Introducing the Cards
The MSI N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II OC
Lately, MSI has been updating the designs of their custom cooler and we have already seen them done so with their third-generation Twin Frozr III cooler. Now, they are also refreshing the design of their Cyclone cooler and the MSI N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II OC card we have here is one of the first cards to make use of this new second-generation Cyclone II cooler.
The most notable change to the cooler is the inclusion of what MSI calls “Propeller Blades”. These blades are angled such that more air is forced onto the heatsink. Speaking of which, the heatsink on this new Cyclone II cooler is visibly larger. Furthermore, the card comes with the usual Military Class suite of components such as solid capacitors and ferrite chokes to help the card run more cool and efficiently. With these improvements, hopefully we will see the card turn in a good performance in our temperature test.
Finally, as the “OC” suffix denotes, this card is factory overclocked at 950MHz at the core, 1900MHz at the shaders and 4300MHz DDR at the memory - a substantial bump of 50MHz at the core and 200MHz DDR at the memory.
The Palit Geforce GTX 550 Ti Sonic
Palit’s Sonic series of cards have also been some of the quickest in the market and this card is no different. Factory overclocked at a full 1GHz at the core, 2000MHz at the shaders and 4400MHz DDR at the memory, this card has significantly higher clock speeds when compared to a reference card, which should also translate to some decent performance increases. To keep the card cool Palit has decided to simply go for a custom cooler to keep the card’s temperatures under control. It has a blocky single-fan cooler with a radial design heatsink, which is quite similar to the base heatsink employed by the MSI Cyclone cooler. While solid capacitors were noted on the PCB, ferrite chokes were given a miss on this card. Perhaps a cost saving measure at this mainstream segment.