Biostar has reemerged in the mainstream GPU market, this time with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 950, targeting the 1080p budget gamer with its latest endeavor in the graphics card arena.
A graphics card from Biostar is not something you would expect to see (being that it primarily manufactures motherboards), but the company has been making select low-mid tier GPUs for some time now. This latest offering mirrors that of a few months ago, when the company released a version of the GTX 750 Ti, so it makes perfect sense that Biostar would try its hand at releasing a version of the GTX 750 Ti's successor.
This new GPU has a base clock of 1026 MHz and a 1190 MHz boost clock. The 2 GB of GDDR5 runs over a 128-bit memory bus at 6610 MHz. As far as GTX 950s go, Biostar's VN9505XPX1 reference core clock speeds are slow when compared to the likes of the Asus GTX 950 Strix or Gigabyte's GTX 950 Xtreme Gaming graphics cards.
However, we don't think Biostar is trying to compete with these options, despite the massive fans and gamer-friendly shroud. But it's not like the GPU is any less of a GTX 950 than its competition. There are two DVI outputs, a DisplayPort and an HDMI port for support for up to four displays; it has 768 second-generation Maxwell CUDA cores; and it has full DirectX 12 support.
Similar to its motherboard business, Biostar seems to be offering a budget-oriented counterpart to the massively overclocked variants that seem to be permeating the market. Hopefully, that will translate to a lower price tag for a GTX 950, but Biostar hasn't revealed any pricing information yet. However, one could surmise that if it's from Biostar, you can expect to pay less.
Derek Forrest is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware and Tom’s IT Pro. PC gaming, graphics hardware and VR devices are among his favorite topics to cover. He is a lifelong PC enthusiast, former IT administrator and a custom PC builder with a penchant for creating music, voice acting and all things geek.
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I am wondering if it is just coincidence for me.
The MSRP for this thing is $199, which is just stupid. You might as well pick up a proper 960 for that. Plus, for 30 less ($169), you can score the Zotac GTX 950 AMP! edition. The Amp looks like a shorter card at only 8.19", which makes it perfect for mATX mobos. Speed-wise, the Amp is factory overclocked at 1253-mhz (superclocked at 1405-mhz.) It's also crazy quiet too, even at full load.
I've got the Zotac GTX 950 AMP!. It's a sweet card. Definitely a steal. Before that, I was using the GTX 745 (oem), which is shockingly not terrible. With the older 745, you can play modern games like Witcher 3 on it with only a few tweaks. Games like Dying Light played great at high setting at 1080p on that gtx745. The Zotac, however is another creature. It's easily 2.5x as powerful.
No sense in going for the Biostar when it's more expensive and less powerful. Right now, if you're looking for a 950 then the Zotac GTX 950 Amp! is a much better deal. Unless you absolutely MUST play every game at 4x and ultra settings, this is really a great card for 1080p gaming. It's not just a MOBA card like NVIDIA would have you believe.
Design looks bad and almost comical
Price is too high for the market they are trying to attract.
Nice Try Biostar.:) :) :( :( :( 2 outta 5
However, you would be doing the 950 a huge disservice to say that it's for low end gaming. It's really not. Let me tell ya. Like I said, prior to going with the Zotac GTX 950 Amp, I was gaming on a tiny OEM 745. I've seen vids where people talked crap about that little card, but you could actually play some pretty recent games on it.
On the 745, I could happily play games like Arkham, Witcher 3, Dying Light, Wolfenstein, Fallout 4, and so on. TBH, the number of adjustments that I had to make to get it comfortably playable were few. The one that pushed the 745 the hardest was Witcher 3, but that pushes every card pretty hard. In most cases, the 745 ran these games quite nicely.
What I'm saying is, if a lowly 745 is capable of running these games in a satisfactory manner then a 950 is nothing to sneeze at. The 950 outperforms the 745 by 2.5-to-:1.
The 950 and even the 960 would be inadequate if you're the type that absolutely needs to crank to UHQ at 4k and at 120 fps. In that case, you should be targeting some SLI rig. For 1080p gaming, which is by no means an outdated standard, the 950 will perform like a champ.
I will say this about the 950 vs the 960. The latter does have more CUDA cores, but the real world performance difference is minimal. Especially with a factory overclocked card like the Zotac 950 Amp, you might not see any difference between the two.
How much mileage you get out of your games also depends on the rest of your rig too. If you're still stuck on some dual core setup with only 4GB system RAM then it doesn't matter what GPU you have. The bottleneck is going to be your other components. I think that one of the reasons why I've had a positive experience with the 745 in real world gaming has to do with the fact that my system is a hex-core i7 with 32GB system RAM. That sorta evened the playing field for me.
Regardless, avoid ANY 950 that's above the $160 or $170 mark. $200 for a ref board is unreasonable.
FWIW, I've also got another (older) system here that is on an even older GT 630 card and, believe it or not, that actually can play Dying Light a 720p and a solid 30fps.
IMO, and this is nothing against you personally, kahm007, but only a hardware snob or somebody hung up on the difference between 60fps and 61fps would say that a 950 is a low end card. As far as synthetic benchmarks go, it's pretty upper-middle of the road. In real world gaming, I can't imagine people going into a rage over what they perceive to be "bad" performance. It still kills the consoles.
Been around a long time making motherboards - guess you only go with what's popular huh?
I think a lot will depend on who sells and where. For example, if someone walks into a Best Buy looking for a GPU, they probably aren't going to find all the popular models. From my experience, Best Buy usually stocks the cheaper, higher profit making cards with inflated prices inside their stores.. and all the other ones are usually only found online. With that in mind, I could see Best Buy selling tons of these cards in their stores... besides, a lot of customers don't know the difference between card manufacturers or couldn't care less... they just want something within the price range they have. Heck, even my very first gaming GPU from years back, I remember buying it from Comp USA and I had no clue which was what... I went in with about $230 and walked out with the best card they had in stock ...AT THE STORE that I could afford. Those are the ideal customers for a card like this.