|PowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD5550 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Dan Ferguson|
|Tuesday, 15 June 2010|
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PowerColor PCS+ HD5550 Video Card
For every new chip design comes a fleet of new products. The launch of ATI's 5000 series powerhouses is already becoming old news. In the wake of leading edge technology there is always a turbulent sea of opportunity both for chip makers, partners and consumers. The turbulence there is caused by mid-range and budget products developed on new technology competing with high-end and mid-range products from past generations. One card released in this wild market is PowerColor's PCS+ HD 5550. The HD 5550 is based on the same "Redwood" GPU as ATI's mid-range 5670. While the 5550 was released by ATI as a low end form factor card, PowerColor model AX5550 512MD5-PP has beefed up the clock, memory, board and cooler to put some power into something most of us can afford.
Chip manufacturers must constantly improve their technology to stay competitive. The main ways they do this is by shrinking their designs and making more chips at once. It is unlikely that the revenues gained through selling only high-end graphics cards can justify developing the technology and buying the tools needed to make the GPUs. Based on numbers reported in Steams May 2010 hardware survey, gamers are divided almost evenly into the high-end, mid-range and budget video card categories. The high-end cards outnumber the budget cards by a few percent with mid-range falling at an even third. Based on these numbers it pays to use new technology to offer a full range of cards better than the previous generation. The HD 5550 is built on the same 40nm technology as the HD 5970, but with less transistors. It uses the same chip as the faster HD 5670 but has been throttled back, downgraded or otherwise binned into a budget category. But as every hardware enthusiast knows, "Have new chip, will overclock!"
Knowing the potential to be unlocked from a scaled down GPU, PowerColor routinely overclocks their PCS+ card before sending selling them. They also add value that you can't get by doing your own overclocks. They have added the necessary support hardware and chips to help the accelerated ride be even smoother as well as beefed up the memory (like you were gonna do that on your own). It's also likely that they have spent more time testing their overclocked stability that you would be willing to spend at home. Since Benchmark Reviews likes to push things to the limit we will show how the PCS+ version compares to reference speeds as well as see if we can squeeze even more out of the HD 5550.
About the company: PowerColor
PowerColor, established by Tul Corporation in 1997, is a graphics industry leading brand name now and well known for its outstanding performance and innovative technology. As a leading provider of graphics card, PowerColor offers powerful, reliable and cost-effective solutions to customers worldwide.
PowerColor is the platform of choice for avid PC gamers and video prosumers looking to get the best possible performance out of the latest graphics processors from ATI. PowerColor graphics cards deliver every-last-drop of super-charged performance from ATI's most advanced visual processing units (VPU). Running a PowerColor graphics card, today's gamers are able to unleash the 3D graphics performance of their favorite game playing it the way it was meant to be played.