Asus & MSI GTX950 Face Off
Published: 20th August 2015 | Source: nVidia | Price: |
One of the things we've spoken loud and often about in recent times is the sheer consistency of modern hardware. It started with the Sandy Bridge Intel motherboards and has permeated everything we touch. The underlying technology is nearly bulletproof and it is only in the details that the differences can be found.
How does the GTX950 fair generally then? Extremely well we think. We felt that the GTX650Ti Boost was one of those cards which struggled to stand alone but was great in SLI. The GTX750Ti did well on its own. The GTX950 is a refinement of this formula of affordable but high performing graphics cards. Certainly if you want something that will crush frame rates in 4K resolutions then you've come to the wrong place. But if you're in the market for a 1080P capable graphics card which has enough performance to allow you to really crank up the image quality settings then this is something you should seriously consider. In fact it so often was matching the GTX960 and R9 280 that it almost feels too good. We wondered if this is a result of the two cards we have on test today being excellent examples of the breed, but the GTX960s they were getting close to were both an ASUS Strix and MSI Gaming too. The GTX950 is just that damn good.
There are, as the old adage goes, many ways to skin a cat though, and ASUS and MSI have both gone about their GTX950 very differently.
The ASUS Strix maintains the small PCB of the reference card but comes with a seriously capable cooler on top. It would be easy to accept that the 950 is a value product and so do the bare minimum, but ASUS have produced a card which is like a shrunken version of their big GTX980 Strix. Two fans and fat heatpipes keep everything cool whilst also looking very nice. You might not confuse it with the big cards, but equally it isn't disgraced in their company. In fact the small proportions would be perfect for an ITX system or just a smaller case. Performance was slightly the better of the two cards thanks to its higher clock when GPUBoost2 does it job, so if you're just after raw speed then this would be the one to go for.
The MSI Gaming 2G has gone down a different path to the ASUS. We still have a twin-fan cooler trimmed in the ever popular black and red, but rather than stick with the smaller PCB MSI have gone for a card which is almost indistinguishable from the GTX960 Gaming. Only the very geeky - which is us - would notice that the GTX950 has a single heatpipe and a 6 rather than an 8 pin connector. Otherwise you could be forgiven for thinking it's any one of the MSI Gaming range. It's a few Watts more efficient than the ASUS and a few degrees cooler, so if you prefer a card that belies its affordability and is the kindest to the environment then the MSI is the one to pick.
The bottom line is that either of these cards have bundles of performance for 1080P gaming. At an expected street price of £130 it's extremely affordable and capable, and both the ASUS GTX950 Strix and MSI GTX950 Gaming 2G are worthy winners of our OC3D Gold Awards.