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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.

Conclusion

When I started this review, I expected the GeForce GTX 950 to deliver performance closer to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 750 Ti. That board served up excellent frame rates at a good price back when it surfaced. And it was the first Maxwell-based GPU, so I didn't believe big efficiency gains were still possible.

Nvidia has a habit of launching new cards aimed at replacing hardware from two generations prior. They often have similar performance characteristics as the outgoing series with a slightly lower price tag. A great example of this is the GTX 960, which was billed as an upgrade for GeForce GTX 660 owners and enabled similar frame rates as the GTX 760 at a lower price point. So, to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of Asus’ GeForce GTX 950 Strix would be an understatement. In almost all cases, the GTX 950 Strix barely trailed our GeForce GTX 960. After overclocking, it closed the gap even more.

AMD’s competition at this price point, frankly, doesn't keep up. There were no occasions in our testing where the Radeon R7 370 finished ahead of the Asus GTX 950 Strix. Not only that, but Nvidia’s GPU draws less power, too.

Nvidia is aiming the GTX 950 at gamers playing on 1080p panels. The company is putting a lot of emphasis on making this a great card for MOBA games, and I would tend to agree that the GTX 950 is a satisfactory solution there. Games like DOTA II and League of Legends benefit from high frame rates, yet demand far less from the GPU than the titles in our test suite. If a game like GTA V can be shown to run at high frame rates, DOTA II will perform significantly better.

Nvidia also claims it's enabling significant response time gains. Unfortunately, without modifying a mouse, there’s no real way to track this. I wasn’t able to quantify the company's message. However, simply increasing the speed at which frames are rendered will improve response time, and there’s every reason to believe that dropping a buffering level would improve that further.

I’ve reviewed several GTX 960s in the past year, and I’ve said over and over that card is a good value. My opinion changes today. With the performance difference between the new GTX 950 and our GTX 960s, it’s impossible to recommend the latter over the former at this point. The only real benefit you get from a 960 would come from 4GB of on-board memory, which might help at even higher resolutions in SLI.

Asus’ GTX 950 Strix is an excellent entry-level card. If you have a panel with a resolution lower than 1080p, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by spending more money on something else. For 1080p, if you aren’t willing to step up to a GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 390, this GPU is likely your best choice, and Asus’ Strix model offers excellent cooling and quiet operation to go with its strong performance.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards For The MoneyMORE: All Graphics Articles

MORE: Graphics Cards in the ForumMORE: How Well Do Workstation Graphics Cards Play Games?

Kevin Carbotte is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware, covering Graphics.

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  • g-unit1111
    So how does this compare in price to the GTX 960? If it's lower by about $20 - $30 I would think this card would be selling like hot cakes.
    Reply
  • Math Geek
    very interesting looking card. nvidia has been doing a lot of this lately offering almost the same performance for less money than a pretty new card. it indeed looks like an awesome budget card well above the 750ti and almost as good as the 960 for a lot less.

    will be very interested in the other versions of this that show up. nvidia trumps amd yet again. *sigh* when will the carnage end?? please amd do something to stay relevant!!!
    Reply
  • Math Geek
    So how does this compare in price to the GTX 960? If it's lower by about $20 - $30 I would think this card would be selling like hot cakes.

    article says about $160 so more like $40 less than the amp edition they compared it to. however, with prices at $175 or so on the low end it is closer to an average of $20 or so price drop. which is why he states the 960 should lose the recommendation to this card since it is almost the same performance for a less. if your goal is 1080p at decent frames according to this review there is little reason to spend the extra money on the 960 over the 950. if course this is only price speculation. once they are out, the price will drop more than likely making this even more of a good deal.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    This might be the final nail in most of AMD's rebadged products coffins. If my HD5770 decided to die on me in the near future, I would seriously consider the GTX950.
    Reply
  • Math Geek
    on the high end amd still looks ok with the new stuff but the mid to low end they are clearly not taking the nod at any price point. next gpu chart will probably be all nvidia until the very end when it might dual suggest the 390 with the 970........ maybe......
    Reply
  • Onus
    I noticed some inconsistencies in the charts; sometimes the GTX750Ti is there, sometimes it isn't. To me, this is the card the GTX950 replaces, although I am disappointed it needs a 6-pin power connector.
    The card does look like a winner though, and reinforces a lesson I've ignored to the detriment of my wallet more than once; for a single monitor, $150-$175 is all that needs to be spent on a graphics card in order to get good settings for games.
    I have to agree with the sentiment that AMD better get its tail in gear if they want to remain relevant.
    Reply
  • harly2
    I think the competition is the 370x, way to get it wrong again Toms.
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    I noticed some inconsistencies in the charts; sometimes the GTX750Ti is there, sometimes it isn't. To me, this is the card the GTX950 replaces, although I am disappointed it needs a 6-pin power connector.
    The card does look like a winner though, and reinforces a lesson I've ignored to the detriment of my wallet more than once; for a single monitor, $150-$175 is all that needs to be spent on a graphics card in order to get good settings for games.
    I have to agree with the sentiment that AMD better get its tail in gear if they want to remain relevant.


    I went through the charts. Looks like the only one missing 750ti is Metro at 1080p. I've requested the image be amended. FYI: min 30, avg 39.625, max 54 on the 750ti.

    Nvidia has moved the 750ti to the lower price point, but keeping it on the market.
    The 950 isn't being positioned by Nvidia as an upgrade from the 750ti, as the performance isn't a big enough jump for most consumers to make the change.

    It is however a notable improvement in performance over a 750ti.
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    So how does this compare in price to the GTX 960? If it's lower by about $20 - $30 I would think this card would be selling like hot cakes.

    article says about $160 so more like $40 less than the amp edition they compared it to. however, with prices at $175 or so on the low end it is closer to an average of $20 or so price drop. which is why he states the 960 should lose the recommendation to this card since it is almost the same performance for a less. if your goal is 1080p at decent frames according to this review there is little reason to spend the extra money on the 960 over the 950. if course this is only price speculation. once they are out, the price will drop more than likely making this even more of a good deal.

    Bingo.
    There's very little reason to get a GTX 960 over a 950 at this point in my view. The extra money, albeit only $40 or so, would be better served in a different component, or on a game.

    Reply
  • logainofhades
    16493184 said:
    I noticed some inconsistencies in the charts; sometimes the GTX750Ti is there, sometimes it isn't. To me, this is the card the GTX950 replaces, although I am disappointed it needs a 6-pin power connector.
    The card does look like a winner though, and reinforces a lesson I've ignored to the detriment of my wallet more than once; for a single monitor, $150-$175 is all that needs to be spent on a graphics card in order to get good settings for games.
    I have to agree with the sentiment that AMD better get its tail in gear if they want to remain relevant.

    Maybe that card will be a 940?
    Reply