AMD Radeon RX 550 review: New (entry) card on the block

Not every card is a gamer's card

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Introduction

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.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 Gaming OC 2GB
For this review, we tested the Gigabyte RX 550 Gaming OC.

 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.

General
 No photo
BrandAMDAMDAMD
Product nameRadeon R7 250Radeon RX 460 4GBRadeon RX 550
Product codeRADEON R7 250RADEON RX 460 4GBRadeon RX 550
DetailsProduct infoProduct infoProduct info
Chip
CodenameOlandPolaris 11Polaris 12
ArchitectureGCN 1.0GCN 1.3GCN 1.3
Computing cores384 cores896 cores512 cores
Clock frequency1000 MHz1090 MHz1100 MHz
Clock frequency boost1050 MHz1200 MHz1183 MHz
Transistor count1040 mln3000 mln2200 mln
Die size90 mm²123 mm²101 mm²
Production technology28 nm14 nm14 nm
Memory
Memory size1024 MB4096 MB2048 MB
Memory typeGDDR5GDDR5GDDR5
Memory clock frequency1150 MHz1750 MHz1750 MHz
Memory controller128 bit128 bit128 bit
Bandwidth72 GB/s112 GB/s112 GB/s
Functionality
DirectX supportDirectX 12 fl 11_1DirectX 12 fl 12_1DirectX 12 fl 12_1
SLI compatible
Crossfire compatible
HDMI versie1.42.0b2.0b
DisplayPort versie1.21.41.4
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
Board design
InterfacePCI-Express 3.0 x16PCI-Express 3.0 8xPCI-Express 3.0 x16
Extra power connector
Thermal design power65 W75 W50 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.


two products discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

AMD Radeon RX 550

Polaris 12, 512 cores, 1100 MHz, 2048 MB, 128 bit, DirectX 12 fl 12_1, PCI-Express 3.0 x16

Specifications Test results Reviews

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 Gaming OC 2GB

AMD Radeon RX 550, 1206 MHz, 2048 MB

Specifications Test results Reviews Prices

$84.99

Avg. $84.99
2 shops, 1x stock

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