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Test Setup And Benchmarks

Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti Review: Bridging The Budget Gap
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We’ve included all of the relevant cards in the price range: the GeForce GTX 550 Ti, Radeon HD 5770, and GeForce GTX 460 768 MB. Also present is the GeForce GTS 450, so we can see how far the wider memory interface and higher clocks will take the new model in comparison.

Note that Nvidia didn't seed us with a reference sample for testing, so we’ve lowered the clocks on a factory-overclocked card to represent baseline performance.

Test Hardware
Processor
Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge)
Overclocked to 4.0 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache, power-saving settings enabled, Turbo Boost disabled.
Motherboard
Asus P8P67 Pro, Intel P67 Chipset
Memory
OCZ PC3-16000, 2 x 2 GB, 1338 MT/s, CL 9-9-9-20-1T
Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black 750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s
Graphics CardsNvidia GeForce GTS 450 1 GB
783/1566 MHz Core/Shaders, 902 MHz Memory (3608 MHz effective)

Nvidia GeForce GTS 550 Ti 1 GB Reference (simulated)
900/1800 MHz Core/Shaders, 1025 MHz Memory (4200 MHz effective)

MSI N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II
950/1900 MHz Core/Shaders, 1075 MHz Memory (4300 MHz effective)

Zotac GeForce GTX 550 Ti AMP! Edition
1000/2000 MHz Core/Shaders, 1100 MHz Memory (4400 MHz effective)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 768 MB
675/1350 MHz Core/Shaders, 900 MHz Memory (3600 MHz effective)

AMD Radeon HD 5770 1 GB
850 MHz Core, 1200 MHz Memory (4600 MHz effective)
Power Supply
ePOWER EP-1200E10-T2 1200W, ATX12V, EPS12V
CPU Cooler
Cooler Master Hyper TX 2
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics Driver
GeForce GTX 550 Ti: 267.59
GeForce GTS 450 and GeForce GTX 460: 266.58 WHQL

AMD Catalyst 11.2 WHQL
Games
Crysis 2
Multi-player Demo, Gamer Quality setting, No AA, 160 second gameplay, FRAPS
Just Cause 2
Medium Quality Settings, Textures High, all options enabled except vsync, No AA / 16xAF, Bokeh filter and GPU water disabled (for Nvidia cards), Concrete Jungle Benchmark
Bulletstorm
Highest Settings, No AA, 60 second sequence, FRAPS
F1 2010
Ultra High Settings, No AA, Steam version, in-game benchmark, DX11 Rendering
Aliens Vs. Predator Benchmark
Texture and Shadow quality set to medium, 8x AF, SSAO off, Dx11 tessellation off, Dx11 advanced shadows off, 0x AA
Metro 2033
DiectX 11, Medium Detail,  4x AF, tessellation enabled, advanced PhysX disabled.
Lost Planet 2
Medium settings, motion blur enabled, built-in benchmark test A
H.A.W.X. 2
Highest settings, DirectX 11 tessellation enabled, built-in benchmark
3DMark Vantage
Performance Preset, 1680x1050
Unigine Heaven
Highest settings, no AA, 16x AF, 1680x1050
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  • 6 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , March 15, 2011 1:23 PM
    It consumes more power than the 6850, which is significantly faster.
  • 0 Hide
    Pherule , March 15, 2011 1:28 PM
    192-bit, good move there.
  • 0 Hide
    AMD_pitbull , March 15, 2011 1:30 PM
    So, when is the release date on this? Or is it going to be another paper launch by the green team?
  • 6 Hide
    zooted , March 15, 2011 1:34 PM
    So it consumes more power, and is louder than the 460 768, yet performs just about on par with the 5770? What was the point of this card?
  • 9 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , March 15, 2011 1:36 PM
    The far superior, less power consuming 6850 is available for only $10 more..This card is pointless
  • 0 Hide
    scook9 , March 15, 2011 1:39 PM
    zootedSo it consumes more power, and is louder than the 460 768, yet performs just about on par with the 5770? What was the point of this card?

    To cost a lot clearly lol
  • 8 Hide
    dark_lord69 , March 15, 2011 1:52 PM
    "On par with the 4870"
    "The MSRP of the new card is $149"
    Well.. in that case I'll stick with my 4870 that I bought for $80.
  • 2 Hide
    sithtis , March 15, 2011 2:02 PM
    zootedSo it consumes more power, and is louder than the 460 768, yet performs just about on par with the 5770? What was the point of this card?


    God i was thinking exactly the same... whats the point of that. a 460 768 cost around 140 and less noise less power better performance... i really really dont get it?

    6850 or 460 768 are the cards to get... here in Canada you can get a 5770 for less than 100$
  • 0 Hide
    K2N hater , March 15, 2011 2:03 PM
    @Don

    How about the minimal FPS? Any substantial change on FPS once all eye-candy settings are enabled?
  • 2 Hide
    cleeve , March 15, 2011 2:07 PM
    K2N hater@DonHow about the minimal FPS? Any substantial change on FPS once all eye-candy settings are enabled?


    Minimum FPS readings should be there for most of the games we've benched.

    As for adding eye-candy settings, not sure that makes sense for this class of card as it might push FPS down to unpleasant levels.
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , March 15, 2011 2:08 PM
    AMD_pitbullSo, when is the release date on this? Or is it going to be another paper launch by the green team?


    Looks like they're for sale on NewEgg right now.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 15, 2011 2:15 PM
    Btw ... from what I gather its 5 - 7 % better than the 5770 but costs about 30% more than the 5770 ... i dont think that its worth it !
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , March 15, 2011 2:17 PM
    zootedSo it consumes more power, and is louder than the 460 768, yet performs just about on par with the 5770? What was the point of this card?


    To be fair, we only had factory overclocked cards to test for power readings as we said in the article. having said that, chances are a reference GTX 550 Ti would have pushed 80 watts in our load test. 25 watts isn't a big deal, really. Assuming you live in a place with high electricity rates like 16 cents/killowatt hour, we're talking a difference of 0.4 cents per hour of gaming between the 5770 and GTX 550 Ti. That's under a gaming load, at idle the difference would be infinitesimal.

    As far as noise, all of the cards have about the same nominal levels. under load the Zotac is as loud as the 5770, the MSI is a bit louder but as we mentioned in the article the MSI cooler doesn't get that loud during regular operation, and keeps the GPU a lot cooler. Also, the GTS 450 shares the same cooler as the GTX 550 Ti reference card, and it's quite quiet.

    In any case, it's not as cut and dry as you might think by simply glancing at the charts.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , March 15, 2011 2:20 PM
    ignanikBtw ... from what I gather its 5 - 7 % better than the 5770 but costs about 30% more than the 5770 ... i dont think that its worth it !


    Absolutely right!

    However, this often changes to fit the market after unreasonably high launch pricing. If the 550 Ti falls to within $10 of Radeon 5770 pricing it'd be viable.

    That's obviously not the case yet, though, and the Radeon 5770 is easily a better buy at $125 right now.
  • 1 Hide
    zooted , March 15, 2011 2:27 PM
    CleeveAbsolutely right! However, this often changes to fit the market after unreasonably high launch pricing. If the 550 Ti falls to within $10 of Radeon 5770 pricing it'd be viable. That's obviously not the case yet, though, and the Radeon 5770 is easily a better buy at $125 right now.
    The thing is, it was supposed to bridge the gap between the 460 and the 5770, but it performs way too close to the 5770 side of the spectrum.
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , March 15, 2011 2:33 PM
    zootedThe thing is, it was supposed to bridge the gap between the 460 and the 5770, but it performs way too close to the 5770 side of the spectrum.


    To me, the point is price/performance. There's not really bad cards anymore, just bad prices.

    Launch pricing usually sucks, but the bottom line is if it settles close to the 5770 it's good, and if it costs close to a GTX 460 768MB its not. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    zooted , March 15, 2011 2:37 PM
    ^Fair enough
  • 1 Hide
    cyrusfox , March 15, 2011 2:48 PM
    sithtisGod i was thinking exactly the same... whats the point of that. a 460 768 cost around 140 and less noise less power better performance... i really really dont get it?6850 or 460 768 are the cards to get... here in Canada you can get a 5770 for less than 100$


    Yep, read anands review, pretty much said the same thing. Tom seems like you may be giving Nvidia a little too much leeway with this lackluster offering. 550 would make a great choice if it was $30-$50 cheaper. As it stands. it is a horrible offering and much better cards are available at that price.
  • 1 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 15, 2011 3:20 PM
    Considering the 5770 is as cheap as $119, it's gonna be tough for nVidia to price it too much higher.
  • 2 Hide
    ScrewySqrl , March 15, 2011 3:23 PM
    my guess is in 4-6 weeks, teh 550 will be about $125-130, and will be competitive at that price.

    right now the 450 is priced about like a 460SE, and performs similarly (the SE would pull ahead at 1920x1080 res, or with AA enabled because its wider memory bus (256 vs 192) and all same-speed RAM.
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