On Hardware.info you'll find the latest high-end hardware news, but developments in the budget segment are equally interesting. Fresh in from AMD, we'll look at the AMD Radeon RX 550, based on the new Polaris 12 GPU with only 512 stream processors. We’ll see what it’s capable of by looking at the Gigabyte RX 550 Gaming OC.
Looking at the specs, the RX 550 doesn’t really excite; 512 shaders and a clock speed of 1183 MHz with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. At the heart of this card however, we find the newest GPU in AMD’s Polaris series, which means it’s produced on Globalfoundries’ 14nm process. That makes it the first new AMD chip in this segment since the ”Oland” chip from 2013.
Polaris 12 has 2,2 million transistors and, at 101 mm2, has an 18% smaller surface area than the Polaris 11, which is found in the RX 460 and RX 560. You would expect a larger reduction in size seeing as the amount of stream processors has been halved, but two out of ten compute units have been disabled and are still physically present. Beside this, the memory-bus is still 128 bits, using up additional space on the die.
As the RX 550 supports hardware decoding of H.264 and H.265 video in 4K resolution, it is an interesting choice for media centre and HTPCs. Combined with a HDMI 2.0 output, it will have no problem putting this resolution on your screen. With its low TDP of only 50 watts, you will not require a PEG cable to power the card.
|Product name||Radeon R7 250||Radeon RX 460 4GB||Radeon RX 550|
|Product code||RADEON R7 250||RADEON RX 460 4GB||Radeon RX 550|
|Codename||Oland||Polaris 11||Polaris 12|
|Architecture||GCN 1.0||GCN 1.3||GCN 1.3|
|Computing cores||384 cores||896 cores||512 cores|
|Clock frequency||1000 MHz||1090 MHz||1100 MHz|
|Clock frequency boost||1050 MHz||1200 MHz||1183 MHz|
|Transistor count||1040 mln||3000 mln||2200 mln|
|Die size||90 mm²||123 mm²||101 mm²|
|Production technology||28 nm||14 nm||14 nm|
|Memory size||1024 MB||4096 MB||2048 MB|
|Memory clock frequency||1150 MHz||1750 MHz||1750 MHz|
|Memory controller||128 bit||128 bit||128 bit|
|Bandwidth||72 GB/s||112 GB/s||112 GB/s|
|DirectX support||DirectX 12 fl 11_1||DirectX 12 fl 12_1||DirectX 12 fl 12_1|
|Integrated H.264 video decoder|
|Geïntegreerde H.264 video-encoder|
|Integrated H.265 video decoder|
|Geïntegreerde H.265 video-encoder|
|Integrated VC-1 video decoder|
|Interface||PCI-Express 3.0 x16||PCI-Express 3.0 8x||PCI-Express 3.0 x16|
|Extra power connector|
|Thermal design power||65 W||75 W||50 W|
Since there is no reference card available for the RX 550, we tested a model from Gigabyte for the reference speeds. On the next page we’ll take a closer look at this card.