Today, NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 950, its new entry-mainstream graphics card priced at $160. Sub-$200 has always been a difficult area for NVIDIA because of price-performance comparisons to AMD, with the company selling more volumes only because of a better-proliferated sales and marketing network. AMD's recent product launches, such as the Radeon R7 360, R7 370, and R7 380, put even more heat on NVIDIA. Particularly the Radeon R7 370 irritates NVIDIA. Priced at $149, the card offers better performance than the similarly priced GTX 750 Ti. It actually takes a $199 GTX 960 to outperform it, which leaves the company's $150-ish price-point rather vulnerable. This necessitates a new SKU, the GeForce GTX 950.
NVIDIA gave the GeForce GTX 950 a solid and cost-effective foundation in the 28 nm GM206 silicon on which the GTX 960 is also based. This is a tiny chip, and compared to the R7 370, it has a narrower 128-bit memory bus for just four memory chips on the card. NVIDIA makes up for some of the deficit with lossless texture compression tech, which improves effective bandwidth by around 20%. The sheer pixel-crunching muscle of the Maxwell architecture takes care of the rest, which creates immense room for future cost-cutting measures.
The GeForce GTX 950 is carved out of the GM206 silicon, by disabling two of its eight streaming multiprocessor (SMM) units. It's a rather huge 25% drop compared to the GTX 960 and results in a CUDA core count of 768. At 48, the TMU count is proportionately lower as well. At 32, the ROP count is the same, and so is the memory bus of 128-bit. 2 GB is the standard memory amount, and unlike with the GTX 960, we don't expect NVIDIA to introduce 4 GB variants. The core is clocked at 1024 MHz, with a GPU Boost frequency of 1188 MHz, and the memory ticks at 6.60 GHz (GDDR5-effective), which gives you 105.6 GB/s memory bandwidth.
In this review, we will test the MSI GTX 950 Gaming, which comes with the company signature TwinFrozr cooling solution featuring a dual-slot, dual-fan cooling configuration. GPU frequency has been increased to a base clock of 1127 MHz, memory is overclocked too, by just 10 MHz, to 1663 MHz.
The price increase of 10 dollars over NVIDIA's reference design is reasonable.
GTX 750 Ti
|MSI GTX |
|Memory Size||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||3072 MB||4096 MB|
|Memory Bus Width||128 bit||256 bit||256 bit||256 bit||128 bit||128 bit||256 bit||128 bit||256 bit||256 bit||384 bit||512 bit|
|Core Clock||1020 MHz+||925 MHz||975 MHz||1050 MHz||1024 MHz+||1127 MHz+||980 MHz+||1127 MHz+||918 MHz||970 MHz||1000 MHz||947 MHz|
|Memory Clock||1350 MHz||1400 MHz||1400 MHz||1400 MHz||1653 MHz||1663 MHz||1502 MHz||1753 MHz||1375 MHz||1375 MHz||1500 MHz||1250 MHz|