AMD Radeon RX 550 2GB Review

Battlefield 1 (DX12)

Even using Battlefield 1’s Low quality preset, there’s no real way to get Intel’s HD Graphics 530 playable at 1920x1080. At an average of 15 frames per second, it’s hard enough getting through a pre-determined path for benchmarking.

But AMD’s Radeon RX 550 keeps you above 50 FPS, averaging more than 60 FPS. There are occasional frame time spikes to contend with. Those affect all of the discrete GPUs we’re testing, though.

Back in 2013, the Radeon R7 260X sold for $140. Its 28nm Bonaire GPU sports 896 Stream processors and 56 texture units at 1100 MHz. That advantage in front-end resources translates to a 16%-higher frame rate than RX 550. Remember, though, that R7 260X is a 115W card. Its TDP is 130% higher than RX 550’s. In other words, Radeon RX 550 serves up better performance per watt and better performance per dollar than its R7 260X/360 predecessor.

Radeon RX 460 is a full 43% faster than RX 550, and RX 560 should be quicker still. If you find yourself desiring higher frame rates than what RX 550 is capable of, but don’t necessarily have the budget for AMD’s max-quality 1080p card, the RX 570, Radeon RX 460s still start for less than $100 and remain a solid alternative.

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  • dstarr3
    Wow, can't even hit 60fps in Doom. Talk about a sheep in wolf's clothing. This is barely a step above those $30 GPUs that you buy strictly because you don't have onboard graphics.
  • TechyInAZ
    1612573 said:
    Wow, can't even hit 60fps in Doom. Talk about a sheep in wolf's clothing. This is barely a step above those $30 GPUs that you buy strictly because you don't have onboard graphics.


    This is an 85$ GPU, competing with more the likes of a GT 740. So don't expect good details at such a low price point. $30 GPUs are worse than IGPUs BTW.

    However, you can still find GTX 750s and 750 tis used for the price of a 550 and it performs much better.
  • LucoTF
    I think if it comes down $10-$20 it will be a contender, it does solidly outperform AMD APUs and hopefully will help to keep our more budget orientated gamers away from the A8s and A10s...
  • jaber2
    How is this even "Gaming"?
  • MCMunroe
    I don't understand why these are all full height double width cards. Wouldn't the only purpose be to install in a small form factor case?
  • TallestJon96
    They should be selling the old 460 as the 550, for $80, and then sold this gpu as the 540 for $50-$60.

    Its hard to buy a card that you know can't keep up with the consoles. What happens when a big game comes out and you don't have the horse power to actually play it? The 460 and 560 can keep up, but the 550 might he left behind.

    Save your pennies for another couple weeks and buy something better, its worth the wait
  • Glock24
    Very dissapointing for the price. At $50 might make more sense. Then again, I would only use this for a system without IGP for video acceleration.

    On a side note, images finally load correctly using Firefox on Android.
  • Joe Black
    Face it... Its a 720p card. Just like something like the a10-7890K using integrated graphics is good for 720p gaming too.

    That's the value proposition that should be explored. the A10 w. integrated, or the 550 discreet.
  • InvalidError
    1858445 said:
    They should be selling the old 460 as the 550, for $80, and then sold this gpu as the 540 for $50-$60.

    There is a very simple reason nobody makes new GPUs for under $80: there is next to no profit to be made from them.

    Keep in mind that out of that $80 MSRP, there is a ~60% distributor and retailer markup on the manufacturer's own price, so the manufacturer itself only sees ~$50 of it to cover DRAM, GPU chip, PCB, support components, HSF, assembly, testing, packaging, R&D, marketing, gross profit margin, etc. In other words, manufacturers barely break even on those and don't want you to buy them unless your choice boils down to either that or nothing. They'd much prefer that you buy the RX560 for $20-30 more which translates to $10-20 more gross profit for the manufacturer.

    Who are you going to get an alternative sub-$100 GPU from? Nvidia has bailed out of that market altogether to focus on $150+ (launch-time MSRP) GPUs.
  • ohim
    The card is for E-Sports gaming and instead of starting with CS/DOTA etc you start with Doom and BF1.. games for which the card is not intended :)
  • dstarr3
    Amazon's got a couple 1050s listed at $105 right now. For an extra $20, well worth it.
  • cangelini
    216536 said:
    The card is for E-Sports gaming and instead of starting with CS/DOTA etc you start with Doom and BF1.. games for which the card is not intended :)


    So you're saying you're not a fan of alphabetical order? :)
  • elbert
    The 550 looks good as an entry level GPU able to run most games at decent FPS.
  • spdragoo
    1612573 said:
    Wow, can't even hit 60fps in Doom. Talk about a sheep in wolf's clothing. This is barely a step above those $30 GPUs that you buy strictly because you don't have onboard graphics.


    Not true at all.

    http://www.techspot.com/review/1173-doom-benchmarks/page2.html

    At 1080p, a GTX 750Ti paired with an i7-6700K gets trounced by the RX 550 paired with an i3-6320. Had they paired the RX 550 with an i7, it probably would have gained another 10% in performance (http://www.techspot.com/review/1173-doom-benchmarks/page5.html)...which, with the Vulkan updates, would put it more on par with the GTX 1050 (http://www.techspot.com/review/1269-nvidia-geforce-gtx-1050/page2.html), or at least between the 1050 & the 950 (both of which also blow the 750Ti out of the water).
  • Cryio
    It will be interesting to see the 560 compared to the 550, given the 550 is literally half the 560. Personally, I'm surprised the 550 holds as well as it does.
  • Cryio
    On the other hand, a 260X/360 is basically PS4 visuals and better than X1 visuals most of the time. So I'm not that surprised.
  • spdragoo
    663674 said:
    How is this even "Gaming"?


    Because the actual percentage of "gamers" that are playing on triple 4K monitors with dual GTX 1080Tis, running on nitrogen cooling, & using the Insane quality settings, is extremely small?

    Even with more 1440p & 4K monitors coming out, & even with the expansion of 144Hz/1440p monitors, the majority of users (especially on services like Steam) are still playing at 1080p or lower resolutions.

    Basically, what this shows is that it's the perfect card for 720p gaming...but if you're still using a 1080p or sub-1080p 60Hz monitor, these tests show that you can still expect decent results on more demanding games if you're willing to turn down the detail settings. As they pointed out in the review, that makes this perfect for a "casual" (i.e. eSports) gamer, or someone looking for a cheap/low-power/cool-running dedicated GPU for an HTPC
  • Kirfkin
    >Wow, can't even hit 60fps in Doom. Talk about a sheep in wolf's clothing. This is barely a step above those $30 GPUs that you buy strictly because you don't have onboard graphics.

    Might do it at a slightly lower resolution or setting render scale lower. I can get surprisingly close on an old GCN APU.
  • Jarrod_7
    I usually add about 5fps more to all radeons on Tomshardware reviews, and it ends up being more accurate.
  • Fl0ki
    will it work on older motherboards from 2006 that have legacy bios & pci 1.0 / 1.1?
  • TripleHeinz
    Looks like a good programming card in AMD flavor.
  • Onus
    I didn't like this review, as it offered no comparisons to nVidias nearest offerings. Although I like that it uses little power, more needs to be made of the deceit of its clock-rate claims. At the bottom edge of the gaming market, I'd look for a GTX1050 over this one. Also, are there situations for which this card is otherwise suited, where it is hurt by 2GB of RAM, or is that sufficient in all relevant cases?
  • alextheblue
    1612573 said:
    Amazon's got a couple 1050s listed at $105 right now. For an extra $20, well worth it.

    Well it starts at $80, so that's $25. Anyway they should drop starting price to $70, but either way this has some use for things like HTPC... they should release LP versions though. Power draw is also lower, so if you've got a shoddy non-standard OEM unit, the less power the better. Otherwise yes, get a 1050 or 460 ($90). If we were talking about serious gaming cards instead of low-power cards, then I'd say power use is substantially less important