NVIDIA's GeForce 500 Juggernaut is sinking deep into the market's key business area, the mainstream, where most money is made, with the GeForce GTX 550 Ti, reviewed today. The GeForce GTX 560 Ti launched last month rattled the "gamer's sweet spot" ($200~$250) price-range, and it's now up to the GTX 550 Ti to capture the sub-$200 market as the best option available. A huge task, in a market almost saturated with options. The $5 you paid to the toll-booth on your way to the PC hardware store could determine what graphics card you end up buying!
NVIDIA GeForce 550 Ti is technically a successor to the GeForce GTS 450. Its purpose is to provide gamers with a graphics card that lets them game at 1680x1050 or 1600x900, that 17-22-inch monitor that they never bothered to change, with a lot of eye-candy turned on. Then when they decide to go big with 1920x1200 or 1920x1080, adding a second GTX 550 Ti in SLI should give them high-end performance that lets them play anything at HD resolutions.
To accomplish this task, the GTX 550 Ti is based on the new 40 nm GF116 silicon, which packs 192 CUDA cores, and a 192-bit GDDR5 memory interface. 1 GB is the standard memory amount, and is spread across the 192-bit bus using memory chips of variable densities. A smart design move to achieve as much as 70% higher memory bandwidth than GTS 450 with its 128-bit interface. The GF116 allows for very high clock speeds, including 900 MHz core, 1800 MHz CUDA cores, and 1025 MHz (4100 MHz GDDR5 effective) memory.
MSI's GTX 550 Ti Cyclone II comes with increased clock speeds out of the box and is equipped with MSI's new Cyclone II cooler that promises more airflow with less noise. In terms of pricing, MSI offers their card at the reference design price of $159.
GTX 550 Ti
550 Ti Cyclone II
GTX 560 Ti
|Memory Size||1024 MB||1024 MB||1024 MB||1024 MB||768 MB||1024 MB||1024 MB||1024 MB||1280 MB||1024 MB||1024 MB|
|Memory Bus Width||128 bit||128 bit||192 bit||192 bit||192 bit||256 bit||256 bit||256 bit||320 bit||256 bit||256 bit|
|Core Clock||783 MHz||850 MHz||900 MHz||950 MHz||675 MHz||675 MHz||775 MHz||725 MHz||607 MHz||900 MHz||823 MHz|
|Memory Clock||900 MHz||1200 MHz||1026 MHz||1075 MHz||900 MHz||900 MHz||1000 MHz||1000 MHz||837 MHz||1050 MHz||1002 MHz|