image

In the past two years, the term ‘high definition’ has become a household term. Video card manufacturers, such as ATI have embraced it as well, such as in the case of the Radeon HD series. In this review, we will be taking a look at the
Radeon HD 3450
from HIS.

OC Online Image


Page 2 : Package

HIS has opted to go with a relatively small package for the HD 3450. The front is heavily adorned with a graphic that looks like abstract art. The model name is clearly displayed, as well as HIS's logo. Icons flaunting several features are also present. These include a sticker that says ‘HIS Certified 0dB Silence’ in reference to the passive cooler on the card that we will take a look at shortly. Also, we can see that the 256MB DDR2 equipped, PCI-Express 2.0 based HD 3450 supports ATI CrossFireX technology, and HDMI output with 1080p ‘Full HD’ capability. A DVI-to-HDMI adaptor is also pictured.

OC Online Image

A side of the box features multilingual product statements.

OC Online Image

Other sides feature more or less the same information we saw in the front and a list of package contents.

multiple OC Online Image multiple OC Online Image

The backside is home to features, specifications, system requirements, and more.

OC Online Image

We will now take a closer look at these before moving on to opening the package.


Page 3 : Features & Specifications

HIS has a lot of information about the HD 3450 on this page.

Here is their description:

HIS HD 3450 Silence (Full HD 1080p) HDMI 256MB (64bit) DDR2 Dual Link-DVI & TV (HDCP) PCIe
* Powered by Radeon® HD 3400 GPU
* HIS iFan Cooling Technology
* Quiet: Less than 20dB
* 256MB(64bit) DDR2 memory
* Superscalar unified shader architecture
* 40 stream processing units
* 128-bit memory interface
* DirectX® 10.1 / Shader Model 4.1 support
* PCI Express® 2.0 support
* ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
More description of all the features:

HD Gaming in the Next Generation

Play the next generation of HD games featuring life-like graphics realism from Microsoft® DirectX® 10.1 compatibility. With PCI Express® 2.0 support, you're ready for games that demand fast throughput. And thanks to easy ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU upgradeability, you can add to your performance when you need it.

ATI Avivo HD Technology

ATI Radeon HD 3400 Series GPUs feature ATI Avivo HD technology with advanced audio, video processing, display and connectivity capabilities for high definition entertainment solutions. ATI Avivo HD technology includes fully integrated HD audio capabilities and supports playback of multi-channel (5.1) audio streams. When combined with the integrated HDCP copy protection, ATI Avivo HD enables a one-cable HDMI connectivity solution to high definition home theaters.

ATI Unified Video Decoder Technology (UVD)

Connect your PC to your home theater and start watching HD content from your computer using new ATI Radeon HD 3400 series graphics cards. The ATI Radeon HD 3400 Series is designed to decode and playback Blu-ray and HD DVD formats using dedicated hardware within the GPU. This technology, known as UVD or Unified Video Decoding, is part of ATI Avivo HD, the new collection of technologies that are designed to improve the visual and connectivity capabilities of ATI Radeon HD 3400 Series GPUs

HDMI Video and Audio

The ATI Radeon HD 3400 Series GPU further enhances the HD entertainment experience by making it easy to make the connection to a big- screen or home theater system. With built-in 5.1 surround audio (AC3) pass-through capabilities, the new GPUs and graphics cards support a single HDMI connection direct to a compatible TV or receiver. This single cable carries both the HD video and 5.1 surround audio for a clean, high definition connection. Some graphics cards will have an HDMI connector built in, while others will use a special ATI Radeon DVI-I to HDMI adapter. These options mean greater choice and flexibility for consumers when connecting to PC monitors or home theaters for maximum enjoyment of full HD 1080p content.

Microsoft® DirectX® 10.1 support

ATI Radeon HD 3400 series GPUs offer full support for the new DirectX® 10 and DirectX 10.1 API (Application Program Interface) from Microsoft®; ready to meet the demanding needs of new, next generation games. DirectX® 10 is the first totally new DirectX® in the last 4 years and brings important graphics innovations that can be used by game developers for the next generation of games. DirectX® 10 introduces crisp, never-before-seen detail-rich images, visual effects and game dynamics capable of accurately simulating the real world. No matter which ATI Radeon HD 3400 Series GPU you choose, you can be assured that games will look as good as the developer intended!

ATI CrossFireX Technology

New ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU technology takes your gaming experience to the next level with more scalability, performance and compatibility. The technology combines the awe-inspiring capabilities of multiple ATI Radeon graphics cards and an ATI CrossFireX ready motherboard to meet the hard-core demands of your alternate reality. New ATI Radeon HD graphics cards are designed with an internal ATI CrossFireX Bridge Interconnect system to simplify installation. Experience stunning visual realism in today's demanding 3D games with uncompromising image quality, especially on HD displays.

Microsoft® Windows Vista®

ATI Radeon HD 3400 series GPUs provide total support for the Microsoft® Windows Vista® operating system and improve the performance of the Windows Aero graphical interface. You will be amazed by the dazzling 3D visual effects and have peace of mind that the ATI Catalyst software and drivers are designed and thoroughly tested to ensure full compatibility and stability to keep you up and running. All these new technologies and features make the ATI Radeon HD 3400 series of GPUs the ideal solution for ultimate HD gaming and HD video entertainment with the Windows Vista OS.

Chipset features:

* Superscalar unified shader architecture
* 40 stream processing units
* 64-bit memory interface
* DirectX® 10.1 / Shader Model 4.1 support
* PCI Express® 2.0 support
* ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
* Use up to four GPUs with an AMD 790FX based motherboard
* High-speed 128-bit HDR (High Dynamic Range) rendering
* Up to 24x Custom Filter Anti-Aliasing
* 55nm process technology
* ATI Avivo HD video and display technology
* Built-in HDMI and 5.1 surround audio
* Support for the ATI Radeon DVI to HDMI adapter
* Unified Video Decoder (UVD) for Blu-ray and HD DVD
* ATI PowerPlay energy conserving technology
* Dynamic geometry acceleration
* Game physics processing capability
Of note, a DVI-to-HDMI and a DVI-to-VGA adaptor are included along with a driver CD and free games on Steam.

Here is a concise and handy tabulation of the features and specifications:

OC Online Image

As you can infer from the specifications, the HD 3450 is probably not too good when it comes to gaming. If anything, it is a good card to be used in HTPC setups due to its built-in HDMI with audio support as well as the Unified Video Decoder supporting HD playback.


Page 4 : Package Contents

Inside the heavily decorated outer box is a solemn cardboard box.

OC Online Image

Opening it, we see a compartment holding the DVI-to-HDMI adaptor, the DVI-to-VGA adaptor, a driver CD, a quick installation guide, and a note on selecting the proper TV format along with a card with instructions on how to get free games from Steam.

multiple OC Online Image multiple OC Online Image

The card itself is securely cradled within a cardboard section. Opening the cardboard reveals the card wrapped in even more protection in the form of an antistatic bag within bubble wrap.

multiple OC Online Image multiple OC Online Image

The semi-clear antistatic bag offers the last bit of protection to the card before I get my hands on it!

OC Online Image

One of the first things that I noticed with the HIS HD 3450 was how small it is. The blue half-height PCB is offset by a huge passive heatsink bearing the HIS emblem. An ROHS sticker can also be found on the board.

OC Online Image

The large heatsink creates an overhang which has even more fins on the other side for increased heat transfer ability.

multiple OC Online Image multiple OC Online Image

There are two memory chips on the back of 64MB each, as well as a couple of stickers and the mounting screws for the heatsink.

OC Online Image

Qimonda is the manufacturer and the data sheet for the memory with part number HYB18T512161B2F-25 can be found here. Specifications include speed ratings up to 500MHz clock speed. If you recall from the specifications, the memory is specified to run at 800MHz (400MHz DDR) so that hopefully leaves us with a bit of room for overclocking.

OC Online Image

Removing the heatsink, we can see the RV620 core in all its glory. It is flanked by the remaining two memory chips giving the card a total of 256MB of 64-bit DDR2 memory.

OC Online Image

Last but not least, we have the card's outputs: one VGA, one TV-out, and one dual-link DVI. I would have preferred a DVI and a HDMI or perhaps dual DVI but this is quite alright for a more or less budget conscious HTPC card.


Page 5 : Installation & Overclocking

The HD 3450 posed no problems with installation thanks to its small footprint.

OC Online Image

Unlike many other cards, it takes up just one slot and its passive heatsink should not interfere with anything. Speaking of the heatsink, ATI Catalyst Control Center measured the temperature to be less than 50°C at idle and around 65°C at load such as while running a game.

OC Online Image

I could not get ATI Tool to run so I resorted to overclocking it using the Catalyst Control Center. A maximum overclock of 670 MHz for the core and 485 MHz for the memory was reached, a modest increase from the stock speeds of 600 and 400 respectively. Note that since the memory is DDR2, the effective memory speeds equate to twice that.

OC Online Image

Here is a GPU-Z screenshot showing the actual overclocked speeds which are slightly different from what Catalyst Control Center reported.

OC Online Image

In any case, I think we can proceed with testing to see what the 55nm RV620 is made of.


Page 6 : Test Setup

Control
:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz
Motherboard: MSI P965 Neo-F
PSU: Antec SmartPower 2.0 SP-400
Memory: Kingston Value DDR2-800 (PC2-6400) 2GB dual channel kit (2x1GB)
Hard Drive: Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 160GB SATA II 8MB cache
Optical: Samsung DVD±RW
Case: Antec P182

Video Cards:
HIS Radeon HD 3450
, HIS Radeon HD 3650 IceQ Turbo, eVGA e-GeForce 7600GT CO

I will be putting the cards through a rigorous benchmarking session involving both synthetic and gaming benchmarks.

The synthetic benchmarks will consist of Futuremark 3DMark03, 3DMark05, and 3DMark06. 3DMark2001 was left out as it seems a bit counterproductive to test a DirectX 10 video card using a DirectX 8 benchmark. This card should be more than sufficient for any games or applications built on DirectX 8 technology.

The gaming benchmarks will consist of Need for Speed: ProStreet, BioShock, Call of Duty 4, and Crysis. Tests will be run at various resolutions, combinations of anti-aliasing (AA), anisotropic filtering (AF) and some tests will highlight the performance difference between the overclocked and stock speeds.

Each benchmark result is the average of three runs.

Note that the benchmarks are meant to be indicative as to the relative performance of the video cards and are by no means absolute scores to be used for comparison with your system as performance depends on several factors.


Page 7 : Synthetic Benchmarks

The 3DMark series from Futuremark has been the gold standard for benchmarkers worldwide. 3DMark scores are often used among enthusiasts as a standard of comparison.

OC Online Image

As the chart shows, the HD 3450 is clearly the worst performing card out of the three. The HD 3650 outperforms both the 7600 GT and the HD 3450 by a lot as expected.

OC Online Image

A closer look at the 3DMark06 scores reveals certain nuances. For one, the CPU scores match up well meaning the benchmark was not biased towards any cards. For everything else, the trend is similar to the first chart with the HD 3650 taking the lead, then the 7600 GT, and the HD 3450 bringing up the rear.


Page 8 : Need for Speed: ProStreet

Need for Speed: ProStreet is the latest installment in the highly popular Need for Speed franchise. It takes a step back from the excitement of illegal street racing of previous titles to track racing. This minor disappointment is mitigated by the amazing graphics.

OC Online Image

In this benchmark, I used Fraps to record the average frames per second (FPS) during a circuit race of 3 laps; once again, each run was done 3 times and the results averaged to yield a good result. Three different resolutions were used combined with either trilinear filtering (TF) and no anti-aliasing (0xAA) or anisotropic filtering (AF) and either 2xAA or 4xAA. For some reason, I was only able to set the HD 3450 to a maximum of 2xAA while the other cards could go up to 4xAA.

OC Online Image

These results are similar to the synthetic results, with the HD 3450 coming in dead last again. All cards took a significant performance hit when AF and AA were enabled. At the higher resolutions, the game became unplayable with the 7600 GT and especially the HD 3450.


Page 9 : BioShock

BioShock is one of the most critically acclaimed titles of recent times. Set in an underwater utopia gone wrong, the chilling and eerie mood makes for an awesome gaming experience, especially with DirectX 10.

OC Online Image

Once again I used Fraps to record the average FPS while playing the first level from the beginning to the point where the player receives a plasmid and has to open the door that says ‘Welcome to Rapture.’ Performance was evaluated at three different resolutions at stock and overclocked speeds. All other settings were left at highest quality.

OC Online Image

Once again, the HD 3450 comes in last. Even when overclocked, it can't catch up with the stock 7600GT. However, performance scales very well with overclocking. Perhaps throwing on a better cooler to replace the passive heatsink will enable the potential for a higher overclock. At 1280×1024, the game is relatively unplayable with the HD 3450.


Page 10 : Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the latest in the popular Call of Duty series. It distinguishes itself from previous titles in that it is set in modern times as opposed to World War II. Receiving great reviews, the game is also known for its highly optimized proprietary rendering engine.

OC Online Image

Fraps was used again to record the average FPS while playing the epilogue level of the game in which the player must rescue a hostage aboard a plane. Three resolutions were employed and combined with either full AF and 4xAA or no filtering (NF) and no AA. All other settings were set to their highest values.

OC Online Image

Both the HD 3650 and 7600GT perform extremely well, even at 1280×1024. I wish I could say the same for the HD 3450. Above 800×600, the gaming experience is ruined by stuttering and low framerates. Even turning off AF and AA did not make too much of a difference.


Page 11 : Crysis

Known for its breathtaking visuals and for the fact that it has the ability to tax even the most powerful systems, Crysis has become another popular first person shooter this year. DirectX 10 is supported and will enable the highest quality graphics.

OC Online Image

Testing was done by measuring the frames per second while playing part of the first level where the player has to find Aztec. The effect of enabling AA was tested at different resolutions. All settings were at ‘medium’. Note that the 7600GT does not support DirectX 10.

OC Online Image

Needless to say, all the cards struggled somewhat even at the medium settings. The first level is not the most graphically challenging as compared to later levels featuring snowstorms and ice. Performance will be definitely worse when it comes to those levels. In any case, the HD 3450 is just not suited for this game, even at 800×600. A peculiarity I encountered in the 800×600 measurements was that the HD 3450 with AA off performs better than the 7600 GT with 4xAA enabled. In short, if you want to play Crysis with the HD 3450, prepare to turn down the graphics greatly.


Page 12 : Conclusion

The HIS Radeon HD 3450 is a nice card but by no means is it a gaming card. If you plan on playing games, do yourself a favor and upgrade to something like the HIS 3650. We'll have a review of that card in the coming weeks. On the other hand, if you are looking for a silent video card for your HTPC, go for the HD 3450. It has great potential for that genre. The included DVI-to-HDMI adaptor enables outputs of 1080p with audio. Also, the AVIVO feature along with the Unified Video Decoder allow HD-DVD and Blu-ray decoding.

OC Online Image

HIS's implementation of the ATI RV620 core with its 55nm manufacturing process seems relatively efficient. All in all, for an entry-level card, the HIS Radeon HD 3450 is great.

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive

  • Silent due to passive cooler
  • HDMI output at 1080p (perfect for HTPCs)

Disadvantages:

[list>

  • Overclockers Online would like to thank HIS for making this review possible.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.