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Test Setup And Benchmarks

Radeon HD 5550 And 5570: Pumped Up With GDDR5
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We have a lot of cards we’d like to compare to the new Radeon HD 5550. For starters, the Radeon HD 4650 is a card that has long represented a great choice for gamers with an entry-level budget. Also, we’re interested in seeing how the Radeon HD 5550 compares to the GeForce GT 220 DDR3, which is another inexpensive gaming card.

The Radeon HD 5570 DDR3 is another vital addition to our comparison. It gives us a touchstone for not only the new Radeon HD 5550 GDDR5, but also the Radeon HD 5570 GDDR5. Previous experience shows us that the Radeon HD 5570 DDR3 performs very similarly to the Radeon HD 4670, which is yet another relevant card in this price range.

Finally, the Radeon HD 5570 GDDR5 needs some relevant competition, and with the GeForce 9600 GT disappearing from the market, the best competition is represented by Nvidia's GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 and AMD's Radeon HD 5670. The inclusion of the Radeon HD 5670 shows us just how close these cards are related in the performance arena.

When considering benchmark numbers, keep in mind that the HIS Radeon HD 5550 DDR3 comes with memory that is 150 MHz slower than the reference speed, so we’re increasing the memory clock to 800 MHz to better represent a majority of Radeon HD 5550 DDR3 models you'd find on the market. Also keep in mind that the PowerColor PCS+ HD5550 GDDR5 is factory-overclocked to 650 MHz on the core, which is a 100 MHz increase over stock speeds. We left this overclock untouched because the reference Radeon HD 5550 GDDR5 is represented by the HIS model, and we’d like to see what PowerColor’s factory overclock can accomplish.


Graphic Test System
CPU

Intel Core i7-920 (Nehalem), 2.67 GHz, QPI-4200, 8 MB L3 Cache
Overclocked to 3.06 GHz @ 153 MHz BCLK

Motherboard

ASRock X58 SuperComputer
Intel X58, BIOS P1.90

Networking
Onboard Realtek Gigabit LAN controller
Memory

Kingston PC3-10700
3 x 1024 MB, DDR3-1225, CL 9-9-9-22-1T

Graphics
HIS Radeon HD 5550 DDR3 1 GB*
HIS Radeon HD 5550 GDDR5 512 MB
PowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD 5550 GDDR5 512 MB
HIS Radeon HD 5570 GDDR5 512 MB
Reference Radeon HD 5670 GDDR5 512 MB
Reference Radeon HD 5570 DDR3 1 GB
Reference GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 512 MB
Gigabyte GeForce GT 220 DDR3 1 GB*
Sapphire Radeon HD 4650 DDR2 512 MB

*clock rates have been set to reference specifications for the purpose of benchmarking

Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA,
500 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3.0Gb/s

Power

Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 W
1200 W, ATX 12V 2.2, EPS 12v 2.91

Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics Drivers

Catalyst 10.6, Asus ARES Custom Driver,
Nvidia GeForce Drivers 257.21 (normal use) and 258.69 (triple monitor)

Benchmark Configuration

3D Games

Crysis

Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 32-bit executable, Benchmark Tool, High Settings, No AA, No AF

Far Cry 2

DirectX 10, in-game benchmark, Ultra-High Settings, 8x AA, No AF

Aliens vs Predator

DirectX 11 Default Benchmark, no AA, No AF

World In Conflict: Soviet AssaultDirectX 10, Timedemo, Very High Details, 4x AA/4x AF
DiRT 2

DirectX 11, Timedemo, Ultra Details, 8x AA/4x AF

Synthetic
3DMark Vantage
Version: 1.01, Total System score
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