Date: July 7th, 2010
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Sapphire
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PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS & FEATURES
40nm Process Technology
Cutting edge manufacturing process allows for efficient, high performance parts which use less power than their predecessors.
ATI Stream Technology
Accelerate the most demanding applications with ATI Stream technology and do more with your PC. ATI Stream Technology allows you to use the teraflops of compute power locked up in your graphics processer on tasks other than traditional graphics such as video encoding, at which the graphics processor is many, many times faster than using the CPU alone.
ATI Avivo HD (DVD/HD-DVD/Blue-ray Playback)
Watch the hottest Blu-ray movies or other HD content at full 1080p display resolution and beyond and enjoy a more feature rich experience with enhanced Unified Video Decoder(UVD)
The latest PCI-Express 2.0 specification doubles data throughput from 2.5Gbps to 5Gbps allowing you to exploit the full performance potential of your graphics card.
Equipped with the most popular Dual Link DVI (Digital Visual Interface), this card is able to display ultra high resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600 at 60Hz.
Turn your PC into a home entertainment centre with HDMI. Simply connect the graphics card to an LCD TV with an HDMI input and you will be able to enjoy watching HD videos with audio in the living room.
Microsoft DirectX® 11
Get intense gaming performance and unrivalled image quality with stunning 3D visual effects, realistic lighting and lifelike imagery with SAPPHIRE graphics cards supporting DirectX®11. New features in DirectX®11 such as Hardware Tesselation, HDR Texture Compression, Multi-threading support and DirectCompute bring lifelike gaming and an experience never possible on a PC before.
OpenGL® 3.1 and 3.2
Supports the latest OpenGL API (Application Programming Interface) to accelerate performance of applications outside of DirectX®, i.e. Adobe Autodesk 2D/3D graphic design.
?OpenGL 3.2 Driver support scheduled for release in 2010
Shader Model 5.0
Supports the latest Shader Model 5.0 feature set including VTF (Vertex Texture Fetch) which is a key feature used extensively in many of the games that ship today. Without support for this feature the game will fall back to a lesser shader path resulting in the loss of cool, lifelike effects made possible by Shader Model 5.0
ATI Catalyst Control Center™
The ATI Catalyst Control Center™ software application gives you complete control over the performance and visual quality of your SAPPHIRE ATI Radeon™ based graphics card allowing for the best experience on your PC.
Accelerated Video Transcoding
Massively parallel architecture and support for common shader transcoding instructions accelerates video encoding / transcoding way beyond what was possible with the CPU only.
(Requires application support for ATI Stream technology and Digital rights management restrictions may apply)
Dolby® TrueHD and DTSHD Master Audio™ Support
Support for copy protected, high bandwidth, 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI. Get a fully immersive, high definition audio experience with the latest Blu-ray movies. (Requires a DVI to HDMI dongle on some models, an HD capable monitor and a Blu-ray drive)
Supports advanced AA (Anti-aliasing) features to maximise your enjoyment of high definition gaming.
Multi-sample anti-aliasing (2, 4 or 8 samples per pixel)
Up to 24x Custom Filter Anti-Aliasing (CFAA) for superior quality
Adaptive super-sampling and multi-sampling
Super AA (ATI CrossFireX™configurations only)
All anti-aliasing features compatible with HDR rendering
Physics processing support
Accelerates the performance of Fluid Dynamics, Cloth Simulation, Soft or Rigid Body Dynamics, Universal Collision Detection, Hair Simulation and Finite Element Analysis for the most lifelike gaming experience.
Dynamically manage power efficiency and take control of your performance with AMD's revolutionary ATI PowerPlay TM power management technology delivering high performance features when needed and conserving power when the demand on the graphics processor is low. This seemless technology dramatically reduces the overall power consumption allowing for break-through energy efficiency.
Windows® 7 support
WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) Certified drivers and logos are available for all SAPPHIRE HD2000, HD3000, HD4000 and HD5000 series cards ensuring compatibility and reliability with Microsoft Windows 7.
So what do you exactly get for US$84-$90 when you purchase Sapphire's Ultimate Edition HD5550 mainstream videocard.
Sapphire supplied the usual driver and manual CD, a basic user's manual. There was no additional hardware included to keep costs down. All types of monitors are compatible thanks to the three different connectors integrated on the card.
First impression of this card is good with overall excellent build quality and of course you are iniitally drawn immediately to the rather large passive cooler. This passive heapipe cooler for anyone that likes computer hardware will be impressive for a mainstream videocard and with the silent computer buzz still raging on like a vuvuzela at the world cup, you might be able to see where this card could be applied.