Zotac Geforce GTX 550 TI AMP!

Zotac Geforce gtx550
Published: May 18, 2011
Author: Ville Ilonen
Editor: Amber Lupala
Provider: Zotac

Today we will take a look at Zotac’s newest mainstream graphics card which is based on the GF116 chipset. We will take a close look at the card itself and compare it against Radeon HD 6790 and HD 6850. Read further in this review and see how well it performs against them.

About Zotac:

Please check Zotac’s homepages at www.zotac.com for details about the company.

Specifications & Features:

Model:
Model     ZT-50402-10L

Interface:
Interface     PCI Express 2.0 x16 (Compatible with 1.1)

Chipset:
Chipset Manufacturer     NVIDIA®
GPU     GeForce® GTX 550 Ti
Core clock     1000 MHz
Stream Processors     192
Shader Clock     2000 MHz

Memory:
Memory Clock     4400 MHz
Memory Size     1 GB
Memory Interface     192-bit
Memory Type     GDDR5

3D API:
DirectX     DirectX 11
OpenGL     OpenGL 4.1

Ports:
DVI     2 (DVI-I)
HDMI     1 (1080p w/Dolby® TrueHD™ & DTS-HD™ Master Audio bit streaming ready)
DisplayPort     1
VGA     (With included DVI-to-VGA adapter)

General:
Tuner     None
RAMDAC     400 MHz
Max Resolution     2560 x 1600
RoHS Compliant     Yes
SLI Supported     Yes
Cooler     With fan (dual-slot)
Dual-Link DVI Supported     Yes
Windows Vista     Certified for Windows® 7 with DirectCompute support

Packaging:
Package Contents     ZT-50402-10L
Driver Disk
ZOTAC Boost Premium
User Manual
DVI-to-VGA adapter
Dual MOLEX-to-6-pin PCIe power cable

Product:

Zotac Geforce gtx550 Zotac Geforce gtx550
Please click on thumbnails for bigger images

Our unit came in black box with a fire breathing dragon picture on top of it.  On the backside there’s a marketing speech printed, along with some gaming related pictures and box contents information. Specifications of the card are printed on the left side of the package.

Zotac Geforce gtx550 Zotac Geforce gtx550
Please click on thumbnails for bigger images

Inside the box we find a manual, molex-pcie adapter, dvi-vga adapter, manual, and warranty information sheets alongside with the card itself. As we can see, the frontside of the card is covered with large metal cover with a 80mm axis fan in the middle of it.

Zotac Geforce gtx550 Zotac Geforce gtx550
Please click on thumbnails for bigger images

The backside of the card is covered with SMD components. There’s basically nothing interesting there except the four screws which are used to tighten the heatsink around the core. I/O panel of the card includes two DVI-ports and one HDMI and displayport connectors. Next to the other DVI-connector there’s a finned area so the hot air from the heatsink can easily get out from the case.

Zotac Geforce gtx550 Zotac Geforce gtx550
Please click on thumbnails for bigger images

In the middle of the PCB there is the GF116 graphics chip. Around the graphics chip there are six memory modules. The memory modules are GDDR5 type.

Zotac Geforce gtx550 Zotac Geforce gtx550
Please click on thumbnails for bigger images

Zotac uses a single PCI-express connector with this card in order to give enough juice for the card. The connector is located on the back section of the card and is facing backwards. Memory modules in our sample unit was manufactured by Hynix.

Zotac Geforce GTX550
Please click on thumbnails for bigger images

All power supply components are located in the back section of the card.

Testing:

Following setup was used during our tests:
AMD Phenom II X4 975BE @ 4GHz
4x2GB G.SKILL Ripjaws 1600MHz CL7
2x1TB Hitachi HDD in raid0
Asus M4A785TD-V EVO
Asus Radeon HD6850 DirectCU 1GB
AMD Radeon 6790 1GB
Zotac Geforce GTX 550 TI AMP! Edition 1GB

The system is exactly the same as with our RAdeon HD 6790 review so all the results are comparable.

3DMark11:

ZotacGTX5503dmark11

In 3DMark11 test the GTX 550 TI is slightly behind Radeon 6790. The gap between those two cards is roughly 600 points which equals the difference between 6790 and 6850 too.

3DMark Vantage:

zotacgtx550vantage

Results are very similar in 3DMark Vantage than in 3DMark11. GTX 550 Ti is slightly slower than its more expensive competitors.

Unigine Heaven:

Zotac Geforce GTX550

Despite falling a bit behind the Radeon 6850 and 6790 in 3DMark tests – the results in Unigine Heaven is much brighter. The difference between 6850 and GTX550 is still significant – but the situation is totally different against RAdeon 6790. The difference is merely 9 points – which results in very similar performance with these two cards.

F1 2010:

Zotac Geforce GTX550

Average FPS in Formula 1 2010 game and Geforce GTX 550 TI card is 35. I’d rather see a bit higher FPS to call the framerate smooth enough for pleasure. However keep in mind that our tests were performed under extreme settings and maxed MSAA settings. Lowering MSAA to 2x or 4x values gave us very playable FPS values and the game ran nicely.

Temperatures:

Zotac Geforce GTX550

GTX550 TI manages to keep itself a bit cooler than our Radeon 6790. Idle temperature is respectable 36 degrees Celsius while in load the temperature ramps up to 73 degrees Celsius.

Power Consumption:

Zotac Geforce GTX550

As we can see – despite its lack of performance – the Geforce GTX 550TI manages to consume as much power as our Radeon 6790. However the noise levels of GTX 550 TI:s fan were at more tolerable level than the ones with 6790.

Overclocking:

Due to the limited amount of time with this card we only managed to do quick overclocking tests. We used Nvidia inspector to overclock the card. With a little tweaking and setting the fan to maximum speed we managed to get the card 3DMark11 stable with core:1100/mem:1240 settings. Unfortunately we did not have more time to run more thorough tests with overclocked setup.

Conclusion:

Despite being outperformed by both Radeon 6790 and 6850 – the Geforce GTX 550 TI AMP! proved to be very good graphics card. With the price-tag of 140€ it provides nice price/performance ratio with very reasonable noise levels. Unlike most radeons these days the GTX 550TI is very short card and will most likely fit in most HTPC cases too. I would recommend this card to anyone who is upgrading their mainstream rig to meet today’s standards.

Pros:
+ Overclocking
+ Price/performance ratio
+ Size

Cons:
- None