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Asus GeForce GTX 950 Strix Review

Today we get our first look at Nvidia's latest GPU in Asus' GeForce GTX 950 Strix.

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Asus' Strix-series cards are instantly recognizable by their familiar shroud design, styled in such a way to make them resemble the face of an owl. The company sticks with that aesthetic for the GeForce GTX 950 Strix. In fact, its shroud design appears to be nearly identical to that of the GTX 960 Strix we reviewed earlier this year.

The GTX 950 Strix's PCB is actually a fair bit larger than its more powerful counterpart. This card measures 218mm long and is 100mm tall, though the heat pipes extend out the top by an additional 10mm. Being on the budget end of its line-up, Asus doesn't include a backplate. As a result, the card is 39mm wide, which is 2mm narrower than the 960 Strix we looked at previously. Despite those sizable dimensions, the Strix only weighs 482g.

Asus arms its take on the GTX 950 with a DirectCU II cooler. But unlike many of the similarly-equipped boards of the past, the company only uses two heat pipes this time around. At least they're both beefy 8mm plated copper pipes, which pass through an array of horizontal aluminum fins. There's no ignoring the 950's pedigree though; the heat sink is noticeably smaller than what you'd find on more expensive graphics cards. 

The DirectCU II thermal solution only comes in contact with the GPU. The VRMs and memory modules are cooled by air passing over them. There is plenty of open space around the components, so provided your case has good ventilation, you shouldn't have an issue. Air gets sucked in over the heat sink and blown back into the case by this design.

Asus uses two 80mm fans to cool the GTX 950 Strix. They're designed to remain stationary until the GPU reaches 60 degrees C, after which they start ramping up slowly to remain as quiet as possible.

The GTX 950 Strix is built using Asus’ Auto-Extreme technology. Though it's not the first card produced this way, Asus remains the only manufacturer using a fully automated assembly process. Asus claims that automation allows the company to eliminate gloves from the assembly line, which further limits dust exposure.

These cards also feature Super Alloy Power II components, which are built with a special alloy that has magnetic- and heat-resistant properties, as well as corrosion resistance.

Power delivery is handled by a single six-pin PCIe connector facing upwards. The plug is oriented so that the clip faces out, making it easier to remove the power cable when needed.

Along the top edge of the card, near its I/O bracket, you’ll find a single SLI interface. The GTX 950 is capable of two-card SLI, which is something we haven't seen from this GPU class before. In the past, SLI support was reserved for higher-end cards.

Asus chose a unique layout for its video outputs. Stacked in the center (rather than the bottom) of the bracket, you’ll find two DVI connectors. One of them is DVI-D; the other is a DVI-I. Flanking either side of the DVD-I connector is one DisplayPort output and one HDMI port.

You won’t find a lot of extras inside the box, but Asus does a nice job on the packaging. Too often, the entry-level products arrive in a foam reinforced bag and a basic carton. Asus instead went with a box that offers plenty of impact resistance in case it is dropped or bumped during shipping.

Inside you’ll find the card, an instruction manual and a driver disc. The optical media includes GPU Tweak II for overclocking and XSplit Gamecaster to record and share game play. Asus does not include a DVI-to-VGA adapter, which may be a problem for owners of older monitors.

Kevin Carbotte is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews of graphics cards and virtual reality hardware.