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.

Graphic Test System

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


ASRock X58 SuperComputer
Intel X58, BIOS P1.90

Onboard Realtek Gigabit LAN controller

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

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


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


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

3DMark Vantage
Version: 1.01, Total System score
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    Top Comments
  • welshmousepk
    crysis 2 'on the horizon'?

    either you have not heard the terrible news, or you are a far more patient man than I.
  • Other Comments
  • 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...
  • Anonymous
    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.
  • Reynod
    Thanks Don.
  • elbert
    I would have liked to have seen a 5570 dd3 1gb overclock.

    Unlike the HIS Radeon HD 5550 GDDR5 sample we have, the HIS Radeon HD 5570 GDDR5 card is not equipped with a DisplayPort output, and therefore triple-monitor Eyefinity is not a possibility. The card has a DVI, an HDMI, and a VGA output instead.

    The image above this statement has no VGA but does have a DisplayPort. I'm kind of at a loss here as either the statement or the image is incorrect. Also Unlike should be like if the statement is correct having them both without Displayport.

    I really dont like the graphs. They are very hard to read. I would like the see best to worst in order graphs.
  • JeanLuc
    What's up with the noise chart? I was shocked when I saw the Sapphire 4650 noise levels then I realised it was only 6dcb higher then the HD5550. It's very misleading can you please fix it as that Sapphire looks as it it's 6 times louder then anything else.
  • forsayken
    The 4850 is still very much available for $90 and blows every card in this benchmark out of the water and usually beats the 9800GT. I'd still get this board over all others if I had only $100 to spend on a card and you want to game. I do have a 5670 and will admit that I am very impressed with heat/noise so that is a wise choice as well for a lower-power system. It runs SC2 on "high" and BC2 on good enough settings to be visually appealing.
  • cknobman
    Would like to have seen the 4670 on here for comparison. I picked up my 4670 last October on an egg special for $39.99 after rebate (and yes I finally got my rebate after 4 months).

    My suggestion to anyone wanting to buy a $50 - 100 card is wait for specials and rebates because you can often get one well below market rates if you shop around.
  • kresso
    cknobmanWould like to have seen the 4670 on here for comparison. I picked up my 4670 last October on an egg special for $39.99 after rebate (and yes I finally got my rebate after 4 months). My suggestion to anyone wanting to buy a $50 - 100 card is wait for specials and rebates because you can often get one well below market rates if you shop around.

    I got that same deal and couldn't be happier (ok I could but, for that price the 4670 was a steal)
  • wolfram23
    Interesting low end GPU. ATI is really pushing to get DX11 cards out there, for people of all budgets.
  • rohitbaran
    Since they have launched these 2 cards now, it looks like either the refresh isn't around the corner or it is probably only for the top end models.
  • COLGeek
    I have used several 4550/4650 GPUs and have been very pleased with all of them. It comes as no surprise that their HD5XXX cousins perform equally as well in terms of cost and processing. Not all users are power users, nor are all users OCing their rigs. This class of GPUs really does meet the needs of most users and at a pretty decent price point. It is hard to not respect ATI for producing capable GPUs for the masses.
  • WarraWarra
    I can see a price point for this hardware but why upgrade from a NV9800gtx to anything less than a Ati5770.

    NV9800gtx newegg $135
    5670 newegg $110
    5770 newegg $135

    I can not see anyone not willing to sacrifice 2 hamburgers or a few beers and rather get a 5770 instead of a 5670 or even a 9800gtx. No one can be this poor or stupid.

    IE: what the ??? is the use of these low end mobile phone video cards ?

    If AMD stops wasting money on these low end junk and rather have fewer models, spend more time producing useful video card then they can have decent prices for the server headless video card like the 5850 that should be "$150" video card instead of this stupid list of prices and models of uselessness.