Temperature, Noise, Overclockability
Now it’s time to check out the ability of Zotac's original cooler to cope with the pre-overclocked GeForce GTX 550 Ti.
Unfortunately, the cooler is far from perfect. The GF116 chip itself isn’t very hot but the increased clock rates and the rather small heatsink lead to a very high GPU temperature. Having a temperature of only 28°C at low loads, the GPU of the Zotac card is as hot as 84°C at full load.
When running 2D applications, the Zotac is not louder than our lab’s background noise. But when a 3D application is launched, it becomes quite audible at 57 dBA (if measured at a point near the testbed). Noise perception is subjective, of course, and in this particular case, although the noise level is high in decibel, the card is not really irritating.
The high GPU temperature and the high level of noise are indicative of the low performance of the Zotac cooler. It affects the card's overclockability, too. Our sample could only work at GPU and memory frequencies of 1020 and 4840 MHz, respectively. This is far from breaking any records, but the card comes pre-overclocked anyway.