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Report: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti and Asus DirectCU TOP
by Damien Triolet
Published on April 27, 2011

The Asus GeForce GTX 550 Ti DirectCU TOP
Asus supplied us with its DirectCU TOP:

The Asus GeForce GTX 550 Ti DirectCU TOP is based on a similar design to that of the Radeon HD 6850 in the same series that we tested recently. Its PCB is of course different and shorter, but is still longer than the one used on the reference GeForce GTX 460 and GTS 450: 22.5 cm against 21 cm. The Asus card is therefore similar in size to the reference GeForce GTX 560 Ti. Asus has gone for a power stage with 4 phases for the GPU, but without a radiator.

As usual, Asus has placed a reinforcement bar on top of the card to strengthen it as its cooler is only attached using four screws, one in each corner of the GPU. As the cooler name indicates, two copper heatpipes are in direct contact with the GPU. They then run across an aluminium radiator that’s cooled by a central fan. The design doesn’t therefore extract hot air from the casing but disperses it without making too much noise.

The Hynix GDDR5 memory is certified at 1.25 GHz (2.5 GHz for data). As we said, there are four 1 Gb modules (128 MB) and two 2 GB modules (256 MB) which make up a memory space of 1 GB interfaced at 192 bits. Note that the back of the PCB provides for a doubling of this memory space to 2 GB.

In terms of connectivity, Asus has gone for a DVI out, an HDMI out and a VGA out. Just one 6-pin power supply connector is required.

Of course, as a TOP model, it has been overclocked: 975 MHz for the GPU against 900 MHz for the reference clocks (a gain of 8%). However the memory is not overclocked. We managed to clock the GPU up to 1050 MHz and here’s the gain we got in Crysis Warhead at 1920x1200:

Asus GeForce GTX 550 Ti DirectCU TOP @ 900 MHz: 31.5 fps
Asus GeForce GTX 550 Ti DirectCU TOP @ 975 MHz: 33.6 fps
Asus GeForce GTX 550 Ti DirectCU TOP @ 1050 MHz: 35.6 fps

The Asus TOP therefore gives a 7% gain on the reference card with another 6% when overclocked to give a total of 13%.

Although on sale at no less than #170, Asus has only provided an entry level style bundle: an installation guide, a CD for the drivers and a a double molex to 6-pin PCI Express power supply cable convertor.

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