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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti to launch on March 15

The upcoming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti, based on the new GF116 chipset is expected to launch on March 15. Although the GF116 is a mainstream chipset, NVIDIA has chosen to name its new card the GTX 550 Ti, and not the GTS 550. Performance is estimated to be up to 35% faster than the current AMD Radeon HD 5770, which also means the new card will tread into the GeForce GTX 460 family's territory. More juicy details inside.

It is interesting to note that NVIDIA's upcoming card will be called the GeForce GTX 550 Ti, and not the GTS 550 even though it will be based on a new mainstream GF116 chipset. Like its bigger siblings, the GF110 and GF114, the GF116 will undergo a similar transistor-level rework for better performance-per-watt.

By carrying a 'GTX' tag, we should expect the new card's performance to be considerably faster than its GF106-based predecessor. According to leaked material, the new GeForce GTX 550 Ti will be (up to) about 35% faster than the AMD Radeon HD 5770 in DirectX 11, and about 20% faster in DirectX 10; it becomes apparent that the GeForce GTX 550 Ti will perform nearly as fast as the GeForce GTX 460 family.

Like the GF106, the GF116 will come with one 64-bit memory controller (out of three) disabled to form a 128-bit memory bus. The PCB will have a total of 12 pads, but only eight will be populated to provide 1024MB of GDDR5 memory.

Physically, the GeForce GTX 550 Ti retains a similar printed circuit board (PCB) design to the GeForce GTS 450. The reference board is expected to have a 3-phase voltage regulation module (VRM) for the core and a single-phase for the memory.

There will be two dual-link DVI-I ports and one mini HDMI port for display output.

The thermal design power (TDP) for the GeForce GTX 550 Ti is no more than 110W. As the TDP rating remains virtually the same as the GeForce GTS 450's 106W, the new card will retain the same sunflower cooler as the latter.

Currently, the GeForce GTX 550 Ti is expected to launch March 15, 2011. Pricing is not available yet, but we estimate it to be around the US$200 mark.



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