Radeon HD 5550 And 5570: Pumped Up With GDDR5

Test Setup And Benchmarks

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.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Graphic Test System
CPUIntel Core i7-920 (Nehalem), 2.67 GHz, QPI-4200, 8 MB L3 CacheOverclocked to 3.06 GHz @ 153 MHz BCLK
MotherboardASRock X58 SuperComputer Intel X58, BIOS P1.90
NetworkingOnboard Realtek Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryKingston PC3-10700 3 x 1024 MB, DDR3-1225, CL 9-9-9-22-1T
GraphicsHIS Radeon HD 5550 DDR3 1 GB*HIS Radeon HD 5550 GDDR5 512 MBPowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD 5550 GDDR5 512 MBHIS Radeon HD 5570 GDDR5 512 MBReference Radeon HD 5670 GDDR5 512 MBReference Radeon HD 5570 DDR3 1 GBReference GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 512 MBGigabyte 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 DriveWestern Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA, 500 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3.0Gb/s
PowerThermaltake Toughpower 1200 W1200 W, ATX 12V 2.2, EPS 12v 2.91
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics DriversCatalyst 10.6, Asus ARES Custom Driver, Nvidia GeForce Drivers 257.21 (normal use) and 258.69 (triple monitor)
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Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 32-bit executable, Benchmark Tool, High Settings, No AA, No AF
Far Cry 2DirectX 10, in-game benchmark, Ultra-High Settings, 8x AA, No AF
Aliens vs PredatorDirectX 11 Default Benchmark, no AA, No AF
World In Conflict: Soviet AssaultDirectX 10, Timedemo, Very High Details, 4x AA/4x AF
DiRT 2DirectX 11, Timedemo, Ultra Details, 8x AA/4x AF
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.01, Total System score
  • amk09
    Very interesting but strange article.
  • welshmousepk
    crysis 2 'on the horizon'?

    either you have not heard the terrible news, or you are a far more patient man than I.
  • gkay09
    No surprises IMO as it was the same with the HD 4650/ 4670...the 1GB DDR2 was slower than the 512MB DDR3...
  • You've mixed up the HIS5550 and HIS5570 end-on port pictures I think. You state the 5550 GDDR5 has no VGA and one is shown and vice-versa for the 5570 GDDR5. In fact it looks like quite few of the pictures are misplaced.
  • edlight
    When you do the HQV tests, could you investigate drivers? They have a desktop color and a video (movies) section. With my 4670, it's not always clear which videos the video section works on. It varies between Win 7 and XP. Basically it works on movies in the overlay, and/or players with hardware acceleration turned on. In Win 7 it works on the flash videos, in XP it doesn't. In XP in video you can adjust Gamma, in Win 7 you can't. In XP the brightness etc. adjustment in video is independent from the desktop. In Win 7 desktop adjustments to brightness etc. affect the videos, even in the overlay. In XP the Dynamic Contrast button is there, but does nothing.

    After driver 10.4, in XP, video brightness and other adjustments just don't work. If you want to adjust the video you have to go back to 10.4.

    Contrast this with nvidia. As far as I know, their drivers work properly, with Gamma adjustment for video, and video brightness etc. separated from desktop brightness etc.

    But, in the last nvidia drivers I tried, there are problems with profiles. While you're in video, you can't save the settings as a profile. You have to go to desktop. Then you can save them. You used to be able to right-click on the tray icon and select your profiles. In the last nvidia driver I checked, you couldn't do that. At least you can do that in the ATI drivers. You can't sort the darn things, though.

    So, to select a profile in nvidea you'd always have to open the control panel. In ATI, if you've come upon a dark video and you have several profiles to try on it, it's fast and easy by right-clicking in the tray.

    I don't think the programmers actually use the control panels themselves. Such awful logic!

    One last thing I'd like to know from the coming article is if the nvidia video section works on flash videos (with the 10.1 flash) in XP. It must in Win 7.
  • dconnors
    welshmousepkcrysis 2 'on the horizon'? either you have not heard the terrible news, or you are a far more patient man than I.
    I would say anything under a year is "on the horizon" so a March 2011 street date lines up pretty well with that statement.

  • LordConrad
    Wrong connector picture for the HIS 5570?
  • LordConrad
    Or maybe the caption is wrong...
  • Onus
    I would like to have seen the HD4670 in the benchmarks; I think that is more likely competition than the HD4650, which was beaten pretty badly.
  • belardo
    Yeah, the 4670 does belong on this benchmark article, but for the most part - the 5570 OC is on par with a standard 4670. Give or take.

    But what really belongs here is the 5450!

    That would show how much MORE powerful the 5550/70 cards are... Yeah I know, about 4x... but still it should be there. Maybe the 5470 will come out ;)

    Current pricing of the lower 5000 & 4000 series (Order of performance)
    5450 = $40~70 ($55+ = 1GB useless versions)
    4650 = $50~80
    5550 = $65~90 (DDR2 or DDR3 ver)
    5570 = $70~90 (DDR3)
    4670 = $70~90
    5670 = $85~105
    5750 = $125~150 (Ouch - considering they cost less to make that 4670s)

    First, when it comes to DX11 games, they are too much for the 5550 and below - but under DX10 - they do pretty good. So for your $70~75, you might as WELL buy the 4670 over the 5550s and 5570-DDR3. Now if the the 5550-DDR5 sells for the same price or less of a 4670, then it maybe worth it.

    Considering the age of these cards, the 5670 should be $80~90... as it doesn't touch the $100 4850! But the 4850 & 57xx requires more power/bigger PSUs.

    A non-eyeinfinity version of a 5750 for $100 would be a sweat card to get that would hammer the nail into the 4800 series.