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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: March 14, 2011
Product Name: GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB
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The GTX 550Ti’s Place in NVIDIA’s New Lineup



Before we get too far into this section, it should be mentioned that NVIDIA’s aim for the GTX 550 Ti 1GB isn’t to replace the GTS 450. Rather, the GF116-based card will occupy the all-important $150 price point which makes it highly appealing for OEMs and the retail channel alike.

Increasing performance over the GTS 450 while maintaining an optimal TDP was one of NVIDIA’s major goals for the GTX 550 Ti and it looks like they have accomplished this. 116W represents a mere 10W increase over its predecessor despite much higher clock speeds and a fully enabled core with an additional active memory controller and eight more ROPs. Memory bandwidth has also increased exponentially due to the 192-bit interface and is actually a step above what’s offered on the GTX 460 768MB.

Judging from the specifications and pricing structure of the newest card in NVIDIA’s lineup, it should be quite obvious that the GTX 550 Ti is aimed to take a chunk out of AMD’s HD 5770 market share. Up until now the HD 5770 has been sitting in a position which was largely uncontested since there just weren’t any GeForce products to compete with it. That’s about to change but the GTX 550’s impending release has already had a profound effect on the HD 5770 since AMD has finally seen fit to reduce its price to about $130 after rebates.


The only issue we see with NVIDIA’s approach is the GTX 460’s volatile pricing structure has made it available for under $150 if you look hard enough. Despite lower clock speeds, the GF104 core can simply overpower anything the GTX 550 Ti can offer. Even the rare yet underpowered GTX 460 SE (a card that seemed to be released in a desperate attempt to dump GF104 cores) holds an edge over the 550.

From our understanding there is still a huge amount of GTX 460 cards in the channel which may be preventing NVIDIA from releasing any products between the GTX 560 and GTX 550. This in effect leads to a yawning gap in the 500-series product stack which is currently of occupied by the three GF104-based cards. Hopefully as stocks of the older cores decrease, we will see NVIDIA releasing cut down GTX 560 products but until that time comes, there will be GeForce cards sitting at literally every conceivable step of the $150 to $200 staircase.
 
 
 

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