Date: July 7th, 2010
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Sapphire
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL & WALKTHROUGH
Let's take a virtual walk around Sapphire's ultimate version of the ATI Radeon HD 5550.
First off we start at this videocard's VPU. Sapphire's use of the 40nm manufactured Redwood core is stock clocked at 550Mhz core, 800Mhz DDR2 memory which is bandwidth capable of 12.8Gb/sec memory transfer. This coupled with the VPU's 320 unified shaders is capable of 8.8GPixels/sec and 17.6 GTexels/s while only drawing 87 watts during maximum load thanks to the lack of power needed to push an onboard fan.
As mentioned previously, this is a massive passive cooler. The 5mm heapipes connect the main GPU/memory cooling block to a secondary attached to the top of the card. Overall, this is a very substantial cooler for this application and it reminds me of the analogy of swatting a fly with a howitzer. It's so good in fact that load temperature values varied only from 37c idle to 44c fully loaded while benchmarking. The essentially means that this cooler is capable of cooling a much more substantial vpu core and memory combination. It's a pity they didn't strap some DDR3 or even DDR5 to this card. This cooler would have easily handled it while keeping noise levels silent.
The back of the card is completely void of any obstruction to interfere with any sort of upper motherboard components and facilitated an easy install. As you can see, this cooling solution was securely held in place with 4 screws and insures that there won't be anyway that this cooler will be separating away from any of the components it is cooling even during rough handling.
Last but not least in this section is the main connection panel. You have three choices which consist of one DVI, one analog VGA and one HDMI video connection. Although I like the selection, I would still consider two DVI ports to be the standard for today's display technology.