ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review :: HD 4550 Features

09-30-2008 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Ben Sun
  • 55 nanometer process
  • 80 Stream Processors
  • 2 SIMD Arrays
  • DDR3 Memory
  • 4X AA
  • 16x AF
  • CrossfireX
  • PCI Express 2.0
  • DirectX 10.1 Support
  • Unified Video Decoder 2
  • 25W full load
  • 96 GigaFLOPs
  • 12.8GB/second memory bandwidth
  • 600MHz core clock
  • 800MHz memory clock
  • Frame Buffer size 512MB
  • Memory bus width 128-bit

ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review

Brand NameATI
Part NumberRadeon HD 4550
Graphics ChipRV 710
Core clock600MHz
Shader Clock600MHz
Fabrication Process55 nm
Transistors122 Million
Memory clock1.6GHz
Memory Interface128-bit
Memory bandwidth12.8GB/second
Memory Size512MB
Texture Filtering Units8
Texture Filtering Rate4.8Gigatexels/second
HDCP SupportYes
HDMI SupportYes (via adapter)
ConnectorsDual-Link DVI, Display Port
Bus PCI Express 2.0
Form FactorSingle Slot
Power Connectors N/A

The ATI Radeon HD 4550 is based upon ATIís RV710 chip. It is manufactured at TSMC, ATIís and NVIDIAís chip foundry partner on their 55 nanometer process. ATI has now moved to the 55 nanometer process for their entire lineup top to bottom and their experience shows as they have designed chips to draw less power and have high performance for a lower price point.

One of the big selling points of the HD 4550 is as a Home Theater PC card. The reference card has a Display Port, a DVI port, and a VGA port. The card has a port for HDMI audio, meaning that you can get 7.1 sound out of the HDMI port. The HDMI and Display Ports allow the user to have the ultimate in choice as to the type of monitor to use with the card, whether a big screen HDTV or a LCD monitor for gaming.

The Radeon HD 4550 has 80 Stream Processors. By way of comparison the previous generation HD 3450 has 40 SPs, so this should make the HD 4550 performance much higher than the older chip. The RV710 has a 128-bit memory interface which along with the 1.6GHz effective memory clock speed offers a memory bandwidth of 12.8GB/second.

ATIís version of the Stream Processor is different than NVIDIAís in significant ways. The RV710 has two SIMD cores and each of the cores has eight stream processors. Each of the Stream Processors is capable of a 5D operation, meaning that thereís a total of 80 Stream Processors on the HD 4550. The 80 SPs allow the HD 4550 to have 48 GigaFLOPs of computing power.

ATI has had a GPGPU client in the works for a while now. As NVIDIA is pushing the PhysX hardware physics software ATI partnered with Intel to promote the Havok Physics software. Note that ATI could probably support PhysX on their hardware but itís a matter of licensing and NVIDIA allowing it to happen. ATI supports open standards for software and therefore supports Havok. Weíll have to wait and see if theyíll enable PhysX support.

ATI decided to move to a new architecture with the HD 38xx series, being the first video card company to support Microsoftís DirectX 10.1 in hardware. Key features of DirectX 10.1 include Indexed cube map arrays, independent blend modes per render target, Pixel coverage sample masking, read/write multi-sample surfaces with shaders, and Gather4 texture fetches.

The Radeon HD 4550 has the ability to do a maximum of 4x MSAA. The other members of the HD 4xxx family can do 8x MSAA but the performance of the Radeon HD 4550 and the number of render backends on the card means that the card cannot do 8X MSAA unless two cards are in CrossfireX mode. In any event, 8x MSAA would be totally unplayable on all but the most basic games and shouldnít be a factor on deciding whether to buy this card.

ATI is really pushing High Definition playback with this card and with all HD 4xxx series cards. THE HD 4550 has ATIís Unified Video Decoder 2 which has full hardware acceleration for H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2. The UVD2 also supports Picture-in-picture allowing you to watch a Blu-Ray movie for example and simultaneously watch the cast commentary. The HD 4550 has two independent display controllers, allowing for dual monitor use.

ATIís multiple GPU solution is called CrossfireX. The HD 4550 is capable of improving gaming performance with more than one graphics card. Of course this means that the HD 4550 would need a second HD 4550 to come close to the performance of the next level of card, the HD 4650 as the HD 4650 has double or more SPs and has the performance to back it up. There is no Crossfire bridge on this card so the reference card canít do Crossfire but partner cards can.

Driver screenshots

ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review
ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review
ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review
ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review

ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review
ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review
ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review
ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review

ATI Radeon HD 4550 Versus EVGA GeForce 9500GT Review

Hereís a chart of ATIís current HD 4xxx lineup top to bottom with pricing effective as of 9/24/2008 on Newegg. Youíll notice that there is a bit of overlap on the bottom of the lineup with the HD 4550 coming in at the lowest price but just barely. It should be interesting to see how performance stacks up with the HD 4670 and if the HD 4550 is a good buy at these prices. Note that video card prices are fluid and are dependent on market conditions.

HD 4870 X2HD 4870HD 4850HD 4670 HD 4650HD 4550
Transistors956 million x2956 million956 million514 million514 million242 million
Memory bus256-bit x2256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit128-bit
SPs800 x280080032032080
Memory1GB X2512MB512MB512MB512MB512MB
Memory bandwidth2x 115GB/second115GB/second64GB/second32GB/Second16GB/second230GB/second
Texture Fillrate40 Gigatexels/second48.2 Gigatexels/second20Gigatexels/second24 Gigatexels/second19.2 Gigatexels/second4.8 Gigatexels/second