The specified power consumption of the GTX 550 Ti is 116 watts, and while this isn't
a lot for a modern day gaming card, in the power consumption test it's the AMD
competitors that lead the way. Considering that the HD6850 is all-round a faster card,
the 20 W difference in loaded power consumption seems a bit high. Comparing to the
HD5770 it gets even worse, as here the difference is 44 W. At idle the GTX 550 does do
much better, at 89 W it's the least power thirsty idler of this group.
During the testing the card remained reasonably quiet in our open test bench. A
closed case around is always going to change the noise level and characteristics, but
overall it didn't sound disturbingly loud.
Competitor for the HD5770
More than anything else the GTX 550 Ti is bridging the gap, Nvidia didn't have
anything to directly compete with the AMD HD5770 and now they do. In fact they made such
a close competitor to the said card it's impossible to choose between these two cards
based on the performance alone. This means that the card is a good newcomer to the
budget gaming market, but also that it definitely isn't the most exciting new GPU launch
we've seen lately.
Really the success or lack of it depends on the pricing of the cards, if you keep
your eyes open it's possible to get more performance for the same money, but if the GTX
550 Ti suits your budget, just go for it. The Coolstream edition packs a custom cooler
design and plenty of overclocking headroom.