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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.

Race Driver: GRID

If you primarily play games on a console, your choices for quality racing games are plenty. On the PC, that’s not so much the case. While there are a good number, there aren’t enough for a given type of racing game, from sim, to arcade. So when Race Driver: GRID first saw its release, many gamers were excited, and for good reason. It’s not a sim in the truest sense of the word, but it’s certainly not arcade, either. It’s somewhere in between.

The game happens to be great fun, though, and similar to console games like Project Gotham Racing, you need a lot of skill to succeed at the game’s default difficulty level. And like most great racing games, GRID happens to look absolutely stellar, and each of the game’s locations look very similar to their real-world counterparts. All in all, no racing fan should ignore this one.

Manual Run-through: For our testing here, we choose the city where both Snoop Dogg and Sublime hit their fame, the LBC, also known as Long Beach City. We choose this level because it’s not overly difficult, and also because it’s simply nice to look at. Our run consists of an entire 2-lap race, with the cars behind us for almost the entire race.

The performance boosts with GRID are not quite as spectacular as what we saw with Modern Warfare 2 and Bound in Blood, but the “free” gains we do see are nonetheless impressive. I can’t see too many people complaining about a 50% performance boost on the HD 5550, if pricing does indeed remain identical as we’re being promised.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
ATI HD 5870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
83
103.622
ATI HD 5770 1GB CrossFireX
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
81
104.32
NVIDIA GTX 295 1792MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
84
103.958
NVIDIA GTX 480 1.5GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
81
98.578
ATI HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
68
84.732
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
54
66.042
ATI HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
53
65.584
NVIDIA GTX 275 896MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
52
63.617
ATI HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
45
56.980
NVIDIA GTX 260 896MB (XFX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
45
54.809
ATI HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
39
47.05
NVIDIA GTX 250 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
35
43.663
ATI HD 5670 512MB (Reference)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 4xAA
36
47.36
ATI HD 5570 512MB (Ref. GDDR5)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 4xAA
35
40.495
ATI HD 5570 1GB (Sapphire)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 4xAA
28
35.689
NVIDIA GT 240 512MB (ASUS)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 0xAA
33
51.071
ATI HD 5550 512MB (Ref. GDDR5)
1920×1080 – Medium Detail, 0xAA
37
43.209
ATI HD 5550 1GB (Sapphire)
1920×1080 – Low Detail, 0xAA
34
54.569

Both of our HD 5570′s shared the same top-end settings, as the game couldn’t be pushed further, so we again see a simple performance boost. The HD 5550 equipped with GDDR5 allowed us to increase the detail level from low to medium and still retain great framerates.