Introduction and The Packages
The other day we had a look at the reference version of the HD 5550 GDDR5 model from ATI. Today we'll be having a look at a retail version from HIS; along with that we'll also be looking at the HD 5570 which has had the same treatment as its little brother, the HD 5550, with the addition of GDDR5 memory.
While we weren't initially all that impressed with what the HD 5550 GDDR5 was doing for us, when we put it all into perspective the card doesn't look too bad at all considering its under $100 price point.
The HIS cards we're looking at today move away from the reference cooler design, but before we have a closer look at both cards, let's quickly check out the packages.
Both boxes are nearly identical. As for the actual package, we've only pictured one because they are identical. We've got the normal paperwork and driver CD along with a discount voucher for Bad Company 2 if you buy from the EA Store, along with another voucher for some software from ArcSoft which takes advantage of the Stream technology that ATI implement on their cards.
Looking at the cards, it wouldn't be hard to think we've just taken a photo of the same card twice, but like the box the cards are almost identical. Both use the same silent cooler, both don't have any external power connector and unlike the reference card, both don't have CrossFire connectors.
The only difference between the two cards is the connectivity. The HD 5550 offers HDMI, DVI and VGA, while the HD 5570 offers HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort.
When looking at the specifications of the two models, there's not a lot to differentiate them. The HD 5570 offers a slightly higher core clock of 650MHz, while also offering 400 Shaders versus 320.
As for areas that are the same, both cards offer 512MB of GDDR5 on a 128-bit memory bus clocked at 4000MHz QDR. Anyway, let's see how the cards go when it comes to our benchmarks.
Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage
We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Western Digital, Noctua and Thermaltake.
Today we'll be looking at the HIS HD 5550 and HD 55570 GDDR5 models against the reference HD 5550 GDDR5 we recently looked at and the slightly higher up HD 5670 1GB we looked at a while back.
Let's get started!
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here
3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.
3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.
Straight away we see a good indication of how the two models sit.
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
Version and / or Patch Used: 1 and 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//
New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.
Note: If a card doesn't support DirectX 11 the benchmark will be left out, if it does it will be included along with the DirectX10 results.
Looking at Heaven performance, we can see the HD 5570 GDDR5 doesn't sit all that far behind the HD 5670. It will be interesting to see what happens in real world games.
Benchmarks - CINEBENCH
Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10 and Release 11.5
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.
MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).
CINEBENCH sees all the cards perform just as you would expect.
Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5
Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/
Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.
Here we can see that the HD 5570 isn't far away from offering us some pretty playable FPS at 1680 x 1050. You can see the HD 5500 struggles at both resolutions.
Benchmarks - BattleForge
Version and / or Patch Used: Auto Patched at Load
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.battleforge.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.battleforge.com/
The Gods have disappeared and the old sun has died, letting a vile twilight engulf the world of Nyn. In exchange for all treasures the mortals possessed, the evil giants agreed to forge a new sun and hurl it into the sky.
But the deal was betrayed, the treasure stolen and now the mortals flee the wrath of the giants. Under the light of a new sun the mortals stumble into a world changed and twisted by an age of twilight. The long journey home has become a conquest of survival.
Note: Supporting DirectX 11 we have seperated the graphs for NVIDIA and ATI cards. While the numbers between the two brands can be compared you have to make note that ATI based HD 5000 series cards are running DirectX 11.
Under BattleForge we see that all the cards struggle to get near that 60 FPS average we need to see.
Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS.
The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series. Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target.
Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.
Under H.A.W.X. we again see all the cards struggle to get the decent FPS. You'll really need to drop the detail down here. Mind you, it's not that bad considering we're starting at the highest point.
Benchmarks - Darkest of Days
Darkest of Days
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com/index.php
Product Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com/index.php
Darkest of Days takes the player through time into historic battles in an effort to save key individuals from certain death. The battles range from Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 to fighting in Pompeii as ash and fire rain down from an erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Other locations include the battles of Antietam and Tannenberg, and a German World War II P.O.W. camp. There are different missions in every time period and the game takes about 4 hours to complete.
The game features over twenty weapons, both from the original time period as well as those brought back from the future. In addition, there are artillery weapons from different time periods to assist in battle.
Note: With the PhysX set to Medium or High Darkest of Days take advantage of the NVIDIA PhysX abilities. For that reason we will test ATI cards at the Low preset, NVIDIA based cards though will be tested at Low and High.
We continue to see the HD 5550 is quite far away from that 60 FPS average we need. The HD 5570 is still a fair way from it, but at least at 1680 x 1050 it's closer. We should be able to gain those extra FPS with some detail drop.
Benchmarks - Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here
The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.
While the HD 5570 brings us closer to that 30 FPS minimum, we're still a bit away from it. We're not so far away that a detail drop won't get those extra few FPS we need, though. The HD 5550 on the other hand is going to need a resolution drop alongside a detail one.
Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum
Batman Arkham Asylum
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.
Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.
Note: With support for PhysX NVIDIA based cards will be tested with the technology on and off, ATI cards will be tested with the technology off due to it not being supported on their cards.
At 1680 x 1050 we see good performance from both cards with the minimum above 30 FPS. While the HD 5550 falls back a little, the HD 5570 manages to remain above 30 FPS which is impressive.
Benchmarks - Dark Void
Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.airtightgames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.darkvoidgame.com/
The game's story takes place during World War II and centers around a cargo pilot named William Augustus Grey (voiced by Nolan North) who is teleported to another world while flying through the Bermuda Triangle. In this world, known as the 'Void', Will encounters an alien race as well as other humans, which are known as the Watchers and the Survivors respectively.
Will reluctantly joins the Survivors who are engaged in a feud with the alien race to satisfy his desire to return to Earth. While aiding the Survivors, Will discovers that the Void is a middle ground that connects both the Watchers homeworld and Earth. It also becomes apparent that the Watchers are supplying the Axis powers with various supplies for reasons unknown. With the help of Nikola Tesla, Will utilizes retrofited Watcher technology to combat the Watchers and eventually find a way to escape the Void.
Across the board we see playable numbers from Dark Void at both resolutions. It just goes to show in these slightly older games that the budget cards can really shine.
Benchmarks - Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor
Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.51
Timedemo or Level Used: Sample File
Developer Homepage: http://www.elcomsoft.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.elcomsoft.com/ewsa.html
ElcomSoft has pioneered many software innovations that have made it easier to recover passwords protecting various types of resources. For the first time in the industry, the company's patent-pending GPU acceleration makes its way into Wi-Fi password recovery, reducing the time required to recover Wi-Fi passwords up to a hundred times.
Supporting up to four NVIDIA boards such as GeForce 8, 9, and 200, as well as ATI video cards such as RADEON HD 4000 Series and up, Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor allows building servers with supercomputer performance at a fraction of the price.
WSA performance isn't great; it's what you would expect of a card at this level, though.
With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).
There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.
Due to the passive cooling the cards do run a little warmer than the reference HD 5550 which used active cooling. But really, its temps are still pretty good.
Power Consumption Tests
Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).
There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.
The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.
So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.
Power draw as you would expect as low; there are really no surprises here.
Total Performance Rating (TPR)
Total Performance Rating
The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and ATI are on an even playing field. This includes benchmarks where PhysX can be forced off like Dark Void and Batman: Arkham Asylum, but not Darkest of Days.
The TPR number is a combination of:
3DMark Vantage, Heaven Benchmark V2, CINEBENCH R11.5, Resident Evil 5, BattleForge, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off), Dark Void (PhysX Off) and our three High Quality tests which include Far Cry 2, Resident Evil 5 and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.
Here we see a good picture of performance. We can see just how much better the GDDR5 model compares to the GDDR3 model we looked at from GIGABYTE recently which was overclocked out of the box.
Total Value Rating (TVR)
Total Value Rating
The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on Newegg.com. In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.
In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.
In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.
TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.
The value of both models isn't bad at all. We can see the HIS HD 5550 pricing is also more aggressive than the reference pricing ATI offered.
Since the HIS HD 5550 GDDR5 carried with it the same clocks as the reference card we looked at recently, there's not much to talk about with its performance being just as you would expect; not great on a whole, but fairly strong for the price.
Where the HIS version of the card differs from the reference one is the cooler which of course is a silent one. It does a good job of keeping the card temperature at a bearable level without any noise which is always a positive. The worst thing about the cooler is that it's a dual slot one, but so is the reference cooler, so we can't pick on it so much.
The HD 5550 GDDR5 from HIS performed as we expected it to. The good news is that HIS decided to be a bit more aggressive on the pricing and while $8 cheaper might not sound much, at $71.99 it equates to being 10% cheaper compared to the reference model. This overall helps push the value of the card up slightly.
The HD 5570 GDDR5 on the other hand is a different card. When you look at the TPR graph and compare it to the HD 5570 OC GDDR3 GIGABYTE model we looked at a bit back, you can see just how much faster the model is.
On a whole its performance is quite strong. Again, considering it carries with it a price tag under $100, it's certainly impressive. The cooler is the same as the HD 5550 as we mentioned and while the card is faster overall, it doesn't run any hotter than the HD 5550 which is good news.
Compared to the reference HD 5550 which carried with it a $79.99 price tag, there's just no way you wouldn't spend the extra $10 and buy this model. Compared to the HIS HD 5550 which comes in a bit cheaper, the gap is larger. We would recommend that if you could stretch yourself the extra $20, buy the HD 5570. If your budget is set and you can't go higher, the HD 5550 GDDR5 isn't a bad buy; the HD 5570 GDDR5 is just a better one.
Overall the inclusion of GDDR5 is a big one when it comes to performance, especially when you look at the HD 5570. You can see that the gain is quite significant over the GDDR3 GIGABYTE version we looked at which out of the box was overclocked on the core.
At the end of it all I still get this feeling that we're only looking at GDDR5 models of these lower end cards because ATI want to remind us they still exist, as there's no denying that recent months have been dominated by the green team. That aside, though, we've got two good looking models from HIS. There's no denying that the HD 5570 GDDR5 is a clear winner out of the two; slightly more expensive and a good boost in performance makes it quite a winner.
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