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Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti Review: Bridging The Budget Gap

Zotac's GeForce GTX 550 Ti AMP! Edition

With a 7.5”-long PCB, Zotac's factory-overclocked model is surprisingly small (about ¾” smaller than the reference card, in fact). This is a great attribute for folks short on room in their cases. But don’t let its size fool you--this card is quite potent, with a 1 GHz core and a 2 GHz shader clock. That's 100- and 200 MHz faster than reference, respectively. The memory is also pushed past its reference specification at 4400 MT/s effective, overclocked 350 MHz.

We like the card’s visual treatment, emphasizing a black cover and orange honeycomb grating, both staples of the Zotac color scheme. We’ll see if the fan is capable of keeping the highly-clocked card cool in our temperature benchmarks, and if it can do so while generating minimal noise.

Zotac’s AMP! Edition stands apart from the reference card’s mini-HDMI output with full-sized HDMI, plus a full-sized DisplayPort option. The HDMI output is version 1.4-compatible, meaning it supports 3D displays. And it can bitstream lossless HD audio, too. Like the reference card, it also sports a pair of dual-link DVI outputs.

With full-sized HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, this card doesn’t need much in the way of adapters, although a DVI-to-VGA option would be appreciated. It does come with a Molex-to-PCIe adapter for the auxiliary power cable requirement. There’s a driver/utility CD, user's manual, quick installation guide, Zotac case badge, and GeForce-accelerated software pamphlet.

The driver CD contains Zotac’s Firestorm software, the company’s simple but effective overclocking tool. We’re fans of the no-nonsense interface, but voltage control would have been a nice addition for this scalable card.