updated 12:35 pm EDT, Thu September 11, 2008
AMD Radeon HD 4550 Leak
AMD is designing a new graphics chipset that will not only occupy one of its least expensive price rungs but require very little heat and noise, a leaked presentation obtained by Expreview shows. The Radeon HD 4550 would sit below the new 4600 series in performance by cutting the number of visual shader processors down from 320 to 80 on a 64-bit memory bus but would also drop in size and consequently in power; at less than half as many transistors in the chip, a 4550 would consume under 25 watts of power versus 50 for the 4650.
The change would also let card makers produce either a smaller or quieter board depending on the model. A card with 256MB of memory will require a small fan but take up just over half the width of a normal card; a 512MB version will occupy normal width but rely entirely on a heatsink to passively cool the chipset and render the card entirely silent.
Every version would run at a 600MHz main core speed and with 800MHz actual (1.6GHz effective) video memory and at least one DVI jack. The 512MB card would afford extra room for DisplayPort and HDMI outputs, while the 256MB edition would fit smaller, analog S-video and VGA connectors.
If accurate, the presentation would indicate a quick release with boards reaching online stores before the end of the month. Pricing would also be extremely low at as little as $39 for a 256MB card and climbing up to $59 for the most expensive 512MB models. The prices should also enable budget desktops as well as all-in-ones or other very compact systems that can still use discrete graphics.