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Review: AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4550 - budget bonanza?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 30 September 2008, 08:51

Tags: ATI Radeon HD 4550 , AMD (NYSE:AMD), ATi Technologies (NYSE:AMD), PC

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A look at the card

The reference card was supplied directly by AMD. The claimed power-draw for the GPU is around 20W, so we'll expect to see a raft of partner cards with passive cooling.

Looking back at the specifications and the multimedia features, Radeon HD 4550 makes a strong case for being part of an HTPC (home theatre PC) setup, because it has more rendering power than the very best IGPs yet doesn't cost the earth.

That's why this particular card is presented in a half-height form factor - fitting into smaller HTPC chassis.

Annoyingly, though, for a board that chews through around 20W under full load there's a small-ish fan. It's generally unobtrusive when the card is under load and very quiet when idling, as the speeds drop to 110MHz core and 300MHz memory. Still, we'd like to see practically all partner cards ship with passive cooling.

Pretty standard fare on the back. The framebuffer differences - 256MB vs. 512MB - will be the main differentiator between SKUs.

The supplied model was equipped with 512MB of DDR3 memory running at an effective 1,593MHz.

A measly 20W power-draw means that no auxillary power is required..

The rear section is standard width. We have the three usual suspects, that is, VGA, TV-out, and dual-link DVI that can be turned into HDMI through an optional dongle.