Final Thoughts & Conclusions
We have to say that ZOTAC took an entry level graphics card and turned it into an attractive package with a dash of overclocking and silent cooling. While the ZOTAC AMP! GeForce GTX 550 Ti struggles to perform at its highest supported resolution it is not targeted for those users and is really meant for gamers running 1680 x 1050 resolutions and below. It was actually playable in a few of the games with the visual settings turned up which shows how well the FERMI chips work regardless of the number of active cores.
We liked the looks of this card and with the new trend of budget cases with bling (See BitFenix Shinobi Window for example) it would add nice visuals. Given this card is near silent when running games at the edges of the cards performance shows that ZOTAC did put some thought into the cooling solution. The performance is just above par for where this graphics card sits in the overall NVIDIA GTX lineup and the 11% extra boost ZOTAC dials in can not hurt when you are turning on those DirectX 11 visuals. The low power draw and 3 year warranty are also in the plus category. Finally the price after rebate is $124.99 shipped, which makes it affordable for those on very tight budgets and with back to school time happening now, I am sure student gamers would be happy to pick one of these up.
What we think could be improved, not really much. I know some prefer graphic cards with the power connectors on the top edge instead of the back edge but I personally like the back edge to make cable routing, especially if you go SLI, a bit nicer. The only down side is on long cards and the power hitting the HDD cage but given how short this card is it absolutely should not be an issue.
Overall we liked this card for the market it is going after, the budget gamer. ZOTAC is bringing the latest chip from NVIDIA to the masses in a sleek package and overclocked while being currently priced only a few dollars more than the stock card. We wanted to recognize this with our value award.
Legit Bottom Line: If you are a gamer on a very tight budget the ZOTAC AMP! GeForce GTX 550 Ti ZT-50402-10L is something you should have on the top of your list.