Sapphire Radeon HD 4550 512MB
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 24 October 2008. Page 7 of 7. Add A Comment


The ATI Radeon HD 4550 was slower than both the Radeon HD 3650 and HD 4670 in all tests except for the 2D GtkPerf Pixbufs benchmark, but it wasn't that bad of a performer considering this card goes for about $50 USD. The Radeon HD 4550 graphics card with the Catalyst 8.9 driver was able to sustain playable frame-rates (40+ FPS) within Nexuiz when running without HDR at 2560 x 1600. This RV710 graphics card was even able to play Quake 4 at this high resolution with high quality settings at over 30 frames per second. This graphics card had, however, suffered when running Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and the Unigine engine tests. When overclocking this graphics card to the maximum OverDrive frequencies there was a slight boost in some of the test results.

The Radeon HD 4550 should be avoided if you're interested in playing the latest and greatest OpenGL games on Linux, but if the graphics card will be primarily be used for desktop tasks (with or without Compiz), light gaming with open-source titles such as those based on the Quake 3 engine, or are looking for a graphics card for a media box, the HD 4550 is a possible contender. There is UVD2 and XvMC support coming in the Catalyst driver for Linux and it is in fact enabled by default in Catalyst 8.10, but it's not yet usable. Expect the ATI Linux video support to be improved in the coming driver releases.

The Sapphire Radeon HD 4550 512MB can also be considered if you are just after a low-end graphics card for use with an open-source X.Org driver. As we shared earlier this week, the Radeon HD 4550 isn't yet open-source friendly due to some mode-setting issues with AtomBIOS when using digital connectors. This issue should be worked out shortly and AMD is continuing to work on releasing the R600/700 3D documentation so that there will be open-source 2D, 3D, and video acceleration for this graphics card included.

Overall, for a low-end card the Radeon HD 4550 is a reputable performer that is derived from the RV770 architecture. The Sapphire Radeon HD 4550 sample had no issues with cooling and its petite fan was near silent while running.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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