AMD ATI Radeon HD 4550
Get the HD 4670 instead...
- Good performance for the asking price, inbuilt HDMI connector, passively cooled for sound-free operation
- Benchmarks were significantly worse than the HD 4670 (which only costs a bit more)
The HD 4550 is a good, affordable option for high-def movie playback and occasional gaming. However, unless you’re on a shoestring budget, we’d recommend the HD 4670 instead. It offers a vastly superior graphics performance for a slightly higher premium.
A few months ago, ATI unveiled its R700 graphics chipset with the top-of-the-range Radeon HD 4870. This was followed by a succession of less powerful cards as it made its way, non-climactically, to the entry-level dregs. It’s not a particularly exciting way to debut new technology (kind of like a reversed 20-to-1 episode), but we suppose it keeps the accountants happy. Thus, following in the footsteps of the almighty Radeon HD 4870, the dependable ATI Radeon HD 4850 and the quietly achieving ATI Radeon HD 4670, comes the Radeon HD 4550: an ultra-budget card aimed at ultra-casual users.
If the HD 4870 is the Goliath of modern-day graphics cards, the HD 4550 would best be described as the dwarf — albeit a fabulously muscled one. While there is no escaping the fact that this is a low-end ‘value’ card, it is considerably beefier than its price tag would suggest. Provided you don’t expect miracle results from 3-D gaming, it will give you plenty of bang for your [unit of currency. — Ed. ]. It is best suited to owners of cheap PCs looking to upgrade their integrated graphics cards, as well as video enthusiasts who require affordable access to high-definition media. However, the HD 4670 offers a lot more grunt for a slightly higher premium, which makes it an even better deal.
The GPU at the heart of the HD 4550 is based on the same basic architecture as its HD 4670 sibling. What you’re basically getting is a downgraded 55nm RV730 chip, codenamed the RV710. Perhaps the most notable change is to the number of shader processors, which has dropped from a modest 320 to an even more conservative 80. Its core clock speed has also been reduced, from 750MHz to 600Mhz, while its memory clock speed now stands at 1600MHz DDR3 effective (down from 2.0 GHz GDDR3 effective). Another significant change is the 64-bit memory bus, which is half the size of the HD 4670’s 128-bit bus. The card’s onboard memory remains unchanged at 512MB, though it uses DDR3 memory instead of GDDR3.
For the purpose of this review, we tested the ATI reference board which the first batch of 4550s should be identical to. AMD does not supply RRP info to journalists, but you can expect to pay around $130 for most vendor models, which makes it around $20 to $30 cheaper than the HD 4670. (This is supported by the price comparison search engine StaticIce.com.)
In terms of design, the HD 4550 shares similar dimensions to the slimline HD 4670, and requires no power connectors to run. However, unlike the HD 4670, ATI has opted for a passive cooling solution via a large black heat plate. This lends the card an unusual look, with no room for logos or artwork.
The HD 4550 isn’t really aimed at gaming, so its mediocre showing in our benchmarks isn’t too surprising. However, we were mildly shocked by how poorly it performed in comparison to the Radeon HD 4670. When we ran 3DMark 06, the HD 4550 returned a score of 3664. By contrast, the HD 4670 scored 8254 when using the same test bed. In the DX 9 version of the game Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions, the HD 4550 returned an average frame rate of 22.6 frames per second. This was significantly slower than the HD 4670, which managed a far more playable 54.5fps. Our Half-Life 2 benchmark demo was also slower when using the HD 4550: 132.2fps vs. 172.4fps.
Predictably, the trend continued in our DirectX 10 gaming tests. Watching the HD 4550 attempt to run Crysis was a sad and tragic thing: it managed an average frame rate of just 5.2fps. Likewise, the DX10 games Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions and Call of Juarez averaged 6.65fps and 9.8fps respectively. All of these results were significantly slower than the HD 4670, which returned semi-playable frame rates in each game (we were particularly impressed by the Call of Juarez result of 25.5fps). While we weren’t expecting the HD 4550 to compete with its more powerful cousin, the gulf between both cards is quite significant, especially when you consider the small price difference.
On the plus side, the HD 4550’s high-definition capabilities remain unmatched in its price range. Rather spiffily, the card comes with inbuilt DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort connectors — no adaptor required. AMD’s Unified Video Decoder 2.0 (for reliable high-def video playback) and integrated HD 7.1 Audio controller are also supported by this card. Subsequently, it should make a good choice for HD multimedia enthusiasts, if not for gamers.
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
cloudandco Smart Cane
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Apple iPhone X
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Micro
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 4 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
- 5 Giabyte Aorus X9 Gaming Laptop review: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Will Now Resist the Elements
- Logitech Unveils MX ERGO, their first trackball in nearly a decade
- MSI's new Ryzen-ready motherboard coming to Oz
- Seagate Expands Portfolio with 12TB Drives for NAS and Desktop Computing
- Intel's 8th Gen Desktop Processors Go On Sale Today
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
- Get set for Amazon Australia Black Friday launch
- Destiny 2 PC review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCSecurity AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Siebel DeveloperACT
- CCAS400 Analyst ProgrammerNSW
- FTTechnical Test AnalystQLD
- FTProject Manager/Scrum MasterNSW
- FTSenior Procurement Manager- Government BackgroundOther
- FTSenior Analyst, Technical SupportNSW
- FTMid-Level Drupal Developer (Brisbane Location)SA
- FTDomain Architect - AWS / AzureOther
- CCITSM Project ManagerNSW
- FTEngineer Control Systems SpecialistSA
- FTiOS DeveloperWA
- CCSenior Project Manager x 2 (Infrastructure)NSW
- FTTest Automation EngineerVIC
- FTPageUp BAOther
- FTSenior Front End Developer - (Urgent)Other
- CCScrum Master - BrisbaneVIC
- CCBusiness AnalystACT
- FTSenior Test AnalystACT
- FTRecords AnalystOther
- FTUX Researcher - ContractNSW
- FTService Desk Analyst - L1Other
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- FTIT Graduate / Junior Project AdministratorOther