The last time we spoke about the Radeon HD 6450 graphics card, AMD had stated that this particular card will be exclusive to OEMs only, which meant that the average DIY-er desiring an entry-level, low-cost 6xxx-series graphics card from the likes of AMD were essentially cut out of the loop. However, word has it that AMD has since reversed its decision, and it seems like the Radeon HD 6450 will indeed be making its entry on retail shelves soon.
For most DIY-ers and hardware enthusiasts, the act of asking them build a PC with an entry-level graphics card is usually met with a great deal of incredulity, and for good reason. After all, it would be more economical for users who do not need the power of a dedicated graphics card to stick with the motherboard's or processor's onboard graphics, especially if the user does not intend to make use of his or a PC as a multimedia entertainment device. And even if they do, the state of integrated graphics solutions offered by Intel, AMD and NVIDIA have improved to a point where it is now possible to enjoy decent-quality content without significant slowdowns.
However, it appears that AMD keen on capturing the segment of users who want something a little more powerful than the generic onboard graphics solution without having to break the piggy bank on a mainstream card that they will never fully utilize. The solution to that issue came in the form of AMD's low-profile Radeon HD 6450 graphics card, which features a new Caicos GPU along with many of the features found in the higher-end 6xxx-series cards, but substantially toned down to reduce power draw and cost. Still, one tiny problem remained with the card: it was only available for OEMs.
That being said, AMD has seemingly changed its mind about the 'OEM-only' aspect of the card, for various reports have claimed that the company has quietly released two variants of the Radeon HD 6450 for retail. Like the original 'OEM-only' version, the HD 6450 will feature 160 stream processing units, eight texture units, 16 Z/Stencil ROP units, four colour ROP units, and will feature either GDDR5 or DDR3 memory. The GDDR5 version will sport 1GB of memory at speeds of 800-900MHz and a slightly faster GPU which is clocked at 750MHz, while the slower DDR3 version will feature 512MB of memory clocked at 533-800MHz and a GPU clocked at 625MHz.
No word about pricing and availability has been made public yet, although various websites have confirmed that both variants of the Radeon HD 6450 will retail at sub-US$60 levels.
Full system specifications for the AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics card can be obtained at AMD's product page here.