i assume its a budget build so it would be best to get the cheapest . you can also get a 6850 at that price . which has better performance than the 550 ti .they also overclock very high they go past 1GHz if you up the voltage
well, 6850 seems quite decent. Although 550 ti uses less power. And I also have a soft core for nVidia coz my last card was a 8800gt and was thoroughly responsible for letting me enjoy call of duty 4, BFBC 2 , etc
I hav heard tht msi has way better coolers than others. But I can get ASUS for 5-10$ less. Plus, I dont think i'd be OCing my card, so maybe ASUS is the way 2 go?
Overclocking your card gives you better performance, and doesn't screw up your card. If you overclock to high, all you will get is an nvidia driver crash and it will recover. No harm done, also you are covered by their warranty.
I think worst case scenario is you actually burn ur card up from failing to OC, but yeah, its really not hard.
EVGA usually makes a card with a standard cooling solution and one that compares to the twin frozr and windforce etc, BUT the card will almost always cost you $20-30 more than a comparable MSI or ASUS.
Get MSI or EVGA. EVGA if you value epic warranty and MSI if your into epic overclocking and cheapness. MSI is not terrible at RMA stuff either I hear,