Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: September 27th, 2010
Both HIS cards silent cooling solutions work well, with secure simple mounting and nice form factor. The dual height monolithic block of aluminum is simpler than Sapphire's heatpipe design. Sapphire's design also allows for adjacent card placement as it's extra height is carefully position to be away from the next slot below, and not interfere with chipset heatsinks or half-height cards in slots above.
ATI Radeon HD 5500 Roundup
For HTPC use the cards are very promising, with native HDMI 1.3b outputs and integrated 7.1 HD Audio with Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio bitstreaming (true Blu-ray protected audio path) support. The lack of DisplayPort on the HD 5550 is a shame, as you will need an adapter to convert on of the outputs to DisplayPort to use Eyefinity. There have been reports of passive VGA to DisplayPort adapters allowing all three outputs to work in Eyefinity without the need for expensive adapters, but we haven't personally verified this. Eyefinity on this performance level product is for productivity or media enjoyment, rather than 3-panel gaming.
Our 'Pretend Llano' experiment worked out quite well, giving us perhaps a glimpse of the lower range of performance to expect from the new APU's due next year. The possibility of this level performance and feature support in a single product is very exciting. From the Cyberlink MediaEspresso results we can see that application support is going to be the key to AMD's successful APU strategy.
HIS HD 5500 Series
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