We really value the HD5550 as a low cost media solution, our indepth analysis with the HQV 2.0 Benchmark shows that right now, this hardware with Catalyst 10.6 offers very impressive image quality, actually in line with nVidia solutions at over three times the price!
If you are on a budget and are building a quiet, energy efficient system and wish to reap the rewards of finely tuned drivers geared for maximum image quality then this is an option we put high on our list. Obviously if you can stretch further then the £140 HD5770 becomes our number one choice, however for £70 the HD5550 is a tough card to ignore.
The HIS HD5550 Silent we reviewed today broke our previous record for power drain and it consumes only 12watts when idle and 28 watts when gaming. If these figures just sail right over your head, then consider that the GTX480 from nVidia can consume 320w when running Furmark. If energy efficiency, ultimate image quality and silent operation are key purchasing criteria then this is a very good investment.
Negatively I would have liked to see HIS use a slightly more substantial cooler such as the one on the Sapphire model we recently reviewed, however the cooler is more than adequate for the reference clocks and even allows for moderate overclocking without toasting the hardware.
Currently we haven't got pricing information on the GDDR3 version of the HIS card but the DDR2 model is selling for £70 in the UK. We would expect prices to be in the same ballpark and as such value for money is high.
When scoring this product we need to measure all the pros and cons.
- Minimal power drain – best we have recorded to date on Kitguru (12w idle, 28w gaming).
- Takes all power from the slot.
- Uses 1300mhz DDR3, not 800mhz DDR2.
- Delivers maximum image quality via Catalyst 10.6.
- Can handle gaming with moderate settings.
- Well priced.
- Cooler could be beefier.
KitGuru says: This is a product we liked just as much as the Sapphire HD5550 ultimate we recently reviewed. Even though the cooler isn't as impressive, there is still overclocking headroom and the use of GDDR3 helps performance.
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