The market for mid-range desktop video cards targeting gamers has recently been dominated by AMD, but rival Nvidia is proving that it’s up for a fight, today announcing the availability of its new GeForce GTX 550Ti video card. The GTX 550Ti might not boast all the processing power of its more-expensive cousin, the GTX 460, but it makes up for it with a friendlier price tag and performance boosts that ought to satisfy many gamers: Nvidia says the card is 28 percent faster than the recently-released GeForce GTX 450 and up to 500 percent faster than Nvidia’s once-popular GeForce 8600 GT.
The GeForce GTX 550Ti features 192 CUDA cores—which would seem to put it on par with Nvidia’s entry-level GTS 450, except that Nvidia has cranked those cores up to an impressive 1800MHz running against a 900MHz clock. Nvidia has also packed a full gigabyte of dedicated video memory into the card, along with support for a bevy of its own technologies, including SLI, Nvidia Surround, and PhysX, along with requisite support for DirectX11 gaming. Users can also opt for Nvidia 3D Vision glasses and enjoy 3D gaming and other content with a 3D-capable display.
Nvidia’s goal with the GeForce GTX 550Ti seems to have been meeting the $150 price point: the card is somewhat constrained by a 192-bit data path rather than the full 256-bit paths found in its bigger siblings, which limits the card’s performance to be roughly on par with other offers at its price point. But Nvidia is keen to let people know that Crisis 2-capable machines with the GTX 550Ti will be available at prices around $600—and that may be enough to bring some first-person-shooter fans on board.