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  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

    Phoronix: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

    For those Linux gamers and other desktop users currently looking for a new mid-range (sub-$150 USD) graphics card, up for review today is a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti. The GF116 Fermi graphics processor for the GTX 550 Ti has 192 CUDA cores, 900MHz core clock, 24 ROPs, 32 texture units, a 192-bit memory bus, and this EVGA-branded graphics card is paired with 1GB of GDDR5 video memory.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=16568

  • #2
    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
    Phoronix: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

    For those Linux gamers and other desktop users currently looking for a new mid-range (sub-$150 USD) graphics card, up for review today is a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti. The GF116 Fermi graphics processor for the GTX 550 Ti has 192 CUDA cores, 900MHz core clock, 24 ROPs, 32 texture units, a 192-bit memory bus, and this EVGA-branded graphics card is paired with 1GB of GDDR5 video memory.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=16568
    What, what is this? There was... Gasp some commentary to go along with benchmarks... YAY!

    Comment


    • #3
      It would helpful to also mention noise. This is especially important with the fan noise venting directly out the back of the case. My existing Nvidia card is normally silent for desktop use, but makes a loud screeching easily noticeable from another room when playing modern games as the fan spins up to full speed.

      My biggest problem with Nvidia (I won't use ATI/AMD) is how hard it is to compare between generations. For example I have an 8800GT in my computer and would be happy to upgrade to a newer card if I could find out approximately what the functional and performance difference is to cards available now. Unfortunately benchmarks (including this one) operate on cards from roughly the same generation so they aren't of any help. I did spot an Nvidia slide the other day where it implied current cards are twice as fast as mine, but twice is not anywhere near enough to convince me to upgrade.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by grotgrot View Post
        It would helpful to also mention noise. This is especially important with the fan noise venting directly out the back of the case.
        Noise (in terms of irritation of the user) is a really difficult thing to measure. Even reviewers with the capability to take accurate quantitative measurements in dBA (like SPCR) can't always make definitive product recommendations. Asking a Linux review site run by one man (whose primary interest is benchmarking) to give you noise recommendations seems like barking up the wrong tree.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LinuxID10T View Post
          What, what is this? There was... Gasp some commentary to go along with benchmarks... YAY!
          Yeah, I was very happy to see a conclusion, even if I didn't agree with it. Calling the 550 Ti a disappointment because it loses benchmarks to a RadeonHD 6770 doesn't do it justice IMO. I think it's fair to say that most people looking at cards in this price class will have a moderate interest in gaming. Assuming that fglrx/Catalyst will give the user an overall gaming experience equal to the Nvidia blob doesn't seem right to me. Catalyst still has a way to go in this regard, although I do see more reports of satisfied users than I did even a couple years ago. (BTW, I'd like to think that I'm not biased in favor of Nvidia, as I own mostly AMD cards because I support their open-source strategy).

          Comment


          • #6
            i have done that upgrade

            Originally posted by grotgrot View Post
            It would helpful to also mention noise. This is especially important with the fan noise venting directly out the back of the case. My existing Nvidia card is normally silent for desktop use, but makes a loud screeching easily noticeable from another room when playing modern games as the fan spins up to full speed.

            My biggest problem with Nvidia (I won't use ATI/AMD) is how hard it is to compare between generations. For example I have an 8800GT in my computer and would be happy to upgrade to a newer card if I could find out approximately what the functional and performance difference is to cards available now. Unfortunately benchmarks (including this one) operate on cards from roughly the same generation so they aren't of any help. I did spot an Nvidia slide the other day where it implied current cards are twice as fast as mine, but twice is not anywhere near enough to convince me to upgrade.
            I upgraded my geforce 8800GT 640mb that is one of the first 8800 serie's card.
            I wanted to be able to play starcraft 2 in wine at 1080p resolution and the game was faster with the geforce 550.
            For me the upgrade was worth it but then i did not have a huge requirment list.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DanL View Post
              Yeah, I was very happy to see a conclusion, even if I didn't agree with it. Calling the 550 Ti a disappointment because it loses benchmarks to a RadeonHD 6770 doesn't do it justice IMO. I think it's fair to say that most people looking at cards in this price class will have a moderate interest in gaming. Assuming that fglrx/Catalyst will give the user an overall gaming experience equal to the Nvidia blob doesn't seem right to me. Catalyst still has a way to go in this regard, although I do see more reports of satisfied users than I did even a couple years ago. (BTW, I'd like to think that I'm not biased in favor of Nvidia, as I own mostly AMD cards because I support their open-source strategy).
              Catalyst works fine. I have been running Radeon cards on linux since about 2008. Never had a problem. At this point, it is just people living in the past about the Catalyst driver. IMO The Radeon HD 6770 is a much better deal, even on linux.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by grotgrot View Post
                I have an 8800GT in my computer and would be happy to upgrade to a newer card if I could find out approximately what the functional and performance difference is to cards available now. I did spot an Nvidia slide the other day where it implied current cards are twice as fast as mine, but twice is not anywhere near enough to convince me to upgrade.
                I'd say an 8800GT is roughly equivalent to a GTX 560 in terms of bang for buck. Modern Nvidia cards will have more video acceleration features (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo ) and
                they will also support OpenGL 4.x (and DirectX11) with the main feature there being tessellation. Whether any of that stuff is compelling enough to upgrade is your call.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by grotgrot View Post
                  It would helpful to also mention noise. This is especially important with the fan noise venting directly out the back of the case. My existing Nvidia card is normally silent for desktop use, but makes a loud screeching easily noticeable from another room when playing modern games as the fan spins up to full speed.
                  I had recently changed my GPU from GTS-250 1Gb from Gigabyte (so-called ultra-durable series, equipped with nice cooler by Zalman and solid-state capacitors) to GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1Gb from Zotac. Both cards were fab-overclocked, don't remember exactly what were the clocks for GTS-250. Zotac GTX 550 Ti I has runs with 1GHz base frequency which gives 2200MHz for VRAM (4400MHz effective DDR rate) and 2000MHz for GPU cores. When it comes to noise it isn't an extreme with 550 Ti but still it's pretty noticeable when GPU cooler runs at full throttle. I would recommend installing non-stock GPU cooler from respected vendor like Zalman in order to get more silent gaming experience.

                  Originally posted by grotgrot View Post
                  My biggest problem with Nvidia (I won't use ATI/AMD) is how hard it is to compare between generations. For example I have an 8800GT in my computer and would be happy to upgrade to a newer card if I could find out approximately what the functional and performance difference is to cards available now. Unfortunately benchmarks (including this one) operate on cards from roughly the same generation so they aren't of any help. I did spot an Nvidia slide the other day where it implied current cards are twice as fast as mine, but twice is not anywhere near enough to convince me to upgrade.
                  You write that you've got 8800GT, which is then had been re-branded as 9800 and a bit later had been rebranded to GTS-250. Essentially 8800, 9800 and GTS-250 are all just the same GPU. As I had written above I've been a long time user of GTS-250 until recently had done an "upgrade" to the GTX 550 Ti. Speed difference between this cards turned out to be negligible. In older apps like Q3A or HL2 under Wine I got less FPS than I've been getting with GTS-250. On the other hand apps which use complicated shaders (especially tessellation ones) runs way faster on GTX 550 Ti. Cuda calculations also seem to run faster on 550 Ti. In my case it makes sense as I'm doing some OpenGL programming as a hobby and like to use Cuda for doing intensive calculations. For ordinary gamer it wouldn't make sense to change his fast 8800/9800/GTS-250 to the GTX 550 Ti as it would result in performance drop in most of the available linux games. Same stands for gaming under Wine - it is very likely that FPS would regress there too as wined3d implementation doesn't use any OpenGL3.x/4.x fancy computation features that may bring the difference and improve FPS numbers on "Tesla" and "Fermi" GPUs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LinuxID10T View Post
                    Catalyst works fine. I have been running Radeon cards on linux since about 2008. Never had a problem. At this point, it is just people living in the past about the Catalyst driver. IMO The Radeon HD 6770 is a much better deal, even on linux.
                    I've just recently moved back to using GeForce because Nvidia drivers are far superior to the Catalyst drivers. I did a year with ATI and will never touch another ATI video card again. My advice to any GNU/Linux gamer is to stay away from ATI cards. Especially if you want to run any games using wine. ATI have never been able to write a decent driver, and i think they never will.

                    If your just a web surfer or don't use any software requiring 3d, you won't notice much difference, because your not actually asking your card to do much.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lexa2 View Post
                      long time user of GTS-250 until recently had done an "upgrade" to the GTX 550 Ti. Speed difference between this cards turned out to be negligible.
                      Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I have this problem every time I feel like upgrading which makes it so painful. tomshardware used to have all the video cards across several generations in the same charts which made it a lot easier to tell if one card was approximately twice as fast or ten times as fast as another.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by grotgrot View Post
                        Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I have this problem every time I feel like upgrading which makes it so painful. tomshardware used to have all the video cards across several generations in the same charts which made it a lot easier to tell if one card was approximately twice as fast or ten times as fast as another.
                        You are welcome. Yeah, that's definitely a problem with hardware review sites. Personally I'm not a big fan of Tom's Hardware as there's an almost perfect Russian language hw-review site ixbt.com (I believe that they have English language version at http://ixbtlabs.com/). This site had been online since almost forever (I remember using it back in 1995 - at that times it had been called ixbt.stack.net) and years ago they had been regularly publishing hw comparisons over several hw generations. It was very handy to get known how much times faster is the brand-new GeForce 3 Ti 200 card in comparison to TNT2 Ultra I have installed in my PC. Later on they had switched into monthly "i3DSpeed" reviews schedule so it became a bit difficult to do direct comparisons. But it's still possible but require a bit of hand-work to be done.

                        For example it wasn't a surprise for me that 550 Ti would be approx on par with GTS-250, as there were tests published on i3DSpeed with direct comparison of GTS-250 to GTX-450 and then there were tests with direct comparison between GTX-450 and GTX-550 Ti. So the all I had to do is to proceed with a three-way compare. Needless to say that I would be happier in case iXBT and/or Phoronix would publish direct comparisons for the last three generation of GPUs so I wouldn't be forced to do all that hand-work in order to compare.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Look forward to the huge nvidia comparison then.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lexa2 View Post
                            You write that you've got 8800GT, which is then had been re-branded as 9800 and a bit later had been rebranded to GTS-250. Essentially 8800, 9800 and GTS-250 are all just the same GPU. As I had written above I've been a long time user of GTS-250 until recently had done an "upgrade" to the GTX 550 Ti. Speed difference between this cards turned out to be negligible. In older apps like Q3A or HL2 under Wine I got less FPS than I've been getting with GTS-250. On the other hand apps which use complicated shaders (especially tessellation ones) runs way faster on GTX 550 Ti. Cuda calculations also seem to run faster on 550 Ti. In my case it makes sense as I'm doing some OpenGL programming as a hobby and like to use Cuda for doing intensive calculations. For ordinary gamer it wouldn't make sense to change his fast 8800/9800/GTS-250 to the GTX 550 Ti as it would result in performance drop in most of the available linux games. Same stands for gaming under Wine - it is very likely that FPS would regress there too as wined3d implementation doesn't use any OpenGL3.x/4.x fancy computation features that may bring the difference and improve FPS numbers on "Tesla" and "Fermi" GPUs.
                            This is not entirely correct.
                            I had 9800GT Green, which was a bit noisy when working, yet not hearable when Idling. The biggest problem was that the fans continued spinning, till nvidia driver is loaded, which means 20 seconds of noise till X starts up. 2 Minutes if using windows(not using, but remembering).

                            I also had my hands on 8800GT from a friend of mine later, and it was a LOT hotter and MUCH more noisy.

                            The chip that you mentioned, the G80,seen in 8800, was modified and advanced several times before nvidia pulled new architecture on market (and broken linux drivers for it, till it was sorted out). They have improved 8800's G80 in terms of architecture, manufacturing process and consumption etc, and this was packed in 9800. This is NOT entirely "rebranded", as nvidia strategy BEFORE fermi was "To make one good polished chip, and then cut it to suit different market shelves". Since fermi, they have gone AMD way - to produce several chips - for different segments right at start (and hence nvidia fermi drivers were and are still a bit crappy on linux).

                            Now, after "expirementing" with AMD opensource strategy / HD4770, I had to return to nvidia(sadly), and had purchased a 260GTX sp216 / 1792Mb gddr3.
                            Being basically heavy improved and multiplied by 2 x G92b, the G200b (not G200) in 260-285, is WARM at boot and work (~50C); the fans DO NOT SPIN, until nvidia driver is loaded (means, when Im off with gentoo based SysrescueCD using noveau driver the card is WARM and unhearable).
                            Unless when stressed extremely hard, the GTX260 is barely hearable and hardly exceeds 70C at max load. Notice, G200 was the biggest GPU chip ever produced in terms of size, still they managed that. But a tiny bit is possible due to my gainward card having non-stock fan (similar to those in this test). Ie here

                            For me, even if using opensource drivers hardly allows desireable result for next 5-6 years, using AMD proprietary drivers is still not acceptable. I think, if AMD continues to push proprietary further, it is possible to sort major of WINE bugs as well as native bugs, it is possible to push video decode either via OpenCL or via improvement of current situation with XvBA (compared to vdpau, I really hope the UNITE and STANDARTIZE this). STILL, I have fears about the card quickly loosing developers attention VERY SOON on AMD side compared to nvidia. Old Xorg, bugs etc.

                            Regarding low performance, may be its true. The fermi GPUs are better at OGL4+ and have core configuration better suited heavy shader uses. Once again, nvidia disabled some of OpenGL features that were accelerated that way on non-quattro cards and may be used on by apps so people ditch overpriced quattro. The "castration" has affected games and regular apps on Linux too, so .. one of the points why I ditched fermi for now. Not cool, not cool at all. Should be paying for real support, not for some overpriced wires.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              starcraft 2 in linux!!!!

                              Originally posted by dizzey View Post
                              I upgraded my geforce 8800GT 640mb that is one of the first 8800 serie's card.
                              I wanted to be able to play starcraft 2 in wine at 1080p resolution and the game was faster with the geforce 550.
                              For me the upgrade was worth it but then i did not have a huge requirment list.
                              Could you tell me your configuration ie mobo cpu...? And what distribution/kernel you are running?
                              Also how much tweaking was necessary to get starcraft working under wine?
                              did you use winetricks for the task? or crossover? or just plain wine?

                              I'm interested in getting a desktop that can play starcraft under wine and thats my highest requirement!
                              I want a cheap built so probably I'll go with a phenom(can get a quad-core for $85 !!!) and the geforce 550 ti(since it looks like ati/amd is still a long way from having reliable drivers under linux). What do you guys think?

                              At some point I was thinking of getting a A8-3850 which makes a cheaper built than the above but I doubt the state of linux drivers/support is as good right now. And by that I mean out of the box experience cause I don't have the patience to build from source anything or compile kernels...

                              Thanks for any advice!
                              Last edited by jarg; 12-11-2011, 11:15 PM.

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