AMD Radeon RX 550 2GB Review

Power Consumption

Power Saver?

AMD's total board power rating for the Radeon RX 550 is 50W, and we measured worst-case gaming power consumption at 47W. Due to aggressive throttling, MSI's RX 550 Aero ITX 2GB does even better during our stress test (though not by much).

The RX 550 Aero ITX 2GB’s idle results could be improved by a watt or so if MSI slowed down its fan. As it stands, the fan spins at 1600 RPM, which isn’t necessary. Still, a 7W reading at idle is pretty low.

Gaming Power Consumption

The power consumption curve shows large fluctuations. In spite of our low-pass filter, the peaks reach 59W. At least our calculated average remains under AMD's board power specification.

The current curve follows suit. AMD's PowerTune technology intervenes when needed, and those events are easy to spot. Every time there is a spike, clock rates are throttled and the current drops massively.

Stress Test Power Consumption

The load is a lot more constant during our stress test, and we don’t observe any peaks. The RX 550 Aero ITX 2GB’s power consumption stays under 50W due to the throttling of clock rate and voltage. This is where MSI's card hits its limit. Not even manual overclocking can extract anything else out of it.

The current curve turns out as we'd expect it to during the constant load.

Motherboard Slot Utilization

Finally, let’s take a look at how well MSI's RX 550 Aero ITX 2GB conforms to the PCI-SIG’s motherboard slot specifications.

The card’s low power consumption suggests that there shouldn't be a problem, and our measurements confirm this to be true. The maximum peak of 4.6A lands well below the 5.5A ceiling.

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  • dstarr3
    Wow, can't even hit 60fps in Doom. Talk about a sheep in wolf's clothing. This is barely a step above those $30 GPUs that you buy strictly because you don't have onboard graphics.
  • TechyInAZ
    Anonymous said:
    Wow, can't even hit 60fps in Doom. Talk about a sheep in wolf's clothing. This is barely a step above those $30 GPUs that you buy strictly because you don't have onboard graphics.


    This is an 85$ GPU, competing with more the likes of a GT 740. So don't expect good details at such a low price point. $30 GPUs are worse than IGPUs BTW.

    However, you can still find GTX 750s and 750 tis used for the price of a 550 and it performs much better.
  • LucoTF
    I think if it comes down $10-$20 it will be a contender, it does solidly outperform AMD APUs and hopefully will help to keep our more budget orientated gamers away from the A8s and A10s...
  • jaber2
    How is this even "Gaming"?
  • MCMunroe
    I don't understand why these are all full height double width cards. Wouldn't the only purpose be to install in a small form factor case?
  • TallestJon96
    They should be selling the old 460 as the 550, for $80, and then sold this gpu as the 540 for $50-$60.

    Its hard to buy a card that you know can't keep up with the consoles. What happens when a big game comes out and you don't have the horse power to actually play it? The 460 and 560 can keep up, but the 550 might he left behind.

    Save your pennies for another couple weeks and buy something better, its worth the wait
  • Glock24
    Very dissapointing for the price. At $50 might make more sense. Then again, I would only use this for a system without IGP for video acceleration.

    On a side note, images finally load correctly using Firefox on Android.
  • Joe Black
    Face it... Its a 720p card. Just like something like the a10-7890K using integrated graphics is good for 720p gaming too.

    That's the value proposition that should be explored. the A10 w. integrated, or the 550 discreet.
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    They should be selling the old 460 as the 550, for $80, and then sold this gpu as the 540 for $50-$60.

    There is a very simple reason nobody makes new GPUs for under $80: there is next to no profit to be made from them.

    Keep in mind that out of that $80 MSRP, there is a ~60% distributor and retailer markup on the manufacturer's own price, so the manufacturer itself only sees ~$50 of it to cover DRAM, GPU chip, PCB, support components, HSF, assembly, testing, packaging, R&D, marketing, gross profit margin, etc. In other words, manufacturers barely break even on those and don't want you to buy them unless your choice boils down to either that or nothing. They'd much prefer that you buy the RX560 for $20-30 more which translates to $10-20 more gross profit for the manufacturer.

    Who are you going to get an alternative sub-$100 GPU from? Nvidia has bailed out of that market altogether to focus on $150+ (launch-time MSRP) GPUs.
  • ohim
    The card is for E-Sports gaming and instead of starting with CS/DOTA etc you start with Doom and BF1.. games for which the card is not intended :)
  • dstarr3
    Amazon's got a couple 1050s listed at $105 right now. For an extra $20, well worth it.
  • cangelini
    Anonymous said:
    The card is for E-Sports gaming and instead of starting with CS/DOTA etc you start with Doom and BF1.. games for which the card is not intended :)


    So you're saying you're not a fan of alphabetical order? :)
  • elbert
    The 550 looks good as an entry level GPU able to run most games at decent FPS.
  • spdragoo
    Anonymous said:
    Wow, can't even hit 60fps in Doom. Talk about a sheep in wolf's clothing. This is barely a step above those $30 GPUs that you buy strictly because you don't have onboard graphics.


    Not true at all.

    http://www.techspot.com/review/1173-doom-benchmarks/page2.html

    At 1080p, a GTX 750Ti paired with an i7-6700K gets trounced by the RX 550 paired with an i3-6320. Had they paired the RX 550 with an i7, it probably would have gained another 10% in performance (http://www.techspot.com/review/1173-doom-benchmarks/page5.html)...which, with the Vulkan updates, would put it more on par with the GTX 1050 (http://www.techspot.com/review/1269-nvidia-geforce-gtx-1050/page2.html), or at least between the 1050 & the 950 (both of which also blow the 750Ti out of the water).
  • Cryio
    It will be interesting to see the 560 compared to the 550, given the 550 is literally half the 560. Personally, I'm surprised the 550 holds as well as it does.
  • Cryio
    On the other hand, a 260X/360 is basically PS4 visuals and better than X1 visuals most of the time. So I'm not that surprised.
  • spdragoo
    Anonymous said:
    How is this even "Gaming"?


    Because the actual percentage of "gamers" that are playing on triple 4K monitors with dual GTX 1080Tis, running on nitrogen cooling, & using the Insane quality settings, is extremely small?

    Even with more 1440p & 4K monitors coming out, & even with the expansion of 144Hz/1440p monitors, the majority of users (especially on services like Steam) are still playing at 1080p or lower resolutions.

    Basically, what this shows is that it's the perfect card for 720p gaming...but if you're still using a 1080p or sub-1080p 60Hz monitor, these tests show that you can still expect decent results on more demanding games if you're willing to turn down the detail settings. As they pointed out in the review, that makes this perfect for a "casual" (i.e. eSports) gamer, or someone looking for a cheap/low-power/cool-running dedicated GPU for an HTPC
  • Kirfkin
    >Wow, can't even hit 60fps in Doom. Talk about a sheep in wolf's clothing. This is barely a step above those $30 GPUs that you buy strictly because you don't have onboard graphics.

    Might do it at a slightly lower resolution or setting render scale lower. I can get surprisingly close on an old GCN APU.
  • Jarrod_7
    I usually add about 5fps more to all radeons on Tomshardware reviews, and it ends up being more accurate.