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Review: Overclocking the GeForce GTX 550 Ti
Want to play the latest games without breaking your bank account? The latest GeForce GTX 550 Ti from NVIDIA could well be the solution. This US$ 149 card is fast enough to run most of today’s titles without noticeable slowdowns, and should be affordable enough for most value-conscious gamers looking for a budget card to play games with. For the complete review, you can read our previous GTX 550 Ti article.
While the GTX 550 Ti performs wonderfully at lower resolutions, some people may remain unsatisfied with its default performance. So, can we turn it into a faster card? Of course we can! By overclocking the GTX 550 Ti, we managed to obtain some additional speed increase. But how much faster could the card be?
NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti
|NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti||NVIDIA GTS 450|
|Stream Processors (CUDA Cores)||192||192|
|Graphics Clock||900 MHz||783 MHz|
|Shader Clock||1800 MHz||1566 MHz|
|Memory Clock (effective)||4104 MHz||3608 MHz|
|Memory Size||1024 MB||1024 MB|
|Fabrication Process||40 nm||40 nm|
|Transistor Count||1.17 Billion||1.17 Billion|
|Die Size||228 mm²||228 mm²|
|Min Recommended Power Supply||400 Watts||400 Watts|
|Thermal Design Power (TDP)||116 Watts||106 Watts|
|GPU Thermal Threshold||95 °C||100 °C|
|Bus Support||PCIe 2.0 x16||PCIe 2.0 x16|
The core of a GeForce GTX 550 Ti is clocked at a relatively high 900 MHz by default. It’s not surprising then, if some manufacturers decided to release pre-overclocked versions of GTX 550 Ti with clock speeds of more than 1000 MHz. Would a reference GTX 550 Ti be able to reach that kind of speed?
Our “test subjects” were a Galaxy GTX 550 Ti and Palit GTX 550 Ti Sonic. NVIDIA Inspector was the tool of choice. Here’s how we overclocked each card:
Galaxy GTX 550 Ti
The Galaxy 550 Ti was overclocked under two different conditions. First, the overclocking was carried out without changing the fan mode (leaving it at auto) and voltage settings. This way, we managed to increase the core and memory speed to 972 MHz and 4800 MHz, respectively.
For the second attempt, we maximized the fan speed and increased the core voltage to its maximum limit of 1.150 V. Such more aggressive move pushed the core and memory clock further to 1015 MHz and 4920 MHz.
Palit GTX 550 Ti Sonic
This card already comes pre-overclocked with a standard core frequency of 1000 MHz and a memory clock of 4400 MHz. We decided to immediately employ more advanced methods (by that we mean increasing the fan speed to maximum and bumping up the voltage to 1.150 V) to overclock this card and ended up with 1080 MHz for the core and 4920 MHz for the memory. Let’s move on to performance testing to see how much additional speed that we have gained through these overclocking attempts!
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