Just as you might have inferred from the specifications table at the beginning of this review, the GeForce GTX 550 Ti SLI configuration is indeed a viable solution for a gaming computer, yet there are a number of things that you must take into account in case you really want to build one for yourself.
First of all, you should make up your mind as to what games you are going to play. Unfortunately, the efficiency of any modern multi-GPU technology depends on the graphics driver's ability to effectively parallel computations between the two GPUs. Thus, everything depends on software optimizations.
Second, you need a mainboard with two graphic slots which may be costlier than a mainboard with only one such slot.
Anyway, if you really want to try a configuration with two GeForce GTX 550 Ti cards, here is what you can expect from it in games:
At a resolution of 1600x900, the average advantage of the SLI tandem over the single-processor GeForce GTX 570 varies from -70 to +22%. The large dispersion is due to the lack of SLI support for Total War: Shogun 2 in Nvidia’s latest driver. Apart from this failure, the two solutions are rather similar to each other. We'd prefer the single GeForce GTX 570 since it helps achieve the same performance with less trouble.
Except for Total War: Shogun 2, the Radeon HD 6950 is an average 20% slower.The price wars of the GPU developers are constantly changing the market situation, yet AMD will be unable to compete with the pair of GF116-based products unless the Radeon HD 6970 steps down into the lower category.
Surprisingly enough, there are but few changes when we switch to the resolution which is perhaps the most popular today. The GeForce GTX 550 Ti SLI cannot beat the GeForce GTX 570 and enjoys the same lead over the Radeon HD 6950. The summary diagram makes it clear how greatly the performance of a particular solution depends on the selection of test applications.
So, if you've already got a GF116-based card, purchasing a second one is quite a good way to upgrade. Spending $149 for a second GeForce GTX 550 Ti, you get the performance of a GeForce GTX 570. Of course, the first card cost you some money as well, but you can hardly return it to the seller at the same price. Selling your GTX 550 Ti, adding $149 and buying a GTX 570 ishardly possible.
But if you are building a new system and choosing between a GeForce GTX 550 Ti SLI setup and a single GeForce GTX 570, you may want to prefer the latter because it offers the same performance with fewer risks. Moreover, it would allow you to eventually upgrade to a GeForce GTX 570 SLI configuration if necessary.
Zotac GeForce GTX 550 Ti AMP! Edition Summary
GeForce GTX 550 Ti cards come from different brands in different versions. Zotac's is a rather conventional offer. This card comes with a minimum of accessories but offers higher frequencies instead of free software or fridge magnets.
The Zotac GeForce GTX 550 Ti AMP! Edition is going to be a good buy for every user who values speed above everything else. The warranty-covered factory overclocking is the key advantage of this product. However, it's up to you to decide whether its 16% increase in speed is worth the increased level of noise. The Zotac card is fast enough to allow you to play most of today’s games at the highest graphics quality settings.
- Significant factory overclocking with warranty;
- Best performance in its class;
- Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
- Highly efficient cooling system;
- High performance in applications using tesselation;
- Nvidia PhysX support;
- Nvidia CUDA support.
- Not very effective cooling system;
- Low additional overclocking potential.