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

First we need to address the packaging. Although the Asus versions of the GTX550 comes in 3 very different clock options, the packaging is remarkably similar. If you were to buy one of these cards, then KitGuru advises you to check the speed on the box carefully first. Here's a line up of the 3 packages – alongside our 1.015GHz test card.

Triplets? Almost. These 3 have different performance characteristics - and prices

Here is the Ultimate version of the card from a number of different angles.

GTX550 sitting on top of the box
Strange lack of technical detail
Asus custom cooler design with large central fan.
Attractively coloured PCB design.
It's still wearing protection at this stage
Several converter cables and a software disc.
KitGuru's favourite shot. Looks like a 70s turbo sports car with a huge snout and chromed manifolds

We'll list the cards in detail in a second, but first the test bed spec.

Test System:
Processor: Intel Core i7 2600k
Memory: OCZ DDR3 1600mhz Special Ops – 4GB
Motherboard: Gigabyte P67A-UD3
Hard Drive: 64GB Kingston SSDNow
Cooler: Thermaltake Frio
Power Supply: Thermaltake ToughPower XT

For this nVidia Mid-Range Match-Up we used a mixture of synthetic benchmarks and games. The idea is to give you handle on where the new card sits – and whether or not we feel that the launch price represents value.

For the synthetic benchmarks we used Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage and Futuremark’s latest benchmark, 3DMark 11. We also tested the DX11 capabilities of the cards with Unigine’s Heaven v2.0 benchmark. Game-wise we used FarCry 2, DiRT2 and Just Cause 2.

Here's a quick run down of the cards in the line-up. Remember that each manufacturer will have slight variations on the specification/bundle and your ‘store of choice' might also be carrying slightly different pricing.

GTX550 line up in price order - click to enlarge


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