Normally in our articles when we directly compare two or more products, we would show each card on its own page. For a change, you will see the two graphics cards side by side in our images. For your reference, the FX 5500 will be explained first and will appear in the left side of the images, the Radeon 9550 will be explained last and on the right side of the images.
- Package and Contents
The two Gigabyte graphics cards are shipped in totally different boxes. The Gigabyte FX 5500 is shipped in a pink and white box with the Gigabyte nVidia fairy on the box. This is to be the box packaging for all Gigabyte's nVidia based cards (colours might change but the board design is the same throughout the line). Inside, the 5500 comes with a user manual, driver CD, game CD, PowerDVD 5.0 CD, DVI to VGA converter and a S-Video to RCA converter.
The Radeon 9550 comes in the same design box as all of the previous Gigabyte Radeon 9xxx cards. While the Maya name has been removed, it is the same pyramid box that has set Gigabyte's trend for its ATI cards. In the box you get very little with this package, as it's more budget-oriented then the FX 5500. You simply get your user manual, driver CD and PowerDVD 5.0 CD. While the card does have Video out, no cables are provided.
- Cards Compared
Now we see the cards together. The FX 5500 and the Radeon 9550 both use a blue PCB which is about all the similarities they share. The GeForce FX 5500 uses an active gold plated heatsink and fan to cool the GPU. Memory is 128MB in size and covers the front of the card only. The TV output circuitry is integrated into the FX 5500 core, so there are no external codec's for the display. The card in size is relatively small, making it a good size for tightly cramped PC's such as Shuttle XPC systems. There are no external power connections either, the 5500 core, unlike the higher-end FX chips, doesn't draw anywhere near as much power and as such, doesn't require any auxiliary power.
The Radeon 9550 is a totally different bag of fish. First off, the 128MB of memory is located on the both sides. While they both share the same memory sizes, the GPU is passively cooled, ATI specifications don't call for active cooling of the Radeon 9550 core, which will bring joy to silent PC developers. The size of the card is exactly the same as the FX 5500 so PCB costs are identical between the two cards. As with the FX 5500, there is no external power requirements for the 9550, as its power draw is far less than that of the FX 5500.
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