Hi guys, I've been looking at these 2 cards, they both cost less than $100 which is my budget for getting a new graphics card as a upgrade from my current GT520. Of these two which one should I get? If there is also other alternatives that I can get for less than $100 please reply with them below too. Thanks.
I would go with the gtx 550ti for the following reasons:
-uses less power
-can use in SLI down the road if your motherboard allows for it
-shorter in length
Now, if you're not interesting in DX11 gaming, you do not care about power consumption, and your case is long enough, then the gtx 280 is a much more powerful and fitting card. I'm not quite sure where you're going to get either one for $100 though because the cheapest ones I can find are at least $120 w/out shipping or tax.
If you're up to looking at a different option, I would actually go for the Radeon HD 6850 as it is a sweet spot for price/performance (and power consumption/heat). It also performs better in pretty much every aspect than the gtx 550 ti. Looking on NewEgg.com - the price for the 6850 and the 550 ti are within $25 of each other same.
Or you can go with an AMD 7750. In most cases its faster than the 550TI, but consumes significantly less power (does not require external power). It consumes less than a 1/3 of the power than the 280 GTX needs.