- Packaging and Contents
- Closer Look
- Overclocking Impressions
- Test Bench and Testing Methodology
- Futuremark Benchmark- 3DMark (2013)
- Futuremark Benchmark- 3DMark 11
- Futuremark Benchmark- 3DMark Vantage
- OpenGL Benchmark: Cinebench 11.5 and R15
- Unigine Benchmark Heaven 3.0 and 4.0
- Batman Arkham City
- Hitman Absolution
- Metro 2033
- Shadow of Mordor
- Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
- Sniper Elite V2
- GPU Computation Benchmark
- Folding at Home and LuxMark OpenCL Benchmark
- Overclocking Performance
- Online Purchase Links
- View All
As expected, Nvidia launched its GeForce GTX 950. The difference between the GeForce GTX 950 and the GTX 960 is that it uses the same core but with two cores disabled with lesser CUDA core counts- and the base/core clock speed. So we should be expecting ‘close enough’ performance when compared to GTX 960, in this case, the Zotac GTX 960 AMP! Edition.
Nvidia does have a reference specification mentioned in its specs page, but all of its AiB partners will be having its own variant. I will be reviewing Gigabyte GTX 950 WindForce OC Edition graphic card for this purpose.
Judging by the specification (duh!), it should be sitting somewhere between the GTX 750/750Ti and the GTX 960, though it seems awfully close to the GTX 960. But it should be noted that GTX 750/750Ti first generation Maxwell cards support DirectX 11.2, while the 900 series support DirectX 12. It will be interesting to see if disabled cores on the GPU makes any significant changes. Just like GTX 960, GTX 950 seems to be more concentrated towards MOBA players. Specs wise, it uses the 128-bit interface that supports 2GB. It’s unclear if manufacturers will have a 4GB variant, but only time will tell.
Nvidia is stressing MOBA titles like DOTA 2, League of Legends and others just like how Intel is doing with its onboard graphic component for its desktop processor. MOBA titles have a large userbase, and if Intel at some point in the future is able to cater to gamers just as how discrete cards do today, Nvidia (and AMD) will loose a large chunk of userbase all around the one when they make a jump towards that platform. But Nvidia also concentrated on some of the newer titles as well, saying that the experience will be better than the most powerful console. Fair enough…
What’s the point of GTX 960? I don’t know! But it should be cheaper as the GTX 950’s price range starts from US$140, UK £129 AND IN Rs 14,000/-.
|Model||GTX 950||GTX 960||GTX 750||GTX 650|
|GPU Engine Specs|
|Base Clock||1024 MHz||1127 MHz||1020||1058|
|Boost Clock||1188 MHz||1178 MHz||1085 MHz||NA|
|Texture Fill Rate||49.2 GigaTexels/s||72 GigaTexels/s||NA||33.9 GigaTexels/s|
|Memory Interface||128-bit GDDR5|
|Max Bandwidth||105.5GB/s||112 GB/s||80 GB/s|
|DirectX||12 API||12 API||11.2||11|
|Bus Type||PCIe 3.0|
|Maximum Digital Resolution||5120 x 3200||4096 x 2160|
|Max VGA Resolution||2048 x 1536|
|Height||11.16 cm/ 4.376 Inches||11/13 cm/ 4.38 Inches|
|Length||25.24 cm/ 9.938 Inches||24.13 cm/ 9.5 Inches||14.48 cm/ 5.7 Inches||14.48 cm/ 5.7 Inches|
|Power and Temperature|
|Maximum Temperature||90 C||98 C||95 C||98 C|
|Power Consumption||90 w||120 w||55 w||64 w|
|Minimum Power Requirement||350 W||400 W||300 W||400 W|
|Power Connections||6-pin||6-pin||NA||6 pin|
The GTX 950 has 768 CUDA cores, 265 lesser than the GTX 960. It still requires extra power from a 6-pin PCIe since the card requires 90 w and PCIe is limited to 75 W. With a combination of PCIe interface and a 6-pin PCIe power cable, it can provide a total of 150 w.
That’s not the only changes Nvidia is bringing up along with GTX 950. The GeForce Update is getting an update.
The demo below will give a better idea…
By September, Nvidia will be launching a new suite of features in BETA within its GeForce Experience. The new access allows users to start and stop recording via its in-game overlay, similar to what many DVR suits does. In a way, that’s pretty cool because it’s removing the capture card out of the picture. Nvidia is providing access to Broadcast the game via Twitch, and one shouldn’t be surprised if Nvidia would be planning to do the same with YouTube at some point.
Apart from making a concise and easy to access in-game options for Nvidia graphic cards, it will introduce GameStream. According to few news sites, Nvidia GameStream works similar to Sony Share Play on its Playstation 4. There are three modes which you can use with a friend. The first lets your friend to view your gameplay in real-time, the second option lets your friend to play the game on your behalf while mirroring same controls set in the host PC. The third lets your friend play co-op though the co-op mode largely depends on the game.
But Nvidia already had all the tools it needs for GameStream- GRID. For a long time, Nvidia has a feature where the user can stream its gameplay from his/her computer to its Shield device. GameStream is just a few steps ahead. In its BETA mode, it will provide 720p in 60FPS via its h.264 encoding. It also requires 7Mbps upload and download.
Back to the card…
With an exception the GPU’s dimensions, cooling setup and the GPU base/boost clock speed, it’s the same as stock. The Gigabyte GTX 950 WindForce OC Edition card’s base clock speed is 1102 MHz, which is a tiny 7.61% bump over its reference clock. Just like the Nvidia GTX 950, all AiB manufacturers will have their variants of the card, with a different cooling setup, dimension and clock speed.
Oh, but Gigabyte GTX950 comes with dual-link DVI-I and DVI-D, and Nvidia mentions that its reference specs do not have DVI-D.
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 WindForce OC edition’s packaging is rather slim, close enough to reassemble mid-to-high-end PCIe x1 sound card packaging.
The front packaging indicates that the GPU uses its known ‘WindForce’ labeled air cooling unit and the card is factory overclocked. It would have been nice if Gigabyte mentioned the actual overclock of the card on the side, next to the model number and the rest of the basic specs. Mentioning dimensions on the package is a habit one shouldn’t skip, but to be fair GTX 950 packaging shouldn’t be an obstacle for any type of setup. Note that this is a dual-slot card, but it has a dual slot fan.
You’ll only get the card, a manual and an installation disk. That’s it. No case badge, no PCIe adapters (which most likely nobody would need as even the basic 350w-400w units has a single 6-pin PCIe power connector) and no display output converter.
The all-matte-black cooling shroud has a two 11-blade fans. The GPU does not have any backplate. As you can see, the GPU cooler is slightly longer than the card’s PCB. But having a cover for all the connectors, including the SLI and PCIe interface, is a good touch. From the sides, you’ll notice that the entire passive sink is metal based.
Gigabyte GTX 950 WindForce OC Edition has the commonly used ports such as DVI and HDMI ports but also has a single DisplayPort.
The card uses 4x Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 7000 MHz 512MB GDDR5 memory modules- two on the outer PCB and two on the inside.
The cooling shroud is mounted on a card with no more than four spring-loaded screws surrounding the GPU core from the inside. Once you remove them, you’ll notice that there is no thermal pad or anything other than the thermal paste on the graphic card. Those who would have any need to re-apply a fresh coat of thermal paste in the distant future should be able to do it without breaking a sweat.
Note that the card does not have any heatpipes or any copper base. It would be interesting to know if Gigabyte GTX 960 has a similar setup, but Zotac GTX 960 AMP! Edition did use a combination of a copper base for the core and two copper heatpipes. Remember, GTX 960 uses the same core as GTX 950, but with two out of six SMMs disabled.
The metal sink is very light compared to many GPU sinks I’ve dismantled in the past. The cooling frame has 2x Powerlogic PLD08010S12HH sleeve-bearing fan.
The GPU uses a 4+1 phase design for the power delivery. The GPU core and the two other VRAMs are placed slightly offset from the center. The card has a six-pin PCIe power connector has slightly offset from the PCB’s center.
The core voltage is locked in this card. With this card, I was able to get +151MHz stable boost with maximum power limit.
The card can overclock more as I did with 205 MHz max. But it wasn’t stable enough for the benchmark to be completed though it didn’t crash the OS. The ASIC quality on this card is 75.9%:
Hardware BBQ gets very minimum support from hardware manufacturers since we have a no-strings-attached policy and ended up blacklisting even tier 1 brands for improper misconduct. But thanks to a handful of companies who value the importance and benefits of providing components for the test bench, we do what we’re good at with the resources at hand. I would like to thank:
- Gigabyte India for providing Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming GT Rev 1.0 motherboard
- WD India for providing 4x WD Red 3TB NAS drives
- Coolermaster India for providing Coolermaster GX450 RS-450-ACAA-D3 Power Supply
|Test Setup for:||Gigabyte GTX 950 WindForce OC Edition|
|CPU+ CPU Cooler+ MB||Intel i7 4790K + Noctua NH-U12S + Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming GT|
|GPU Drivers||Nvidia GeForce 355.36 WHQL Drivers|
|Memory||Kingston 8GB 1600MHz DDRIII|
|Primary OS drive||SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD + WD Red 3TB WD30EFRX|
|Power Supply||Corsair TX750|
|Chassis||Lian Li A70F Full Tower PC Case|
The Benchmarks are as follows:
- 3DMark: Sky Diver, Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme Presets
- 3DMark 11: Performance and Xtreme Preset
- 3Dmark Vantage: High and Performance Preset
OpenGL Benchmarks: Cinebench 11.5 and Cinebench R15
Unigine Benchmark: Heaven 3.0 and Heaven 4.0 3 presets
- Batman: Arkham City with 3 presets
- Hitman Absolution with 3 presets
- Metro 2033 with 2 presets
- Shadows of Mordor with 4 presets
- SD: Definitive Edition with 3 presets
- Sniper Elite V2 with 3 presets
For measuring GPU computation, I’ve included Compubench benchmark workloads.
- Face Detection and TV-L1 Optical Flow Test
- Ocean Surface Simulation Test
- Particle Simulation-64K Test
- Computation Benchmark- Graphics and Video Composition
- Bitcoin Mining
- Folding at Home Benchmark
- LuxMark OpenCL Benchmark
Overclocked Performance Analysis:
- 3DMark: Sky Diver, Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme
- Shadows of Mordor with 4 presets
- 3DMark Sky Diver is a DirectX 11 benchmark for gaming laptops and mid-range PCs. Use 3DMark Sky Diver to benchmark systems with mainstream graphics cards, mobile GPUs, or integrated graphics. It is especially suitable for DirectX 11 systems that cannot achieve more than single-digit frame rates in the more demanding Fire Strike test. Sky Diver is only available in the Windows editions at this time.
- Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today.
- 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme is an enhanced version of Fire Strike designed for high-end multi-GPU systems (SLI / Crossfire) and future hardware generations.
- Can your PC handle the world’s first 4K gaming benchmark? Fire Strike Ultra’s 4K UHD rendering resolution is four times larger than the 1080p resolution used in Fire Strike. A 4K monitor is not required, but your graphics card must have at least 3GB of memory to run this monstrously demanding benchmark.
3DMark clearly points out that its slightly lesser performance than the Zotac GTX 960 AMP! Edition.
- The Performance Preset is included in all editions and is the most suitable test for benchmarking DirectX 11 video cards in many PCs. It runs in 1280 x 720 (720p).
- The Xtreme preset, included in the Advanced and Professional Editions, runs at 1920 x 1080 (1080p) resolution with settings designed to stress high-end gaming PCs.
There is a wider gap when looking at the DirectX 11 test.
Same can be said about the DX10 test suite.
- CINEBENCH 11.5 is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation softwareCINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.
- CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.
With both OpenGL tests, Gigabyte GTX 950 OC is leading ahead of Zotac GTX 970 AMP! by a mere 1-2 points.
Heaven 3.0 Benchmark
Preset 2- API: DX11; Tessellation: Normal; Shaders: Medium; Anisotropy: 4X;Anti-Aliasing: 2x
Preset 3- API: DX11; Tessellation: Extreme; Shaders: High; Anisotropy: 16x;Anti-Aliasing: 8x
Heaven 4.0 Benchmark
Preset 2- Quality: High; Tessellation: normal; Anti Aliasing: 8X
Preset 3- Quality: Ultra; Tessellation: extreme; Anti Aliasing: 8x
Preset 2- AA: FXAA (medium); DX 11 Features: MVSS and HBAO; DX 11 Tessellation: Normal; Detail Level: Very High; Dynamic Shadows: Yes; Motion Blur: No; Distortion: No; Lens Flare: Yes; Light Shafts: Yes; Reflections: Yes;Ambient Occlusion: Yes; PhysX: Off
Preset 3- AA: 8x MSAA; DX 11 Features: MVSS and HBAO; DX 11 Tessellation:High; Detail Level: Very High; Dynamic Shadows: Yes; Motion Blur: No;Distortion: No; Lens Flare: Yes; Light Shaft: Yes; Reflections: Yes; Ambient Occlusion: Yes; PhysX: Off
With the lowest preset, GTX 950 is 13 FPS slower than the GTX 960 variant. With the highest preset, its simply 9 FPS.
Preset 2- Quality Level: High; Shadow Quality: High; Level of Detail: High;Texture Quality: High; Depth of Field: High; Texture Filter: Anisotropic 8x; SSAO:High; Reflections: High; FXAA: On; Global Illumination: On; Tessellation: On
Preset 3- Quality Level: Ultra; Shadow Quality: Ultra; Level of Detail: Ultra; Texture Quality: Ultra; Depth of Field: High; Texture Filter: Anisotropic 16x; SSAO:High; Reflections: High; FXAA: On; Global Illumination: On; Tessellation: On
Hitman Absolution is reflecting the same values.
Preset 1- DirectX: 11; Quality: Medium; Anti-Aliasing: MSAA 4X; Texture Filtering: AF 4X; DOF: Off
Preset 2- DirectX: 11; Quality: Very High; Anti-Aliasing: MSAA 4X; Texture Filtering: AF 16X; DOF: On
4-5 FPS difference between both of them.
Preset 2- Graphic Quality: High; Lighting Quality: High; Mesh Quality: High;Motion Blur: Camera and Objects; Shadow Quality: High; Texture Filtering: High;Texture Quality: High; Ambient Occlusion: Medium; Vegetation Range: High;DOF: On; Order Independent Transparency: On; Tessellation: On
Preset 3- Graphic Quality: Very High; Lighting Quality: High; Mesh Quality: Ultra;Motion Blur: Camera and Objects; Shadow Quality: High; Texture Filtering: Ultra;Texture Quality: High; Ambient Occlusion: Medium; Vegetation Range: Ultra;DOF: On; Order Independent Transparency: On; Tessellation: On
Preset 4- Graphic Quality: Ultra; Lighting Quality: High; Mesh Quality: Ultra;Motion Blur: Camera and Objects; Shadow Quality: Ultra; Texture Filtering: Ultra;Texture Quality: Ultra; Ambient Occlusion: High; Vegetation Range: Ultra; DOF:On; Order Independent Transparency: On; Tessellation: On
Preset 2- Quality Anti-Aliasing: High; Shadow Resolution: Normal; Shadow Filtering: Normal; Ambient Occlusion: Normal; Vsync: off; Motion Blur: Normal; World Density: High; FPS Limiter: Off; 3D Depth: 1; 3D Convergence: 10; Low Resolution Buffer: Off
Preset 3- Quality Anti-Aliasing: Extreme; Shadow Resolution: High; Shadow Filtering: High; Ambient Occlusion: Normal; Vsync: off; Motion Blur: High; World Density: Extreme; FPS Limiter: Off; 3D Depth: 1; 3D Convergence: 10; Low Resolution Buffer: Off
With a low setting, GTX 960 is 23.3 FPS quicker than the GTX 950 variant.
Preset 2: Texture Detail: High; Shadow Detail: High; Draw Distance: High; AF: off; Motion Blur: on; Shader: On; Advance Shadows: High; Super Sampling: 2.25
Preset 3: Texture Detail: Ultra; Shadow Detail: Ultra; Draw Distance: Ultra; AF: 16x; Motion Blur: on; Shader: On; Advance Shadows: High; Super Sampling: 4x
Face Detection Test
Face detector based on the Viola-Jones algorithm which used for biometrics and digital image processing to identify locations and sizes of faces in images.
TV-L1 Optical Flow Test
Based on dense motion vector calculation using the variational method. Used wisely in video compression and video quality enhancement for driver assistance systems and motion detection.
Graphics Test “T-Rex”
A path tracer featuring dynamically updated acceleration structure and global illumination
Video Composition Test
A composition of videos using various effects such as pixelation, masking, mix and blur.
The popular Bitcoin algorithm that tests the integer performance of the GPU.
The single precision implicit model most closely relates to current folding performance. Nvidia GPU will involve tests involving CUDA and OpenCL, while AMD Radeon is limited to OpenCL tests.
Shadow of Mordor
As you can see, there is a good boost in performance, even in three out of four presets in Shadow of Mordor.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 does put GTX 960 in a very awkward position. But it is cheaper, something that would attract MOBA players who are shifting from much older cards than GTX 750/GTX 750 Ti. If you’re playing newer titles on this card, it should be fine with 1080p with low-to-mid settings, depending on the game. Then again, a graphic card is going to be with you for a fair bit amount of time. Performance boost after overclocking isn’t something great either.
But if you’re playing games like Counter-Strike, DOTA 2 and such MOBA titles for 1080p gameplay, it’s something you can take a look at if you don’t want to take a look at first gen Maxwell GTX 750 and GTX 750Ti cards.
The GTX 950 is an entry-level card so it’s obvious the contents and the build quality would reflect that. Then again GTX 950 uses the same core and has the same set of features that GTX 960 has. Unfortunately, we cannot compare it with latest AMD cards because their respected contacts have apparently lost the ‘Reply’ button and never get it whenever I send an email (either that or they’re just conveniently ignoring it- an awkward icebreaker when I get the chance to use it). No worries. I’ve told at times it magically re-appears.
Sleeve bearing fans on the card produces some amount of noise at 60% fan setting. It would be nice if Gigabyte had a backplate for the card. Other than that, it’s nothing special. It’s close to reference variant. The fans don’t turn itself off in idle mode even when the fan speed is set on auto. It’s a non-reference card. Either it should have some of the non-reference card’s usual features or have a close-to-stock pricing.
No case badge too, but that’s the least point on my compared to what I’ve mentioned above. Not that it’s a bad card. Its a good card from a good manufacturer but doesn’t really offer anything great. But look at what others are offering.
Let’s take a look at GTX 960. As of now, Zotac GTX 960 AMP! costs $194.99. The most expensive GTX 950 card at the time of writing is $169.99. For a minor performance difference, which would you give more value to? That’s a US$25 difference.
The card is priced for US$169.99 in Newegg, that US$10 more than Asus Strix GTX 950 which is having two fan and also copper heatpipes and with an OC mode clock speed of 1165MHz, followed by EVGA GTX 950 with base clock of 1190MHz. Zotac’s variant is $10 cheaper and the cooler is as short as the card’s PCB, but at the expense of a single fan.
But Gigabyte does provide two DVI ports. Like all cards, Gigabyte offers a three-year warranty on this variant.