Power Consumption, Noise, Temperature
The Radeon HD 4550 claims to require no more than 20 watts of power and to have an appropriate level of heat dissipation. We checked this out on a special testbed configured like follows:
- AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 CPU (2.6GHz)
- EPoX EP9-NPA+ SLI mainboard (Nvidia nForce4 SLI)
- PC3200 SDRAM (2x512MB, 200MHz)
- Western Digital Raptor WD360ADFD HDD (36GB, SATA-150, 16MB buffer)
- Chieftec ATX-410-212 PSU (410W)
- Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
- Futuremark PCMark05 Build 1.2.0
- Futuremark 3DMark06 Build 1.1.0
The 3D load was created by means of the first SM3.0/HDR test from 3DMark06 running in a loop at 1600x1200 with 4x FSAA and 16x AF. The Peak 2D mode was emulated by means of the 2D Transparent Windows test from PCMark05. This test is important as it simulates the user’s working with application windows whereas Windows Vista’s Aero interface uses 3D features. We got the following results:
The results surpass our best expectations. The Radeon HD 4550 consumed less than 20 watts even under load. In idle mode it is the most economical graphics card we have ever tested in our labs, including the GeForce 7300 GS (8.7W under the same conditions).
The GPU temperature varied from 56°C in idle mode to 78°C under load. The GPU and memory clock rates are reduced to 110 and 300 (600) MHz in 2D mode. The temperature is not low because of the modest cooling system.
The full-size version of the card is absolutely silent as it uses a passive heatsink, but the low-profile version is very quiet, too. You can’t hear its sound in a working system case. Our measurements revealed no difference: the level of noise was 43dBA in both cases, the same as at distance of 1 meter from the working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside.
Thus, the Radeon HD 4550 boasts superb electrical, thermal and noise characteristics. Let’s now check out its capabilities in games and at decoding and playing HD video.