SAPPHIRE Technology has just added a new silent cooled model to its extensive range of ATI-based graphics cards. The award winning ULTIMATE Series is SAPPHIRE Technology’s Silent Cooled product line. The SAPPHIRE HD 5550 ULTIMATE is a new graphics card aimed at the mainstream market, whist sharing many of the exciting features of the latest high end series. The SAPPHIRE HD 5500 series is based on the latest graphics architecture from the ATI division of AMD, built in its 40nm process. It supports the advanced graphical features of Microsoft DirectX 11, and delivers superb video clarity and visual effects, whilst consuming very low power levels. The SAPPHIRE HD 5550 ULTIMATE is equipped with 1GB of DDR2 memory, with clock speeds of 550MHz core and 800MHz effective for the memory. It has 320 Stream processors and supports Microsoft DirectX 11 as well as accelerating applications compatible with ATI Stream. The PCB is a SAPPHIRE original design and the whole graphics system is cooled by a heatpipe based wrap-over heatsink. It has no fan, so is totally silent in operation and maintenance free. This model has the output configuration of DVI, HDMI and VGA, the most flexible combination of monitor outputs and allowing the use of HDMI enabled monitors or digital TVs to be directly driven with both video and sound signals over a single HDMI cable. As the core technology is low power, no external power connection is required, making this series ideal for system upgrades or mainstream PCs that do not have high end power supplies. Native CrossFire support allows two or more cards to be used together for additional performance on a suitable CrossFireX compatible mainboard. On the HD 5500 series, CrossFireX is supported in software by the driver, and no additional interconnect is required. The SAPPHIRE HD 5500 series is fully compatible with current DirectX10.1, DirectX 10 and DirectX 9.0 games and applications, but will show stunning new levels of detail, transparency and lighting effects in newer releases of software using DirectX 11. All of this comes with very low active power consumption as well as Dynamic Power Management delivering super low-power operation (10W) in 2D or idle. Ideal for media applications, the SAPPHIRE HD 5550 has an on board hardware UVD (Unified Video decoder) considerably reducing CPU load and delivering smooth decoding of Blu-ray™ and HD DVD content for both VC-1 and H.264 codecs, as well as Mpeg files. In all of the SAPPHIRE HD 5000 series the UVD has been enhanced to be able simultaneously to decode two 1080p HD video streams and to be able to display HD video in high quality with Windows Aero mode enabled. HDMI capability has also been upgraded to HDMI 1.3a with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio support. The HD 5500 series products support the latest features demanded by Microsoft DirectX 11, including DirectCompute 11 instructions, hardware Tessellation and multi-threaded communications with the system CPU. These combine to provide new capabilities for the interaction between transparent objects, new lighting and accelerated post processing effects as well as physics calculations and accelerated video transcoding. They also support ATI Stream, accelerating supported applications such as video transcoding and rendering tasks by executing instructions on the GPU architecture rather than the system CPU. The SAPPHIRE HD 5500 series is supported by AMD's DirectX 11 WHQL certified graphics driver which delivers support for all of the key DirectX 11 level features required for new gaming experiences and acceleration of next generation high performance applications.