MSI N550GTX Ti 1GB Reviewairman - March 15, 2011
Category: Video Cards
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Today is the official launch of NVIDIA's 550GTX series, which is essentially the replacement for its previous 450GTX series. Of course, these cards aren't the powerhouse of graphic processing like you can find in the high-end video cards. For the price, however, you can expect a lot of bang-for-your-buck when it comes to the highly important price to performance ratio. MSI states that, in this generation of GPU, the PhysX performance is twice that of older cards, which is an impressive feat! This is due to a technology called "GigaThread scheduler", which is said to allow for up to ten times faster switching between graphics and physics processing. One big thing that MSI has begun to bring out is its cooling design. The "Cyclone" cooler, which is provided on this card retail, is said to allow for 23 °C cooler temperatures over the reference design. Another direction that MSI is heading is the use of solid, aluminum core capacitors and solid-state chokes, which boast silent operation and ultra long lifetime. The MSI N550GTX Ti is also provided in a pre-overclocked version, which I will be testing in this review.
The MSI packaging is easy to pick out amongst a group of other manufacturers — the flagship black, blue, and silver make it an easy target to spot. A picture of the Cyclone II cooler is the main centerpiece of the front cover, with the N550GTX-Ti text beneath it. There is a small sticker at the top that states it is the OC edition, which is to the left of the other icons that show certain features. Some of these features include PhysX, SLI, CUDA, and others. The front of the box flips open to display more about the card, specifically mentioning the solid capacitors and chokes, MSI Afterburner overclocking software on the bottom of the flap, and again, highlighting the Cyclone II design on the front of the box beneath the flap. There is a small window on the front of the box that allows you to see a dim outline of the card, which is safely wrapped in an anti-static bag.
The card is secured between a layer of stiff, styrofoam packaging and is shielded in an anti-static bag underneath a sheet of plastic. Removing this styrofoam will reveal a compartment that contains the accessories, which includes the user's guide, a manual, a mini HDMI to HDMI adapter, a DVI to VGA adapter, and a molex to a 12v 6-pin adapter, which the card requires. Overall, this is an effective packaging method and certainly worked to keep the MSI N550GTX out of harm's way! The next page will feature a closer look of the card, including a complete disassembly of the card and a close-up look of the MSI Cyclone II cooler.