Powercolor Radeon HD 5550 ReviewGeekspeak411 - June 9, 2010
Category: Video Cards
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Well the battle is on. With everything unveiled on both sides, nVidia and ATI are going at it with guns blazing. With close to a half-year lead, ATI has a distinct advantage in this war in that it has had plenty of time to unleash its full arsenal while nVidia is still deploying. With the 5550, ATI is covering the casual gamers and graphics professionals out there by delivering modest DX11 capable power at a measly $70. At that price, you can budget this card into almost any build, and with the HDMI port, I can see this card going very nicely into an HTPC.
Following the card's budget price, the packaging is anything but spectacular. In the top right corner, the PowerColor logo is displayed along with its slogan 'Unleash the Gaming Power' directly beneath. To the right of the logo is a sticker publicizing this card's respectable 512MB of DDR3 RAM. As usual, there is a pretty intense graphic adorning the front panel in the form of a warrior wielding a large sword, which looks like it would be a pain to sharpen (think of a giant serrated knife blade gone shark's tooth). Ouch. Along the bottom, Radeon HD 5550 is proudly shown in big text and the ATI Radeon logo sits snug in the bottom right corner. The sides are fairly bland with either the brand name or the product name being displayed, flipping to the back, PowerColor lists some features and a graphic rating the card's abilities out of five stars, they are as follows: Gaming - 3 stars, Video - 4 stars, and Office - 5 stars. Let's take a look inside.
Opening up the small box sheds light on a red bubble-wrapped card, the driver disc, and some manuals. There are no tricks or gimmicks here, PowerColor seems to be doing everything possible to keep the price down for the end user. The bundle included with the 5550 is the definition of slim, but hey, at $70 no one's complaining. All you get with the card is a slim quick install brochure and an ATI labeled driver disc.
So far we have what seems to be a run-of-the-mill budget card, but packaging doesn't matter, it's the performance that counts, but first let's take a look at the card itself on the next page.