ATI Radeon HD 5500 Series GDDR5 Review

The Radeon HD 5500 Series GDDR5

The Radeon HD 5550 and HD 5570 GDDR5 edition cards we received for testing looked identical to each other. In fact, the only discernable difference between the two cards was a cryptic model number on a small sticker on the back of the PCB.

We should point out, however, that these cards are reference models and that AMD’s board partners will be releasing different variations of these products that use different PCBs, including half height models, and different coolers. What you see pictured here are strictly reference designs produced by AMD.



In terms of their specifications, they are largely unchanged from the original GDDR3/2 versions of the Radeon HD 5550 and HD 5570. The original Radeon HD 5570 reference design called for a 650MHz GPU clock with 900MHz memory. The new GDDR5 edition has the same 650MHz GPU clock, but the memory has been goosed up to 1GHz. We should also point out that both of these cards sport 512MB frame buffers.

Similarly, the original Radeon HD 5550 called for a 550MHz GPU clock with 800MHz memory; the new GDDR5 model has the same GPU clock, but the memory has been pushed to the same 1GHz as the 5570. What the higher speed memory means to both cards is that more memory bandwidth will be available, which in turn will improve performance virtually across the board in mid-to-low end graphics cards such as these.

The output configuration on both of the cards we tested consisted of HDMI, DP, and dual-link DVI outputs, and neither card required supplemental power.

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