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nVidia mid-range match-up, what should you buy?

For the purposes of this test, two flavours of the GTX550 Ti have been pitted against an intelligent spread of nVidia's mid-range offerings. While the 910MHz version of the Asus GTX550 Ti is expected to retail around the £115 inc vat mark, the Ultimate version will ship with its core clock set to a stunning 1,015MHz and will retail at just under £150.

On that basis, here's the line-up we've chosen – along with an idea of the street price of each product.

The GTX550 cards are at 910MHz and 1,015MHz

.OK, so those are the riders, what does the course look like?

Today we're trying something slightly different. When a completely new technology comes into the KitGuru Lab, Zardon will carry out his standard torture program which pokes and prods each and every corner of the new card. Result? Anywhere from 20 to 45 pages of in-depth analysis that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know – and then some.

For the GTX550, we are running a ‘KitGuru Match-Up' where similar competitors that you're already familiar with, get in the ring to battle it out for top position. We'll take real world in-game performance into account, alongside the synthetic tests, the overall package you get for your money and, of course, the price itself.

Sometimes, one of these KitGuru Match-Ups might result in a tie.  How so?  Simple. Some products are great – straight out of the box. Others come out OK, but you can warp their performance characteristics with some intelligent clocking. The Radeon HD 6950 is just such a case. On its own, very good card. Flash the BIOS and it becomes a 6970 – at no extra cost. We all like that.

Pre-amble and competitors done with, let's move onto the card shots and tests themselves.

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