The sub-$200 market-segment has been NVIDIA's problem area in terms of price-performance competitiveness with AMD, even though the company has had higher volumes. AMD's recent architecture launches focused heavily on this general market-segment with $250, $210, $180, and $110 products. AMD has a smaller war chest than NVIDIA and is hence focusing on the biggest segment within PC gaming - competitive e-Sports. Most games released for the competitive gaming crowd run great on sub-$300 graphics cards, and it's only blockbuster AAA titles with cutting-edge production designs that prompt people to invest in faster graphics solutions, where NVIDIA has established an unbeatable lead.
NVIDIA is getting hawkish and wants itself a bigger slice of the sub-$200 market-segment targeting e-Sports players. The company launched the $139.99 GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and $109.99 GTX 1050 earlier this month with market availability and performance reviews set for today. The two SKUs are based on NVIDIA's smallest implementation of its "Pascal" GPU architecture, the GP107 silicon. This tiny chip packs up to 768 CUDA cores, 48 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 128-bit GDDR5 memory interface, holding 4 GB of memory on the GTX 1050 Ti.
These are still "Pascal" CUDA cores that tick at 1.35-1.45 GHz. NVIDIA's decision to go with a 128-bit wide memory bus shows that the GTX 1050 Ti has been built to a cost (with no more than four memory chips), which prepares NVIDIA for a price war with better-endowed (costlier to make) AMD offerings. NVIDIA managed to get the power consumption of the GTX 1050 Ti below the 75W mark, which makes it capable of sustaining itself on slot power alone. Its nearest rival from AMD, the Radeon RX 470 4GB, needs an additional 6-pin PCIe power connector to feed its 120W TDP setup.
In this review, we are testing the MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X, a premium custom-design graphics card by MSI that combines a factory-overclocked GTX 1050 Ti implementation with the company's signature Twin Frozr cooling solution, which turns its fans off when the GPU is idling, and a custom-design PCB that features an additional 6-pin PCIe power connector to help bolster the card's overclocking headroom.
GTX 1050 Ti
|MSI GTX 1050 |
Ti Gaming X
|GeForce GTX |
1060 3 GB
|Memory Size||2 GB||4 GB||2 GB||2 GB||2 GB||4 GB||4 GB||4 GB||8 GB||4 GB||8 GB||3 GB|
|Memory Bus Width||128 bit||128 bit||128 bit||128 bit||256 bit||128 bit||128 bit||256 bit||512 bit||256 bit||256 bit||192 bit|
|Core Clock||1024 MHz+||1200 MHz||1354 MHz+||1127 MHz+||970 MHz||1290 MHz+||1354 MHz+||1206 MHz||1000 MHz||1051 MHz+||1266 MHz||1506 MHz+|
|Memory Clock||1653 MHz||1750 MHz||1752 MHz||1753 MHz||1375 MHz||1752 MHz||1752 MHz||1650 MHz||1500 MHz||1750 MHz||2000 MHz||2002 MHz|
ArchitectureThe GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and its sibling, the GTX 1050, are based on NVIDIA's smallest silicon from the "Pascal" family, the GP107. With a die-area of 132 mm² and a transistor count of 3.3 billion, this chip is tiny, having been built with very clear cost objectives in mind.
NVIDIA has still made sure that unless a design choice doesn't substantially deviate from its cost objectives, it will implement it. A good example of this is the fact that the GP107 silicon, despite featuring just 768 CUDA cores spread across six streaming multiprocessors (SMs), is split into two graphics processing clusters (GPCs) of three SMs, each.
The decision to spread six streaming multiprocessors across two GPCs means that three SMs share a Raster Engine, specialized units with geometry/tessellation units. The streaming multiprocessor, the indivisible subunit of the GPU, is identical in design to those featured on NVIDIA's fastest TITAN X Pascal graphics cards. Each packs 128 CUDA cores, a PolyMorph Engine, and dedicated geometry processing components. The two GPCs are cushioned by a 1 MB L2 cache wired to a new-generation GigaThread Engine - the GPU's traffic cop - and a 128-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface.
At its reference clock speeds, the GPU has 112 GB/s of memory bandwidth at its disposal. This is bolstered by NVIDIA's lossless memory compression tech, which should increase effective bandwidth in a small but significant way. On the GTX 1080, NVIDIA claims this gain to be 20 percent in the best-case scenario. Something like that would certainly come in handy for the GTX 1050 Ti.
The "Pascal" architecture supports Asynchronous Compute as standardized by Microsoft. It adds to that with its own variation of the concept with "Dynamic Load Balancing."
You will receive:
- Graphics card
The MSI GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X follows the company's red and black theme introduced with the most recent TwinFrozr coolers. A backplate is not available and doesn't make much sense in this low-cost market segment. Dimensions of the card are 23.0 cm x 13.0 cm.
Installation requires two slots in your system.
Display connectivity options include a DVI port, an HDMI port, and a DisplayPort. Unlike previous NVIDIA cards, the DVI port no longer includes an analog signal, so you'll have to use an active adapter. NVIDIA also updated DisplayPort to be 1.2 certified and 1.3/1.4 ready, which enables support for 4K @ 120 Hz and 5K @ 60 Hz or 8K @ 60 Hz with two cables.
The GPU also comes with an HDMI sound device. It is HDMI 2.0b compatible, which supports HD audio and Blu-ray 3D movies. The GPU video encoding unit has been updated to support HEVC at 10-bit and 12-bit.
The GeForce GTX 1050 Series does not support SLI.
Pictured above are the front and back, showing the disassembled board. High-res versions are also available (front, back).
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