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Powercolor Radeon HD 5550 Review

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Testing of the PowerColor Radeon HD 5550 will consist of running the card through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where it falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to each other. The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where PhysX will be disabled in the nVidia control panel. I will test the card at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with the current fastest single GPU cards on the market.  The drivers used in this test will be the 10.4 Catalyst drivers for ATI and 197.45 Forceware drivers from nVidia. Tests will be conducted at both stock and overclocked settings to gauge performance when an increase in clock speed is applied.


  • Processor: Intel Core I7 920 200x18 3.6Ghz
  • Motherboard: Asus P6X58D Premium
  • Memory: Mushkin PC3 12800 Ridgeback 6-8-6-24
  • Video Card(s): PowerColor Radeon HD 5550
  • Power Supply: CoolerMaster Real Power Pro 850W
  • Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 640GB 7200rpm
  • Optical Drive: Asus LightScribe DVD-RW
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Case: Corsair Obsidian 800D

Comparison Video Cards:



Overclocked settings:

  • PowerColor Radeon HD 5550 700MHz/900Mhz

After looking at the cooler and taking the price of the card into account, I was not expecting too much additional performance headroom from this card. Actually, the numbers I got in the end weren't bad at all. The core clock was fairly simple, I just loaded up MSI's Kombuster utility alongside ATI's Overdrive Utility, and I let Kombuster run for a few minutes to heat up then ratcheted the clock speeds up in 10MHz increments every minute all the way up to 700MHz with no signs of any artifacts. I let the card run Kombuster for fifteen minutes to ensure it was stable and then repeated the process with the RAM until I maxed out at 900MHz, only 50MHz away from maxing out the Overdrive utility. Hopefully these increases will show some decent gains, I am impressed with how much headroom the tiny heatsink offered. It is worth noting that while the fan might have been set to 100%, I was unable to hear it at all.


Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each card has been tested for its maximum stable clock speeds using MSI's Kombuster utility. So far my testing has shown that higher clock speeds may be stable in games where GPU usage does not reach 100%, but will crash within a few minutes using this utility. The reported clock speeds are those that proved stable over a fifteen minute test at 1920x1200 8x AA.



  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  5. Darkest of Days
  6. Bioshock 2
  7. Just Cause 2
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0
  9. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  10. Resident Evil 5
  11. 3DMark 06 Professional
  12. 3DMark Vantage
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

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