MSI GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X 4 GB Review 61

MSI GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X 4 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • According to MSI, the GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X will retail for $165. General GTX 1050 Ti pricing will start at $140.
  • Good price/performance
  • Extremely quiet
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Fans turn off in idle
  • Modest power supply requirements
  • Very low idle power consumption
  • Low temperatures
  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4
  • High pricing by MSI
  • Overall performance very limited
  • Overclocking capped by driver (could be a bug)
  • No SLI support
  • Memory not overclocked (only when using MSI OC profile)
  • DVI output no longer includes analog VGA signals
NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti are clearly aimed at the low-cost graphics card segment, which sells high volumes, mostly to casual gamers. AMD has had a very strong position here with cards like the R9 380 and RX 460. AMD also recently introduced a price drop for the RX 470 to ensure they stay on top, which won't be the case if NVIDIA's aggressive entry into the sub-$150 segment with the GTX 1050 Ti we are covering in this review comes to fruition. Under the hood, both the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti introduce a small revolution; instead of working with their decade-long partner TSMC, NVIDIA opted for Samsung's 14 nanometer production process for their GP107 graphics processor. This not only lets them optimize cost, but also saves TSMC 16 nm capacity for bigger chips that bring in more profit.

MSI has overclocked their GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X by a decent amount, which should provide a rough 5% performance increase over reference clocks. Unfortunately, we don't have any reference-clocked cards, so the exact number is unknown. Averaged over our performance suite, the MSI GTX is about 30% faster than the GTX 950, a Ti model was never released. Compared to AMD's RX 460, the performance increase is about 25%; the card is 25% behind the RX 470, right in-between the 460 and 470. This means that you won't be able to play the latest AAA titles with maximum details at 1080p with the GTX 1050 Ti; rather, you have to make compromises and turn down details, or stick to MOBA-type games since they usually don't have such demanding graphics.

Just like all other Pascal GPUs, power consumption of the GTX 1050 Series is outstanding, showing NVIDIA's clear lead over AMD in this metric. With only 3 watts in non-gaming states, power consumption when not gaming is also extremely low - lower than on any other graphics card we have seen before. Gaming power consumption is also very modest, staying below 75 W at all times, which will work well when it comes to upgrading older pre-built systems that usually come with weak power supplies. MSI added an extra 6-pin power connector to their card (the reference design relies on PCIe bus power only). I'm not 100% convinced if it is necessary for the majority of users, but it could help when doing serious overclocking with power limit increases.

MSI is using their famous TwinFrozr thermal solution on the Gaming X, but in a cost-optimized version with just one heatpipe. Still, thanks to the GP107's incredible power efficiency and MSI's well-tuned fan profile in BIOS, the cooler is good enough to provide almost inaudible gaming once the card is installed in a case. The fans also include the idle-fan-off feature which stops the fans in idle and light gaming for a noise-free experience during Internet browsing and productivity.

Overclocking on both our GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti cards was more problematic than on previous products. It looks as though NVIDIA has capped memory overclocking to 2002 MHz. GPU overclocking is limited too, to a maximum boost clock of 1911 MHz, but the cap doesn't seem to be implemented correctly as clocks beyond that will provide more GPU performance with the displayed number staying at 1911 MHz. We have not received any information from NVIDIA on whether this is a bug or working as intended to limit overclocking potential for a large enough gap to the GTX 1060 series. We tested three drivers, including yesterday's public 375.63 WHQL and they all show the same behavior; let's hope this gets addressed in the near future.

MSI's pricing for the GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X is set to be around $165, which is $25 more than the "starting at $140" price provided by NVIDIA. In my opinion, this increase is way too big since it pushes the card into a territory where the RX 470 is the better option due to higher performance at the same price point. The GTX 1050 Ti definitely has a better power/heat/noise ratio than the RX 470, but I'd consider it as an option because performance trumps everything in this segment where every dollar counts. The Radeon R9 380 is completely obsolete now, with the spotlight being on the RX 470 and GTX 1050 Ti. Even at reference pricing of $140, I feel slightly tempted to recommend the RX 470 for its higher performance; with the price of AAA games these days, the difference is basically to skip one game and spend that money on a better graphics card, which will bring you more joy in all the other games you play. Another option could be the GTX 1060 3 GB, which is slightly more expensive than the RX 470 (after its price drops), but offers a bit better performance, especially in older titles.
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