Sapphire’s latest Pulse Radeon RX 550s pack extra stream processors

Cards using the diminutive Radeon RX 550 GPU are among the only AMD graphics boards available at prices near MSRP right now, thanks to the ever-escalating demand from cryptocurrency miners. Sapphire's latest Pulse Radeon RX 550 2GD5 and Pulse Radeon RX 550 4GD5 cards offer up 128 extra stream processors (SPs) on top of the 512 we've seen in previous Radeon RX 550 cards.

Sapphire didn't provide a ton of detail about the new cards, so we can't say for sure if they're built around the same Polaris 12 silicon as 512-SP Radeon RX 550 cards, or if the pair of 640-SP Pulse cards are using a chainsawed version of the Polaris 21 chip found in the Radeon RX 560. In any case, the GPU gears up to a 1071 MHz boost clock when thermal and power conditions allow. The pair of Pulse cards have 128-bit memory interfaces to their 2 GB or 4 GB pools of 6 GT/s GDDR5 memory. AMD's Radeon RX 550 product page lists reference boost clocks up to 1183 MHz and 7 GT/s memory speeds, so Sapphire's new cards are a bit low on both counts. The extra shaders probably make up for the reduced clocks, though.

Both cards have the same 6.2" length, 4.4" width, and 1.1" thickness (15.8 cm x 11.2 cm x 2.8 cm) and fit what Sapphire calls a 1.5-slot profile. The single PCI bracket has one DVI-D port, an HDMI 2.0 jack, and a DisplayPort 1.4 connector. The single axial fan blows air onto what appears to be a simple cast aluminum heatsink free of heatpipes or any other trickery. Sapphire recommends at least a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot and a 400 W power supply. As a reminder, AMD offers graphics driver updates for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 10, but users of Windows 8 and 8.1 are left out of the fun.

Sapphire didn't provide any pricing or availability information for the Pulse Radeon RX 550 2GD5 or the Pulse Radeon RX 550 4GD5, but we'd imagine they will land just north of the typical $110-135 trading prices of 512-SP Radeon RX 550s. Thanks to TechPowerUp for the tip-off.

Comments closed
    • maxxcool
    • 3 years ago

    Loving he conectors. holy trinity for media box.

    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    No VGA port! I can’t use it with my projector. ๐Ÿ™

      • Magic Hate Ball
      • 3 years ago

      They do make DisplayPort or HDMI to VGA adapters you know.

      There are many cheap ones that work well for the money.

    • Concupiscence
    • 3 years ago

    So it’s a bit faster than a competitive 30W GT 1030, but consumes a little more power at 50W. You could do worse until the mining bubble eventually bursts.

      • green
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]So it's a bit faster than a competitive 30W GT 1030, but consumes a little more power at 50W[/quote<] 66% more is stretching the definition of a [i<]little[/i<] more power methinks in relation to higher end gpu's at 300W then 20W doesn't mean much but within it's own segment i'd say it's a fair bit more power putting that aside, the AMD site lists "typical" board power at 50W there's no clarification if this is is equivalent to their cpu TDP and so not a maximum but more an "average" sapphire on their product page list the card power consumption as "<65W" and while 50W is definitely under 65W, i'm sure sapphire would have put a lower number down if they could (nvidia list the 1030 at 30W. no indication if it's a maximum either) so for an actual card being release we're looking at potentially 100% more power than the competing card that said, based on benchmarks from techspot of the 1030 vs RX550 non-S variant, we should see the RX 550s soundly beating the 1030

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Good for MOBAs but so are integrated graphics on modern CPUs.

    It’s not enough of an upgrade to make it desirable, it’s still terrible value compared to the RX 560 or 1050, and more importantly, The Radeon HD7770 stopped being a viable dGPU a long time ago, and this new RX550 isn’t really anything more than with an 183MHz clock boost.

    As far as I can tell, the only market for these are people who want the drivers (ReLive, Eyefinity, Freesync for movie reasons) and minimal power draw, but don’t want performance. Let’s face it, RX 560 cards are twice as powerful yet they cost [b<]exactly the same amount.[/b<]

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      All those Zen CPUs need some sort of dGPU to be usable, so…

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        If it were cheaper than the RX560 I’d agree with you, but you either want graphics performance or you don’t.

        Those that want performance will pick up the RX560 for exactly the same price
        Those who don’t will grab a $25 GPU with the output ports they want.

      • cmrcmk
      • 3 years ago

      I’ve bought this category of card a few years ago as an upgrade over Intel IGPs just to ensure PowerPoint and Flash-laden websites performed well for our customer presentations. That was to upgrade Core 2 chipset IGPs which were pathetic. Not sure how useful such an upgrade would be today.

        • Concupiscence
        • 3 years ago

        Support for VP9 and H.265 help multimedia-centric purposes a lot… I know pre-Skylake Intel IGPs are pretty much out in the cold there. Flash is on its way out, but the RX 550 (and Nvidia’s GT 1030) both do fine for extending the useful life of Haswell/Broadwell kit. If you’re YouTube surfing on an older system or want to turn one into a home theater PC, or revitalizing it for flexible usage, it’d be an easy step to take. I can barely imagine the difference it’d make versus an onboard Core 2 video chip.

      • mczak
      • 3 years ago

      I used to think the same thing about the GT 1030 – the MSRP is pretty close to the GTX 1050.
      However, the actual price is way higher at the moment for a GTX 1050, so the GT 1030 suddenly offers quite some value.
      And the same thing is true for RX 550 vs RX 560 – the MSRP isn’t all that different, but the RX 550 is in fact significantly cheaper.
      And in any case, it’s still a decent upgrade compared to HD 520/620/630 – two to three times as fast (that’s basically true both for the GT 1030 and RX 550). Sure the 1050 and RX 560 would be again 1.5-2 times faster but it’s a start.
      You also get the ability of 4k60 display over hdmi, which intel’s igp still can’t do (intel can do 4k60 over Displayport since Haswell, but almost no boards have DP ports), so those entry-level cards are great options if you want to upgrade your monitor.
      And, if you have an older (than Skylake) cpu, you also get much more robust video acceleration support (and of course the 3d performance difference gets larger too).
      In short, I think there’s plenty of reasons why a GT 1030 or RX 550 might make sense (I have a lot more problems figuring out why you’d want some of the older cards still floating around, like radeon GT 730 or the crappy GT 710 or R5 230 stuff). Should the price of RX 550 approach that of the RX 560 (and similar GT 1030 vs 1050) then of course they aren’t great options (albeit as mentioned you might want these cards for reasons other than their 3d performance), but today that’s simply not the case.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]And the same thing is true for RX 550 vs RX 560 - the MSRP isn't all that different, but the RX 550 is in fact significantly cheaper.[/quote<] If there was a price difference between them, my original post would have no basis but I looked at the three cheapest RX 550 and RX 560 prices and they're incredibly similar, The median RX 550 price appears to be $130-140, whilst RX 560s are going for $140-150. Maybe I'm wrong and the pricing variations are regional, but both cards are selling for $120-$180 depending on features/ports/VRAM/size, regardless of whether it's the RX550 or its bigger brother.

          • mczak
          • 3 years ago

          I was basing this on european pricing, where it more seems to be ~100 Euro vs. ~130 Euro for the cheapest RX 550 and RX 560 respectively. That is a substantial difference (albeit still smaller than the performance difference).
          Not to mention, those cheap RX 560 aren’t typically widely available – only the more expensive ones have good availability… Meanwhile, the RX 550 seems to have no such problems.

            • Chrispy_
            • 3 years ago

            Hmm yeah, for Europe I guess that holds true because the energy costs are higher and makes GPU mining [i<]very slightly[/i<] less attractive. Honestly, pricing is ridiculous at the moment. There's no point in us saying that it's $x or โ‚ฌy because in a couple of weeks it could easily be significantly different.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    These cards will deliver great graphics at an affordable price.

    [b<]TOO BAD THEY SUCK AT MINING. JUST SO EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT*[/b<] * Go ahead and downthumb, but you'll thank me later AMD fanboys.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 3 years ago

      Mining fan boi gives you a thumb up

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      Not so sure:
      At current prices, it may be the highest SP count per $ you can buy
      Mining is all about efficiency. If 2 smaller GPUs consume less combined power but add up to the same hashrate as a larger GPU, then…

        • Takeshi7
        • 3 years ago

        Ether mining is all about memory bandwidth/latency, not SP count. Maybe some other altcoins that would matter more.

        Also just so everyone knows, the RAM shortage is why GPUs are so expensive, not miners.
        “Su specified that the company has plenty of silicon supply from its foundry partners, meaning GPUs aren’t the limiting factor–instead, it’s the ongoing GDDR5 and HBM shortages that are primarily to blame.”
        [url<]http://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-stock-financials-earnings-cpu,36430.html[/url<] Blame Apple and phone makers for GPU/ram prices. not miners.

          • Longsdivision
          • 3 years ago

          I’m an equal opportunity hater. I will blame anyone that stops me from putting together a new build….my new system which I’ve been saving up for is now postpone till 2020. Going to blame everyone till then. Thx.

          • MathMan
          • 3 years ago

          > Also just so everyone knows, the RAM shortage is why GPUs are so expensive, not miners.

          Iโ€™m impressed by your ability to reduce a problem with multiple variables to just one dimension!

          The RAM shortage has impacts on the supply side of the equation, but mining most definitely does so on the demand side.

          Furthermore, miners can justify high buying at almost any cost, since even at those prices they expect a positive ROI. If there were only gamers on the demand side, itโ€™s much more likely that demand would simply evaporate at higher price points.

          IOW: mining most definitely are a very good explanation for current prices, irrespective of RAM shortage.

        • dragontamer5788
        • 3 years ago

        The 2GB model will have a Ethash rate of 0, because [url=https://investoon.com/tools/dag_size<]Ether's DAG is now 2.3GB in size[/url<]. 4GB model might have a use, if OpenCL+Linux will work on it. See my other post: there are worries that the Rx 550 won't work in Linux.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 3 years ago

      I dunno if you’re meme-ing or not. But seriously, if you plan on using OpenCL or GPGPU compute with this card… don’t.

      [url<]https://community.amd.com/thread/221002[/url<] [quote<]As I've been informed, OpenCL is not supported on Lexa cards (e.g. RX 550) with the latest AMDGPU PRO. Already concerned team is in process to update the release note accordingly. Also, there is no ETA at this moment for adding the support.[/quote<] So yeah, you can't mine with this card, but that's because OpenCL / Linux support is busted. EDIT: Oh snap. The RX 550 is that weird one that has two different chips, isn't it? So RX-550 "Lexa" isn't supported, but RX 550 (Polaris 21) might be supported. Oh well, things are about to get very confusing...

        • neblogai
        • 3 years ago

        No- it was RX560 (Polaris 11 and 21) that had two versions of it. Now RX550 (Polaris 12) will have two versions under the same name too:(

    • Waco
    • 3 years ago

    I really wish they (all manufacturers) would pick a naming scheme and stick with it.

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      Damn straight. You know exactly where you are with a Voodoo 1995213.

        • Concupiscence
        • 3 years ago

        It really [i<]was[/i<] just as much of an alphabet soup in the '90s, especially when unsold inventory hung around on store shelves for years after manufacture to confuse people. For 3Dfx alone, there was the Voodoo Graphics board, the Rush (in single and dual planar modes, which each required different drivers), the Voodoo2, the Voodoo Banshee, the Voodoo3 (2000, 3000, and 3500), the Voodoo4, and the Voodoo5, and the Velocity 100 and 200 series of OEM cards. Which S3 Virge were you unlucky enough to own? The Virge, the Virge/VX, Virge/DX, Virge/GX, Virge/GX2, or Trio3D? Which ATi card did you have, the Rage, Rage II, Rage Pro, the Rage 128, the Rage 128 Pro, or the Rage Fury Maxx? And how about Nvidia's TNT2 Vanta LT, TNT2 Vanta, TNT2 M64, TNT2, TNT2 Pro, and TNT2 Ultra? It's always been a gross mess.

          • Waco
          • 3 years ago

          “It’s always been this way” hasn’t really ever been a good excuse. ๐Ÿ™‚

          It’s better than the late 90s / early 00s, but that’s not saying a whole lot. AIBs (and OEMs) still release cards with the “same chip” that are sometimes 20-30% different in performance.

            • Concupiscence
            • 3 years ago

            For sure. I didn’t mean to imply it was a good thing, it’s just been a problem for a very long time. It shouldn’t be this hard for people to find the hardware they want at their price point.

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