ATI Radeon HD 5550 (1GB) graphics card

If you love your gaming but are not too serious about it, the ATI Radeon HD 5550 is a viable option

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AMD Radeon HD 5550
  • AMD Radeon HD 5550
  • AMD Radeon HD 5550
  • AMD Radeon HD 5550

Pros

  • Strong 3D performance for asking price, inexpensive, good connectivity options

Cons

  • Slow, not suited to power-sapping games

Bottom Line

If you love your gaming but are not too serious about it, the ATI Radeon HD 5550 is a viable option. It's a low-end graphics card that plays perfectly into the hands of casual PC enthusiasts.

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The ATI Radeon HD 5550 is a low profile graphics card suitable for casual gaming and home theatre PCs. While it struggles to play the latest games at maximum settings, it remains a solid graphics card that is neither too hot nor too power hungry — more importantly, it’s also decidedly cheap.

AMD has had some strong offerings in the past when it comes to graphic cards: from the ATI Radeon HD 5870 to the ATI Radeon HD 5970 (the latter being the fastest graphics card we had tested to date). It is clear from the get-go that the 5550 is aimed at the lower end of the market, but it's still a pretty solid performer. The Radeon 5550 boasts 627 million 40nm transistors for a total processing power of 352 GigaFLOPS. The core clock speed runs at 900MHz and is accompanied by 1GB of GDDR5 memory.

Put simply, this is a modest graphics card which does not use up too much power. In fact, the Radeon HD 5550’s maximum board power is a very reasonable 39 Watts — while consuming only 10W on idle. These are impressive stats; however, this is obviously a graphics card for those who are not hardcore gamers.

The ATI Radeon 5550 isn't deficient when it comes features, especially for a card that should only cost in the region of $120. It has full support for DirectX 11, and it's equipped with two DVI-I connectors, an HDMI port and a DisplayPort. You can connect up to three monitors simultaneously.

We ran our benchmarks on a Vista 64-bit machine running an Intel Core i7 965, 6GB of DDR3 RAM and a Western Digital VelociRaptor (WD3000GLFS) hard drive.

Graphics Benchmarks
Model Chipset Memory 3DMark 06 3DMark Vantage Crysis (fps)
Far Cry 2 (fps)
Lost Planet (fps)
Call of Juarez (fps)
Half Life 2:
Episode Two (fps)
AMD ATI Radeon HD 5550 ATI Radeon HD 5550 1GB 1GB 9809 P5104 16.74 28.49 22 29.3 144.34
Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB 1GB 13887 P8012 26.82 42.99 27.5 47.7 131.97
Manli GTX295 NVIDIA GTX295 1GB 9688 P16245 38.9 74.25 N/A 74.3 129.87
ASUS ENGTX285 NVIDIA GTX285 1GB 9708 P13532 35.3 60.17 50.1 52.4 131.32
Asus ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB 17222 P13206 47.3 71.24 53 83.3 217.61
ASUS EAH4870X2 ATI Radeon HD 4870X2 2GB 10360 P10486 32.64 N/A 27.8 66.8 137.27

As you can see, the Radeon HD 5550 is off the pace when it comes to its predecessors (which is to be expected, given its lower price point). High-end games will need to be played at lower settings; our Crysis Warhead benchmark returned an average frame-rate of 16.74 frames-per-second.

If you’re a casual gamer and cannot afford to spend a lot of money to satisfy your gaming needs, then the ATI Radeon HD 5550 might just be the right way to go.

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