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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 & 1050 Ti Review

Conclusion

Nvidia is adding two new Pascal-based cards to its portfolio—one looks like a winner and the other...well, not so much.

The GeForce GTX 1050 employs the company’s GP107 processor with one of its six SMs disabled. The 640-core GPU operates at a base frequency of 1354 MHz and is complemented by 2 GB of GDDR5 at 7 GT/s. In the DirectX 12 games where AMD’s architecture typically shines, Nvidia manages to hold off the Radeon RX 460 4 GB. In DirectX 11-based titles, it’s quite a bit faster. Only one benchmark—Doom—puts the Radeon on top, and then only by a hair.  

GeForce GTX 1050 Ti wields a complete GP107 with all 768 of its CUDA cores enabled and 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. There’s no doubt it’s faster than the vanilla 1050; we’re just not sure the difference is worth $30 more.

The narrow gap between 1050 and 1050 Ti is due at least in part to Nvidia’s 75 W ceiling on both cards. Fitting the 1050 Ti in under that threshold requires lower clock rates, whereas the 1050 spins up a little more freely. Board partners who add a six-pin power connector and exceed the official TDP have plenty of room to overclock and hit more aggressive frequencies. The MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X 4 GB our German team tested is a perfect example; it ran stably at 1900 MHz.

Should you buy either card? That’s going to depend on a few unknown (yet related) variables: market price, competitive pressure, and availability.

GeForce GTX 1050 Ti should be available starting today, and Nvidia says it’ll sell for $140+. We already know the GeForce GTX 1050 isn’t expected for a couple of weeks yet. Nvidia tells us that one should start at $110. Then again, we’ve already seen GeForce GTX 1080, 1070, and 1060 launch at one price, garnering value-based praise, and then climb. AMD separately sent an email telling us it’s dropping the price of Radeon RX 470 and 460 as low as $170 and $100, respectively. But neither AMD nor Nvidia have satisfactorily explained to us the relevance of suggested pricing when board partners can opportunistically add premiums and dramatically alter the attractiveness of a given product. In some cases, we still consider previous-gen cards for our Best GPUs column because they make more sense than the latest marked-up models.

If GeForce GTX 1050 shows up at $110, it’ll almost assuredly take the place of GeForce GTX 950 in our monthly list of recommendations, besting the Radeon RX 460 (even if the 460 successfully lands at AMD’s $100 price point). This is the card able to change mainstream gaming, should Nvidia execute as-promised. The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti at $140 doesn’t do enough beyond the vanilla 1050, at least in the case of our power-limited GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4G OC, to warrant spending extra on it.

When it comes to the competition, Radeon RX 470 probably should have been a $170 card right out of the gate. We aren’t sure why it's still selling for $200, particularly after AMD made such a big deal about $200 RX 480s and then failed to maintain that model's price. The Radeon RX 460 is still a compelling mainstream board, particularly if you’re enjoying the latest DX12-based games. In older titles it’s beaten soundly. Bottom line: neither of AMD’s price adjustments overshadow what we see as the strength of a vanilla GeForce GTX 1050.

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  • Corwin65
    Seeing pricing at $200 for the 1050 Ti.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    yeah, no way in heck the 1050 sells at 110, probably will be much closer to 150-170
    Reply
  • WildCard999
    EVGA GTX 1050 ti around $150
    http://www.evga.com/Products/ProductList.aspx?type=0&family=GeForce+10+Series+Family&chipset=GTX+1050+Ti
    EVGA GTX 1050 around $120
    http://www.evga.com/Products/ProductList.aspx?type=0&family=GeForce+10+Series+Family&chipset=GTX+1050

    It will probably be about $20-$30 more for the SSC & FTW versions.
    Reply
  • elbert
    Leaks suggested the 1050ti is as fast as the 960 and R9 280. I would love to have seen if that was true. My 280 is getting old and needs an upgrade. Any chance those can be added to the benchmarks?
    Reply
  • tslot05qsljgo9ed
    Blind Troll

    Zortac GTX 1050 Mini: $109.95
    Zortac GTX 1050 Ti Mini: $139.95

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&IsNodeId=1&Description=1050&bop=And&SrchInDesc=zotac&Page=1&PageSize=36&order=BESTMATCH
    Reply
  • Onus
    I wonder if a low-profile single-slot GTX1050 will come out...
    Reply
  • Corwin65
    18776894 said:
    Blind Troll

    Zortac GTX 1050 Mini: $109.95
    Zortac GTX 1050 Ti Mini: $139.95

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&IsNodeId=1&Description=1050&bop=And&SrchInDesc=zotac&Page=1&PageSize=36&order=BESTMATCH

    If you're in the market snag one of those before prices jump.
    Reply
  • cdrkf
    @Elbert no way the 1050ti is going to best the 280, it's just not got enough resources behind it.

    You'd be far better looking at an RX 470 / 480 card or one of the 1060 cards imo. The only advantage to the 1050ti over your current card is lower power consumption, although the 280 isn't that bad anyhow.
    Reply
  • artk2219
    All I am seeing is a nice pricewar brewing for the midrange segment. The RX 460 needs to drop to 90 to 95. and the 470 should ideally drop to 150 to 160. On Nvidias end the 1050 is just fine at 110, but the ti needs to drop to 130 to 135. Either way, i would save a little more and take a used R9 290 over any of them, but thats me. The only real reason to be crazy excited about the 1050, is if your limited to a single slot case and need a low power but decent performance card. In which case the 1050's are an excellent option, we really could use a nice single slot card.
    Reply
  • spdragoo
    @Elbert: Didn't find direct comparisons to the R9 280, but Techspot's review showed benchmark comparisons to the R9 380 (which is pretty much on par with the 280):

    http://www.techspot.com/review/1269-nvidia-geforce-gtx-1050/

    @CDRKF: Technically, you're correct: the GTX 1050Ti didn't (consistently) put in a better performance than the GTX 960 or R9 380. However, there were a couple of games that it beat them in (beating the 960 more often than the 380), & even when it didn't beat them its performance was right in the ballpark. To me, that says that either the 1050 or 1050Ti would make an excellent card for someone wanting to replace a broken R9 280/280 or GTX 960, but doesn't have the budget for a GTX 1060 or RX 470/480, & especially a good choice for someone whose system (*cough* OEM garbage *cough*) doesn't allow them to use a GPU that requires PCIe power connectors...as long as they're not expecting to game any higher than 1080p resolutions.
    Reply