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Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti Review: Bridging The Budget Gap

MSI's N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II

The N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II is 8.25” long, the same size as the reference card. But MSI’s overclocked model is quite a bit taller due to its extra-large Cyclone II cooler, a unit that extends just over an inch higher than the 4 ¼” PCB.

The cooler is the obvious focal point of the card. It has a nickel-plated copper base and two heat pipes that run around its circumference. MSI boasts that its exclusive propeller design achieves 20% more airflow than a conventional blade, and that the Cyclone II keeps the GF116 GPU 23 degrees Celsius cooler than the reference model.

The extra thermal capacity allows for the card’s factory overclock: 950 MHz/1900 MHz core/shader, and 1075 MHz (4300 MT/s effective) memory.

With two dual-link DVI connectors and a single mini-HDMI output on the bezel, the card sports the same options as the reference model.

MSI’s product is bundled with a mini-HDMI-to-HDMI converter, a DVI-to-VGA converter, and a Molex-to-PCIe adapter. There’s also a driver/utility CD, user’s guide pamphlet, and quick user guide poster.

Of course, the CD comes with MSI’s Afterburner overclocking utility, a program it wisely opened up to any hardware (a step that’s helped it become the de-facto overclocking software for graphics cards). Happily, MSI’s N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II is rigged to give the utility control over GPU voltage adjustment, in addition to basic clock speeds.

The N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II has an MSRP of $154.99.