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Conclusion

We’ve got rather mixed impressions from our benchmarking the newest GeForce GTX 500 series product in 17 tests. Let’s take a look at the performance summary:

So, the GeForce GTX 550 Ti is superior to the previous generation of affordable Fermi-based products, its advantage varying from a modest 6% to a huge 30%. It’s up to the user to decide whether these performance benefits are worth the upgrade, though.

When we compare the new card to AMD’s offerings, we don’t see such a clear picture. Price is the crucial factor in the mainstream segment, so we guess that the GeForce GTX 550 Ti will compete with the mature Radeon HD 5770 in the first place. And the GeForce GTX 550 Ti looks preferable, delivering higher performance across more games, its advantage being as high as 62% in certain applications.

So, the decision is obvious if you are choosing from the three mentioned cards: Radeon HD 5770, GeForce GTS 450 and GeForce GTX 550 Ti. Nvidia has developed an effective GPU, so every GF116-based product is going to satisfy an undemanding user. However, the problem of choice gets more complicated if we throw in the old GeForce GTX 460 768MB. Despite its respectable age, its performance is no worse than that of the GeForce GTX 550 Ti. Nvidia will certainly try to put a quick end to the previous generation of its cards, so you shouldn’t think long if you really want to buy a GeForce GTX 460.

MSI N550GTX-Ti Cyclone OC Summary

Talking about the MSI N550GTX-Ti Cyclone OC, we want to note the positive trend in the development of the brand. MSI has been rather passive in terms of promoting its products under its own brand but the new graphics card is an excellent product that stands out among the competition.

The N550GTX-Ti Cyclone OC comes pre-overclocked, being an average 7% faster than the reference card, and features an effective and quiet cooler. Most importantly, it costs a mere $5 more than Nvidia’s recommended price for GeForce GTX 550 Ti ($149). This looks like a real bargain to us. Therefore, we would like to award this product with our Recommended Buy title:

Highs:

  • High quality of manufacture;
  • Can compete against Radeon HD 6850 when overclocked;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Highly efficient cooling system;
  • High performance in applications using tesselation;
  • Low noise;
  • Good overclocking potential;
  • Nvidia PhysX support;
  • Nvidia CUDA support.

 Lows:

  • Cooling system too large.
 
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