HIS HD 5550 & 5570 "Silence" Graphics Cards

Graphics Cards
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3D Performance/Cost: Please check out gaming-oriented reviews of the HD 5550/5570 at sites like like techPowerUp, Guru3D, and AnandTech. The general consensus is that the HD 5570 offers good gaming experience at resolutions of 1280 and below, but is priced too closely to the HD 5670 which is a significantly stronger performer. The HD 5550 lags behind the 5570 a fair bit; however, it is priced more appropriately. Neither is a great gaming card but if money is tight, either os an enormous upgrade over integrated graphics.

Power Consumption: By our estimates, the half-height HD 5550 Silence 1GB used 9W idle and 27W on load, while the full-sized 512MB version used 15W idling and 39W on load. The HD 5570 Silence used 14W idle and 43W on load. Given their respective levels of 3D performance, this is par for the course. However it should be noted that the idle power consumption on these budget cards depends mainly on the type of memory used. If you want idle power under 10W, HD 4000/5000 series cards with GDDR3 seem to the most frugal while GDDR5 equipped models use about 15W minimum.

Cooling: The passive heatsinks on the three cards kept their GPUs stable during testing in our thermally-challenging test system, but the temperature often surpassed 100°C. While they don't generate any noise on their own, the systems built around them may have to operate with higher fan speeds — which usually means higher noise levels — to keep the cards adequately cooled. This kind of defeats the purpose of having a passively cooled video card doesn't it? Heat isn't an issue in 2D or when watching video, but if that's all you're going to do with the card, you will save money and energy with a modern integrated graphics chip or an HD 5450.

The three cards we reviewed today are not speed demons, only appropriate for gamers who are frugal, in debt, or still subsisting on a weekly allowance from their parents. On the bright side, the low power draw and silen passive cooling are real benefits. However, the HIS HD 5550/5570 Silence series cards run a bit too hot for our liking. This may be understandable in the case of the half-height HD 5550 1GB, but there really is no excuse for the full-sized HD 5550 and 5570 512MB. A full-sized, dual slot cooler shouldn't have any trouble keeping a 40W card from getting hotter than boiling water — if that cannot be accomplished passively, there is no shame in helping it out with a large, quiet fan.

Our thanks to HIS Digital for the HIS HD 5550/5570 Silence samples.

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