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AMD’s HD 5550 & 5570 – Now Equipped with GDDR5 Goodness
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by Rob Williams on June 28, 2010 in AMD-Based GPU

To retain modest pricing, it’s common to see lower-end graphics cards equipped with either DDR2 or DDR3. That design choice, though, can have a major effect on performance, something that’s proven twice over with AMD’s Radeon HD 5550 and HD 5570, both of which have just been upgraded with a move to GDDR5 memory.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

When the original Call of Duty game launched in 2003, Infinity Ward was an unknown. Naturally… it was the company’s first title. But since then, the series and company alike have become household names. Not only has the series delivered consistently incredible gameplay, it’s pushed the graphics envelope with each successive release, and where Modern Warfare is concerned, it’s also had a rich storyline.

The first two titles might have been built on the already-outdated Quake III engine, but since then, the games have been built with improved graphical features, capable of pushing the highest-end PCs out there. Modern Warfare 2 is the first such exception, as it’s more of a console port than a true PC title. Therefore, the game doesn’t push PC hardware as much as we’d like to see, but despite that, it still looks great, and lacks little in the graphics department. You can read our review of the game here.

Manual Run-through: The level chosen is the 10th mission in the game, “The Gulag”. Our teams fly in helicopters up to an old prison with the intention of getting closer to finding the game’s villain, Vladimir Makarov. Our saved game file begins us at the point when the level name comes on the screen, right before we reach the prison, and it ends after one minute of landing, following the normal progression of the level. The entire run takes around two-and-a-half minutes.

It’s no secret that the main bottleneck on lower-end cards is the memory, but our GDDR5 results prove just how much of a bottleneck it truly is. The HD 5550 in particular saw a 75% performance boost just because of its move to faster memory. The difference between the HD 5570 cards weren’t quite as stark, but was still a nice gain at around 20%.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
NVIDIA GTX 480 1.5GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
50
81.669
ATI HD Radeon 5870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
44
81.351
ATI HD 5770 1GB CrossFireX
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
40
81.311
ATI HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
37
68.563
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
41
66.527
NVIDIA GTX 275 896MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
37
61.937
ATI HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
30
53.569
NVIDIA GTX 260 896MB (XFX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
33
53.314
ATI HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
36
60.337
NVIDIA GTS 250 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
30
53.253
ATI HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
28
50.727
ATI HD 5670 512MB (Reference)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 4xAA
24
43.96
NVIDIA GT 240 512MB (ASUS)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 0xAA
30
53.139
ATI HD 5570 512MB (Ref. GDDR5)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 4xAA
24
41.323
ATI HD 5570 1GB (Sapphire)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 4xAA
19
34.392
ATI HD 5550 512MB (Ref. GDDR5)
1920×1080 – Medium Detail, 4xAA
24
40.846
ATI HD 5550 1GB (Sapphire)
1920×1080 – Low Detail, 0xAA
25
44.661

The benefit of GDDR5 on these cards is huge, and again reiterated in our best playable results. Again singling out the HD 5550, we were able to not only increase the detail level, but also enable anti-aliasing. In the end, the performance is almost the same, but the detail level is much improved on the GDDR5 card.

Because our graphics levels are already maxed out on the non-GDDR5 card, we couldn’t increase them further there, but we still saw a nice performance boost.


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