Archive: Graphics Card Reviews 2007 - 2011

REVIEW / Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1 GB

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Régis Jehl Published on May 6, 2011
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Chip GF116
  • GPU frequency 900 MHz
  • Memory quantity 1 GB
  • Memory type GDDR5
  • Memory frequency 1026 MHz
  • Cooler Double decker
The GeForce GTX 550 Ti is a mid-range second-generation Fermi card, but can it live up to cards higher up in the range? At £120 it has a lot to prove and it's faced with stiff competition at this price level.

Size, Noise and Heat

The compact GeForce GTX 550 Ti reference card isn't very noisy, whether at idle or hard at work running 3D games.

Power Consumption

In any case, power consumption is more or less equivalent to the next model up, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, drawing 90 watts at idle and 330 watts in 3D load. This is a bit disappointing, especially as the Radeon HD 6850 does a good deal better in load, drawing just 293 watts.

Note: these values are for the test computer as a whole and not the graphics card alone.

Gaming Performance

The GTX 550 disappointed us in video games, where the level of performance doesn't stand up to that of its direct competitor, the Radeon HD 6850 (9% advantage to the Radeon). On a high (1920 x 1200 pixels) or medium (1680 x 1050 pixels) definition screen, things are pretty much the same, with an average performance lower than the older generation GeForce GTX 460.

Tt gtx 550
Average performance.
Click on the image to see all our readings
and compare this model with other graphics cards.

This is especially problematic as at this level of performance as the standard arguments in favour of NVIDIA cards no longer stand up. Activating options such as  3D Vision and PhysX on this model will require you to lower the graphics detail pretty drastically.

NVIDIA has failed to impress us with this model, which is too far behind the excellent GeForce GTX 560 Ti. We really don't see what this model can offer compared with the AMD Radeon HD 6850. NVIDIA will have to price the card very aggressively if it's to attract many customers.

Graphics Cards: Performance Index Tables

The card at a glance
We tested the Zotac GeForce GTX 550 Ti AMP! Edition as well as a PNY GTX 550. These are short-format cards (18 cm) with power supplied by a PCI-Express connection. They have DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs.

The Zotac has higher clock speeds than standard cards with a 1000 MHz chip, 1100 MHz GDDR5 memory and 2000 MHz shaders. This will help push up the framerate a bit in games compared with standard cards.

For our tests we obviously clocked it back down to the standard clocks: 900 MHz for the graphics chip, 1026 MHz for the memory and 1800 MHz for the shaders.

The cooling system proved particularly effective. The fan doesn't make too much noise and keeps the chip temperature within decent limits (under 95°C).

PROS

  • Quiet heatsink (Zotac and PNY)
  • DirectX 11 compatibility
  • Accelerated processing for CUDA compatible applications

CONS

  • Disappointing 3D performance
  • High power consumption in 3D

CONCLUSION 2/5

This is clearly not the best card in the NVIDIA range. We prefer models from the previous generation or those higher up in the current range. At this price level, you'd be better off look to the competition.
2 Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1 GB DigitalVersus 2011-05-06 00:00:00
Compare: Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1 GB to its competitors
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