Articles: Graphics

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In most industries, and especially in IT, sales are expected to peak twice a year during the back-to-school and Christmas seasons when many people go shopping to buy stuff for their children or relations. The manufacturers, on their part, try to prepare their most exciting and innovative solutions right in time for these period of high demand. This is why the beginning of 2011 in the graphics card market may look somewhat odd as AMD and Nvidia were both unveiling new products in every price segment. This unusual behavior is due to the fierce competition which doesn’t let the GPU developers take a break.

The California-headquartered Nvidia has recently released the most affordable solution in its newest 500 series of graphics cards. It is called GeForce GTX 560 Titanium (or just Ti; you may remember that Nvidia used this abbreviation back in the times of CRT monitors and AGP graphics cards). Coming at a recommended price of $250, the new card is about 30% faster overall than the previous-generation products from the same price category.

However, the GPU developers themselves have repeatedly emphasized the fact that they earn most of their money by selling products which cost less than $200, which means that Nvidia needed another solution to replace the outdated GeForce GTS 450. The company did announce this replacement a couple of weeks ago, so today we are going to take a look at the new GeForce GTX 550 Ti graphics card.

GeForce GTX 550 Ti: Positioning and Specifications

Having made a big step forward with its newest top-end solutions in terms of technologies, Nvidia refrains from introducing anything particularly new into the midrange segment with the GeForce GTX 550 Ti.

The table above indicates that the new card is largely a product of marketing decision-making rather than an implementation of a new technology for affordable graphics solutions. The new GF114 is just bigger than the old GF106 in a most brutal and unsophisticated way. The most significant difference is the use of a 192-bit memory bus instead of the GeForce GTS 450’s 128-bit one, which boosts the peak memory bandwidth by 70%.

The number of stream processors has remained the same at 192 but they are clocked now at 900 MHz. This cannot have as high an effect on the card's resulting performance as what we can expect from the six extra raster operators, though.

While the improvements are obvious, the new GeForce GTX 500 series product doesn’t look any better than the highly successful GeForce GTX 460 768MB, let alone the latter’s elder cousin.

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