Sapphire HD 4550 512MB Reviewajmatson - January 13, 2009
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First thing you will see is the low profile size of the Sapphire HD 4550 card. The size will make this a perfect choice for that HTPC you have always wanted to build. Sapphire has chosen to go with a blue colored PC board instead of the usual red ones we see on a lot of ATI based cards. They also chose to actively cool the HD 4550 for better performance in smaller cases like an HTPC case which has restricted air flow. The HD 4550 features 80 stream processors and operates on a 64-bit memory bus. This card complies with PCI Express 2.0 specification which increases bandwidth and performance.
There are a wealth of connections available on the Sapphire HD 4550 for being such a small card. Directly there is a DVI port, an S-Video port, and a VGA port. Using adapters you also have Component video, HDMI, and another VGA port. One thing of note is if you use the low profile bracket for a small case, you lose the directly connected VGA port. However, Sapphire has included a DVI to VGA adapter for you to use in this case.
Like I stated earlier, this card uses the RV710 core clocked at 600MHz. It is manufactured using a 55nm process and has 242 million transistors and 80 stream processors. There is a total of 512MB of GDDR3 memory which runs on a 64-bit memory interface and has a peak memory bandwidth of 12.80GB/s. The modules are manufactured by Samsung, which are rated at a minimum frequency of 800MHz at 1.8v, so I am worried about how much headroom we have for overclocking since these are already sitting at 800MHz.
Sapphire has chosen to actively cool the HD 4550 which will help reduce temperatures in tightly cramped cases. The cooler is a small flower like heatsink with a small fan to blow cooler air over the heatsink reducing the temperatures of the GPU and surrounding area.
Now that everything is out we can install the card at take a look at the drivers.