For testing power consumption, we took our test system and plugged it into a Seasonic Power Angel. For idle numbers, we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 15 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers, we measured the peak wattage used by the system while running a pair of games at 1280×1024 with the graphics quality settings used in the previous benchmarks.
Power Consumption Results: As expected the ATI Radeon HD 4550 the most power efficient of the bunch with the idle power consumption of the entire system at just 130W. The power consumption while gaming was also quite low compared to the other cards, but remember this card is said to only pull 20-25W.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions:
The ATI Radeon HD 4550 graphics card is aimed at the entry level graphics card market, which means those wanting to spend less than $50 or less on a graphics card. For that price range the Radeon HD 4550 faces tough competition as for roughly the past week the GeForce 9600 GSO could be had for $36 after a coupon and rebate over at Newegg. The NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GSO killed the ATI Radeon HD 4550 in the games, so for those looking for the best price versus performance card that is hard to ignore. The GeForce 9500 GT is another card that was ahead in nearly all of the benchmarks and it can be found for $43 after rebate. With both the GeForce 9500 GT and GeForce 9600 GSO in the $36-$50 price range the Radeon HD 4550 has a tough road ahead if it wants to move off store shelves.
The strong points of the Radeon HD 4550 are the obvious ones. It’s a passive card and that means it has no moving parts to break and produces no noise. Secondly it consumes far less power than the GeForce 9500 GT and GeForce 9600 GSO. The fact that it is silent and consumes little power means that it should be ideal for Home Theatre PCs, which is something I will be looking at in an upcoming article.
Legit Bottom Line: The AMD Radeon HD 4550 has a great feature set, but NVIDIA already has faster performing cards that cost less on the market already with the likes of the GeForce 9500 GT and GeForce 9600 GSO.