The GTX 550 Ti series is going to be interesting in the sense that it addresses a very specific market, it makes it a hard to pinpoint and position product though, that market probably is not the Guru3D.com audience. Fact remains that end-users with a monitor resolution up-to roughly 1600x1200 will get enough performance out of the card to have it play decent games with. Fact remains that a GeForce GTX 560 Ti you can much, MUCH more performance. Now it's not that the 550 Ti is bad product, no Sir... its the simple fact that performance is too far away from its bigger brother.
Performance wise, direct competitors would be the GeForce GTX 460 768MB and SE model and from ATI the Radeon HD 5770, and that last one can be found for 90 EUR already here in the stores.
NVIDIA literally cut in half the shader processor count and as such we see a tremendous performance difference of a product that should have been merely 20~25% slower opposed to that GTX 550 Ti.
Priced right, the GeForce GTX 550 Ti however can be a very successful product. Initially we have been afraid to see this product retail at 150 EUR / 175 USD and luckily that's not happening (talking about reference based product of course). You'll notice that the price is to settle in the 130 USD bracket.
Looking at the product itself, Palit did a nice job with it. It does not have the aesthetic flair that other partners offer though. the red PCB and that somewhat weird looking cooler are not on top of my list.
But the grand pre-overclock and silent operation make up for a lot of course. The temps remain quite okay, but her also the competition does seem to offer a little more in terms of cooling. But then again, the PAlit card comes factory overclocked with a slightly higher GPU voltage.
Overclocking wise we pushed the card to really sick stuff, we reached 1108 MHz on the core, 2216 MHz on the shader processors and pushed the memory towards 4804. Now for that to happen we did push the GPU core voltage upwards a little with the help of Afterburner. But surely the clock frequency this card series can take is definitely impressive.
The GeForce GXT 550 Ti does by far not have the thrill and excitement written over it as the GTX 560 Ti release had. But priced right though the card however can be an appealing alternative to those in the lower monitor resolutions and HTPCs.
The card as shown today from Palit however has most factors right, okay looks, decent enough cooling, low noise and great tweakability if you like to fool around with it a little. Gaming up-to 1600x1200 with this card is fine really, and at 1920x1200 here and there even quite playable with slightly dated titles and image quality settings. If you can pick one up not too much money .. well why not. And if you can spend a little more, well then we do advise the GeForce GTX 560 as best next alternative.
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