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    Default NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

    Phoronix: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

    For those Linux gamers and other desktop users currently looking for a new mid-range (sub-$150 USD) graphics card, up for review today is a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti. The GF116 Fermi graphics processor for the GTX 550 Ti has 192 CUDA cores, 900MHz core clock, 24 ROPs, 32 texture units, a 192-bit memory bus, and this EVGA-branded graphics card is paired with 1GB of GDDR5 video memory.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=16568

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    Quote Originally Posted by phoronix View Post
    Phoronix: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

    For those Linux gamers and other desktop users currently looking for a new mid-range (sub-$150 USD) graphics card, up for review today is a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti. The GF116 Fermi graphics processor for the GTX 550 Ti has 192 CUDA cores, 900MHz core clock, 24 ROPs, 32 texture units, a 192-bit memory bus, and this EVGA-branded graphics card is paired with 1GB of GDDR5 video memory.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=16568
    What, what is this? There was... Gasp some commentary to go along with benchmarks... YAY!

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    It would helpful to also mention noise. This is especially important with the fan noise venting directly out the back of the case. My existing Nvidia card is normally silent for desktop use, but makes a loud screeching easily noticeable from another room when playing modern games as the fan spins up to full speed.

    My biggest problem with Nvidia (I won't use ATI/AMD) is how hard it is to compare between generations. For example I have an 8800GT in my computer and would be happy to upgrade to a newer card if I could find out approximately what the functional and performance difference is to cards available now. Unfortunately benchmarks (including this one) operate on cards from roughly the same generation so they aren't of any help. I did spot an Nvidia slide the other day where it implied current cards are twice as fast as mine, but twice is not anywhere near enough to convince me to upgrade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grotgrot View Post
    It would helpful to also mention noise. This is especially important with the fan noise venting directly out the back of the case.
    Noise (in terms of irritation of the user) is a really difficult thing to measure. Even reviewers with the capability to take accurate quantitative measurements in dBA (like SPCR) can't always make definitive product recommendations. Asking a Linux review site run by one man (whose primary interest is benchmarking) to give you noise recommendations seems like barking up the wrong tree.

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    Default i have done that upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by grotgrot View Post
    It would helpful to also mention noise. This is especially important with the fan noise venting directly out the back of the case. My existing Nvidia card is normally silent for desktop use, but makes a loud screeching easily noticeable from another room when playing modern games as the fan spins up to full speed.

    My biggest problem with Nvidia (I won't use ATI/AMD) is how hard it is to compare between generations. For example I have an 8800GT in my computer and would be happy to upgrade to a newer card if I could find out approximately what the functional and performance difference is to cards available now. Unfortunately benchmarks (including this one) operate on cards from roughly the same generation so they aren't of any help. I did spot an Nvidia slide the other day where it implied current cards are twice as fast as mine, but twice is not anywhere near enough to convince me to upgrade.
    I upgraded my geforce 8800GT 640mb that is one of the first 8800 serie's card.
    I wanted to be able to play starcraft 2 in wine at 1080p resolution and the game was faster with the geforce 550.
    For me the upgrade was worth it but then i did not have a huge requirment list.

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    Default starcraft 2 in linux!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dizzey View Post
    I upgraded my geforce 8800GT 640mb that is one of the first 8800 serie's card.
    I wanted to be able to play starcraft 2 in wine at 1080p resolution and the game was faster with the geforce 550.
    For me the upgrade was worth it but then i did not have a huge requirment list.
    Could you tell me your configuration ie mobo cpu...? And what distribution/kernel you are running?
    Also how much tweaking was necessary to get starcraft working under wine?
    did you use winetricks for the task? or crossover? or just plain wine?

    I'm interested in getting a desktop that can play starcraft under wine and thats my highest requirement!
    I want a cheap built so probably I'll go with a phenom(can get a quad-core for $85 !!!) and the geforce 550 ti(since it looks like ati/amd is still a long way from having reliable drivers under linux). What do you guys think?

    At some point I was thinking of getting a A8-3850 which makes a cheaper built than the above but I doubt the state of linux drivers/support is as good right now. And by that I mean out of the box experience cause I don't have the patience to build from source anything or compile kernels...

    Thanks for any advice!
    Last edited by jarg; 12-11-2011 at 11:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jarg View Post
    Also how much tweaking was necessary to get starcraft working under wine?
    did you use winetricks for the task? or crossover? or just plain wine?
    There's no need in tweaking (mostly). Any fresh Wine from 1.3.x series would do. It might be needed to "winetricks wininet" because Wine's builtin implementation for this lib sometimes causes problems with SC2 installer and auto-updater (download progress stalls followed by unexpected CTD).

    Quote Originally Posted by jarg View Post
    I want a cheap built so probably I'll go with a phenom(can get a quad-core for $85 !!!) and the geforce 550 ti(since it looks like ati/amd is still a long way from having reliable drivers under linux). What do you guys think?
    Any 3GHz+ Phenom X4 would do (actually any X4 CPU would do, and even any hi-freq - i.e. 3GHz and up - X2 CPU would do). Make sure to have at least 4Gb of RAM to achieve smooth system behavior. As for videocard - if you're aiming at playing SC2 and not targeting future OpenGL games which use complicated render paths (so far there's only one game engine that's capable doing this - namely Unigine) - you'd get better FPS with fast card based on previous generation of
    nVIDIA GPU. Fast "OC" version of GTS-250 with 1Gb VRAM would perform faster than 550 Ti. Any GTX-270 card with wide memory bus width would also be faster. nVIDIA cards from 4xx/5xx series are great if you care about GPU compuiting power, tessellation and alike, but are slower than previous generations when it comes to traditional renderpaths from DirectX 9 and OpenGL2.x world.

    P.S. And make sure you head with nVIDIA way - cards from AMD are good but drivers are still not so stables as nVIDIA's are.
    P.P.S. Also be sure to use fresh enough version of Wine, at least 1.3.28, as there were a lot of changes in d3d emulation that boosted FPS a lot. Note, that you still won't be able to set highest quality settings in SC2 due to some render bugs showing up when shaders quality is set to be anything higher than "medium". To display in-game FPS counter use Ctrl+Alt+F combo (or Ctrl+Shift+F, or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F - don't remember which is it exactly).

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    Quote Originally Posted by grotgrot View Post
    I have an 8800GT in my computer and would be happy to upgrade to a newer card if I could find out approximately what the functional and performance difference is to cards available now. I did spot an Nvidia slide the other day where it implied current cards are twice as fast as mine, but twice is not anywhere near enough to convince me to upgrade.
    I'd say an 8800GT is roughly equivalent to a GTX 560 in terms of bang for buck. Modern Nvidia cards will have more video acceleration features (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo ) and
    they will also support OpenGL 4.x (and DirectX11) with the main feature there being tessellation. Whether any of that stuff is compelling enough to upgrade is your call.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by grotgrot View Post
    It would helpful to also mention noise. This is especially important with the fan noise venting directly out the back of the case. My existing Nvidia card is normally silent for desktop use, but makes a loud screeching easily noticeable from another room when playing modern games as the fan spins up to full speed.
    I had recently changed my GPU from GTS-250 1Gb from Gigabyte (so-called ultra-durable series, equipped with nice cooler by Zalman and solid-state capacitors) to GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1Gb from Zotac. Both cards were fab-overclocked, don't remember exactly what were the clocks for GTS-250. Zotac GTX 550 Ti I has runs with 1GHz base frequency which gives 2200MHz for VRAM (4400MHz effective DDR rate) and 2000MHz for GPU cores. When it comes to noise it isn't an extreme with 550 Ti but still it's pretty noticeable when GPU cooler runs at full throttle. I would recommend installing non-stock GPU cooler from respected vendor like Zalman in order to get more silent gaming experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by grotgrot View Post
    My biggest problem with Nvidia (I won't use ATI/AMD) is how hard it is to compare between generations. For example I have an 8800GT in my computer and would be happy to upgrade to a newer card if I could find out approximately what the functional and performance difference is to cards available now. Unfortunately benchmarks (including this one) operate on cards from roughly the same generation so they aren't of any help. I did spot an Nvidia slide the other day where it implied current cards are twice as fast as mine, but twice is not anywhere near enough to convince me to upgrade.
    You write that you've got 8800GT, which is then had been re-branded as 9800 and a bit later had been rebranded to GTS-250. Essentially 8800, 9800 and GTS-250 are all just the same GPU. As I had written above I've been a long time user of GTS-250 until recently had done an "upgrade" to the GTX 550 Ti. Speed difference between this cards turned out to be negligible. In older apps like Q3A or HL2 under Wine I got less FPS than I've been getting with GTS-250. On the other hand apps which use complicated shaders (especially tessellation ones) runs way faster on GTX 550 Ti. Cuda calculations also seem to run faster on 550 Ti. In my case it makes sense as I'm doing some OpenGL programming as a hobby and like to use Cuda for doing intensive calculations. For ordinary gamer it wouldn't make sense to change his fast 8800/9800/GTS-250 to the GTX 550 Ti as it would result in performance drop in most of the available linux games. Same stands for gaming under Wine - it is very likely that FPS would regress there too as wined3d implementation doesn't use any OpenGL3.x/4.x fancy computation features that may bring the difference and improve FPS numbers on "Tesla" and "Fermi" GPUs.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexa2 View Post
    long time user of GTS-250 until recently had done an "upgrade" to the GTX 550 Ti. Speed difference between this cards turned out to be negligible.
    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I have this problem every time I feel like upgrading which makes it so painful. tomshardware used to have all the video cards across several generations in the same charts which made it a lot easier to tell if one card was approximately twice as fast or ten times as fast as another.

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