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Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

GIGABYTE GeForce GT 1030

Gigabyte Geforce Radeon RX 550

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050

ZOTAC Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 Video Card Review

The Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 is based on the Lexa chip, which is a new version of the chip used in the Radeon RX 460, with fewer cores, but a higher clock rate. As its predecessor, it's manufactured under 14 nm technology.


Firstly, the standard clock for the Radeon RX 550 is 1,100 MHz, with a turbo clock of 1,183 MHz. However, the tested video card, model "GV-RX550GAMING OC-2G" from Gigabyte, uses a 1,206 MHz base clock and a 1,219 MHz turbo clock, which means an overclocking of 3%.


The Radeon RX 550 has 2 GiB of GDDR5 memory (there are also 4 GiB models), running at 7 GHz with a 128-bit bus. Thus, it has a bandwidth of 112 GiB/s.

It is important to notice that the Radeon RX 550 GPU uses a PCI Express 3.0 x8 connection, and not x16. However, this does not cause a performance decrease.


Being an entry video card, the Radeon RX 550 is aimed at less demanding games, like "E-sports", "free-to-play", MOBA titles, and casual gaming. It is not targeted at gamers that want to play "AAA games" with high resolution and/or high image quality.


The competitor of the Radeon RX 550 is the GeForce GT 1030 from NVIDIA. 


So, in this review, we compare those two video cards. We also look at a GeForce GTX 1050, which is a higher-priced video card, as well as the results with the Intel HD630 integrated video, present on the used CPU.


The Radeon RX 550 supports DirectX 12, Vulkan, and hardware H.265 video decoding and encoding, being also compatible with FreeSync (to synchronize framerate on compatible displays), Additionally, Eyefinity (multiple display support), and XConnect (video card on an external case) technologies.

Pros

Cons

  • A great inexpensive, but not to be confused with cheap
  • Radeon has software issues with the game developers.

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

Figure 1 shows the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 video card.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

Figure 1: The Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 (GV-RX550GAMING OC-2GD)

In the table below, we compare the main specs from the video engines we included in this review.

Video card
Core
Clock
Turbo Clock
Memory clock
Memory bus
Memory bandwidth
Memory
Processing cores
TDP
DirectX
Price

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 

1,206 MHz

1,219 MHz

7.0 GHz

3.6 GHz

128 bit

112 GB/s

512

50 W

12

USD 80

Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 

1,227 MHz

1,468 MHz

6.0 GHz

64 bit

48 GB/s

2 GiB GDDR5

384

30 W

12.1

USD 70

Zotac GeForce

GTX 1050 Mini

1,354 MHz

1,455 MHz

7.0 GHz

128 bit

112 GB/s

2 GiB GDDR5

640

75 W

12.1

USD 100

Intel HD Graphics 630

300 MHz

1,150* MHz

-

-

-

-

24

-

12.1

-

* Depends on the CPU model.

** Depends on the memory installed.

Now let's take a closer look at the tested video card.

The Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 is 7.5 inches (190 mm) long and uses two slots. It has two 80 mm fans.

In Figure 2, you see the video connectors of the Radeon RX 550. It brings a DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0b, and DVI-D connectors.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

Video connectors

On Figure 3, you see the top of the card. Notice that there is no auxiliary power connector.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

Top view

Figure 4 shows the soldered side of the Radeon RX 550. There are no memory chips on this side.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

Soldered side

Figure 5 unveils the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 with the cooler removed. It is a simple aluminum cooler, that keeps contact only with the GPU chip. The card has four memory chips

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

The Radeon RX 550 with the cooler removed

In Figure 6 you see the Lexa chip, manufactured under 14 technology.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

The Lexa chip

Figure 7 shows one of the memory chips present on the Radeon RX 550. It is an Elpida/Micron W4032BABG-70-F chip, with 4 Gib (512 MiB) capacity and 3.5 GHz nominal maximum clock.

 Memory chip

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. The only variable component was the video card being tested.

We ran all games in Full HD resolution.

Hardware Configuration
Operating System Configuration
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Driver Versions
  • AMD driver version: 17.7.1
  • NVIDIA driver version: 382.53
  • Intel driver version: 15.45
Software Used
Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

3DMark is a program with a set of several 3D benchmarks. Fire Strike benchmark measures DirectX 11 performance and is targeted to high-end gaming computers, while Sky Diver also measures DirectX 11 performance, being aimed at average computers. The Cloud Gate benchmark measures DirectX 10 performance.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

On Fire Strike, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 16% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 39% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

On the Sky Diver benchmark, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 14% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 32% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

On Cloud Gate, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 16% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 22% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 is one of the most popular games of the Battlefield franchise, being released in 2013. It's based on the Frostbite 3 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure performance using this game, we walked our way through the first mission, measuring the number of frames per second (fps) three times using FRAPS. We ran this game at Full HD, setting overall image quality at “high.”

The results below are expressed in fps and they are the mean between the three collected results.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

On Battlefield 4, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 14% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 42% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (A.K.A. CS: GO) is a very popular FPS game, launched in August 2012, using Source Engine, that is DirectX 9. We tested the performance playing on "Inferno" map against bots, in Full HD, with the quality set as "high".

The results below are expressed in fps.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

In this game, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 13% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 41% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Dirt Rally

Dirt Rally is an off-road racing game released in April 2015, using Ego engine. To measure performance using this game, we ran the performance test included in the game, in Full HD resolution and image quality configured as “medium” and MSAA off.

The results below are expressed in fps.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

In this game, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 23% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 41% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V, or simply GTA V, is an open-world action game released for PCs in April of 2015 that uses the RAGE engine. In order to measure the performance on this game, we ran the performance test of the game (the plane portion), measuring the frame rate with FRAPS. We ran GTA V at Full HD, with image quality set as “normal” and MSAA off.

The results below are expressed in frames per second.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

In GTA V, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 29% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 23% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Hitman

Hitman is an action/stealth game, launched in March 2016, that uses a DirectX 12 compatible version of the Glacier 2 engine. To measure performance in this game, we ran the benchmark in it, measuring the framerate with FRAPS. We ran this game in Full HD, with DirectX 12 enabled, with image quality set as “medium”, and SMAA off.

The results below are expressed in fps.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

In this game, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 54% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 35% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Mad Max

Mad Max is an open-world action game launched in September of 2015, using the Avalanche engine. In order to measure the performance using this game, we ran its intro, measuring the framerate with FRAPS three times. We ran the game at Full HD, with image quality set as “normal”.

The results below are expressed in fps and they are the mean between the three collected results.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

On Mad Max, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 11% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 42% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Overwatch

Overwatch is a multiplayer FPS game launched in May 2016, using a custom engine. In order to measure the performance using this game, we played a quick match, measuring the framerate with FRAPS three times. We ran the game at Full HD, with image quality set as “high”.

The results below are expressed in fps.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

In Overwatch, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 30% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and performed similarly to the GeForce GTX 1050.

Rainbow Six Siege

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is a tactical FPS game launched in December of 2015, based on AnvilNext engine. In order to measure the performance using this game, we ran the benchmark included on it, using Full HD resolution and graphics quality set to “medium”.

The results below are expressed in frames per second.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

On this game, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 was 28% faster than the GeForce GT 1030, and 32% slower than the GeForce GTX 1050.

Verdict

Our first conclusion is that the Radeon RX 550 is a good video card for its purpose, E-sports gaming, which usually doesn't need powerful hardware. Additionally, it can also provide a reasonable experience (30 fps or more) in AAA games, on Full HD resolution, if you don't set the graphics quality to the maximum.

In fact,  it doesn't need a "strong" power supply and doesn't even use a power connector is an advantage, Simply put it on a computer and you can run games that won't run on the integrated video you had before.

Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 GV-N1030D5-2GL Low Profile 2G Computer...
  • Core Clock (MHertz): 1506 in OC Mode and 1468 in Gaming Mode
  • Low profile design with 150 mm card length; Power requirement: 300W
  • Integrated with 2GB GDDR5 64bit memory
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050, 2GB GDDR5 DisplayPort, HDMI, Dual-Link DVI-D,...
  • Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050. Form Factor: Plug in Card
  • Video Memory: 2GB GDDR5. Memory Interface: 128 bit
  • Connectors: DVI Dual Link, HDMI, DisplayPort
A second conclusion is that comparing the Radeon RX 550 to its competitor.

The GeForce GT 1030, the RX 550 is consistently faster. As they have close prices, it is the best option. On the other hand, it is slower than the GeForce GTX 1050 in all tests, which was expected because the video cards belong to different price categories.

Therefore, if you need an inexpensive video card for casual gaming, E-sports, MOBA or free-to-play games, the Radeon RX 550 is a good option. But if you want better performance for more recent games, it's better to spend a little more and buy a superior video card.