As most of you with most videocards know, you can apply a simple series of tricks to boost the overall performance a little. You can do this at two levels, namely tweaking by enabling registry or BIOS hacks, or very simple, tamper with Image Quality. And then there is overclocking, which will give you the best possible results by far.
Radeon HD 4550 512MB
Now the standard core runs at 600 MHz and the memory at 800 MHz remember ? Well, cheap products always overclock the best somehow, of course the lesser number of transistors and thus thermals help out as well. We pushed the core frequency towards 750 MHz and the memory towards 979 MHz. In the lower resolutions that'll get another 15-20 % performance out of the card.
The Radeon HD 4550 is what it is really, don't expect much from it other then the fact you have a versatile product for roughly 50 USD in your hands. Playing modern games with reasonable image quality settings ? Forget about it, absolutely no way. Though performance has improved heaps over the previous low-level graphics cards, the game industry has moved on as well. Games are getting more complex to compute and render. So gaming wise, surely you can play older titles reasonable well, but do not expect to burn a hefty FPS on the newer titles as for that you need to take down the image quality settings a couple of notches to do so.
Next to increasing game complexity seen from a rendering point of view, that 64-bit memory bus is limiting the 80 Shader cores significantly. The card could seriously need more memory bandwidth and definitely would have been much faster if 128-bit memory was used, but in this price segment .. that's just a hard thing to achieve production costs wise. But I'd like to say to the chipset manufacturers .. let it go folks please, move onwards to 128-bit memory in the budget segment. Games wise if you are on a very small budget, I recommend you to go for the best next alternative, the Radeon HD 4670.
But hey .. gaming is not really what this card was intended for anyway. For roughly 50 USD you'll have a very capable dual-link 512MB graphics card that can drive a high resolution monitor and then an analog one up-to 1920x1200. You'll also have a dirt cheap solution at hand to decode and accelerate HDCP encoded blu-ray movies or upscale DVD playback to 1920x1080 and actually have the GPU enhance and accelerate that content for you. So if you plan to build a cheapo Home Theater PC, this might be a very affordable alternative.
So it boils down to this, don't expect to play modern games with this entry-level card, please spend a little more money, at 90 USD the Radeon HD 4670 is you next best thing. But other than that the Radeon HD 4550 is a very versatile highly feature rich graphics card that will allow you to do all the normal daily PC stuff. And the good thing here .. it definitely doesn't break the bank at all.
ATI Radeon HD 4770 review Today we have another bang for buck product, a product that I like very much. As what ATI is doing today is pretty remarkable. They are releasing the Radeon HD 4770, a mainstream product at a budget price. Trust me when I say that after reading this review, you will be impressed.
ATI Radeon HD 4550 512MB review Today we test the Radeon HD 4550. It's the cheapest desktop graphics product that ATI can deliver at your doorsteps. This Radeon HD 4550 (GPU codename RV710XT) comes with an optional 256 MB GDDR2 or optional 512MB GDDR3 and will cost you .. 45 to 55 USD respectively.
AMD ATI Radeon HD 4870 1024MB review Today a test and review on the new AMD ATI Radeon HD 4870 1024MB. Obviously ATI is releasing a 1GB model to compete with the new Core 216 version of that GeForce GTX 260. The 4870 series really diggs that GDDR5 memory bandwidth, and what's the cheapest thing to do to gain some extra performance ? Increase the framebuffer volume. Now that by itself is not going to work miracles, yet in memory limited situations (loads of high quality textures, filtering and AA modes) it will help you here and there. And a little bit of extra bite is all the product needs to get beat that Core 216 card again.
ATI Radeon HD 4670 review We test the ATI Radeon HD 4670. A nice little card that packs some decent punch in the value minded consumers.