ZOTAC GeForce GTX 550 Ti AMP! Edition Video Card Review

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Temperature Testing

Given this is a factory overclocked card we were wondering how ZOTAC AMP! GeForce GTX 550 Ti handled the thermals.  Given the lower number of cores in the NVIDIA GTX550Ti design compared to the rest of the GTX500 series we assumed that the cooling requirements would also be reduced. 

To set our baseline we allowed the system to just sit at the desktop with GPU-Z running for 15 minutes and captured the readings.

ZOTAC AMP! GeForce GTX 550 Ti card idle temperature:

GPU-Z Idle

Like the other GTX500 series cards NVIDIA’s design has the core and memory clocks throttle way back for 2D applications to save power and reduce heat output.  The core clocks dropped from 900 MHz down to 50.6 and memory scaled back from 1100 MHz to 67.5.  This gives us 31C in a room with an ambient temperature of 25.55C.  This temperature delta is a bit higher than we have seen with some of the other cards with dual fans and heat pipes showing that the fan on heat sink is not nearly as efficient.  Seeing how this graphics card has lower power requirements and 42% less cores and targeted at the budget consumer this is perfectly acceptable.

For realistic load we played a few different games as maximum resolutions for over 15 minutes and observed temperatures between 65C and 74C which is well below the Max TJ of 99C

ZOTAC AMP! GeForce GTX 550 Ti card max load temperature:

GPU-Z 100% Load

To test maximum loading we fired up the much discussed FurMark 1.9.1 to see if this unrealistic test would push the card further and ran this test for 15 minutes.  FurMark is considered unrealistic because it basically hits all processes on a GPU at once, something no game or application would ever do.  NVIDIA has black listed this and OCCT so that the reference designs automatically throttle down if they detect either application running. 

Getting a maximum temperature of 82C tells us this card does not throttle down and in this worst case scenario the card still keeps its cool (pun intended) by providing 17C of headroom.

While this performance is not quite as good as we were expecting given this is the entry level GTX500 the ZOTAC cooling solution proves to be more than sufficient to cool this card.

Fan Performance:

You can see even under the most extreme circumstances the fan only runs at 54% hitting 2450 RPM and we are happy to report makes minimal noise doing this.  In fact under more realistic loads this fan was under 50% and was almost inaudible so it could be a contender for a media center PC. 

We did manually force the fan to 100% to see if it would provide better cooling.  Unfortunately setting the fan on the ZOTAC AMP! GeForce GTX 550 Ti this high only provided a bunch of noise with a drop in temperature from 82C to 79C, hardly worth the noise.

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