We take a look at the entry level 900 series graphic card from Nvidia.
The new generation of Maxwell GPUs have been well received by PC enthusiasts, which can provide high quality PC performances with lesser noise. However with new releases such as the 900 series, some of the higher end graphic cards have a higher price tag that could leave a dent on some budget conscious PC users that are looking for an upgrade. But with the recent release of the GTX 950, users can now experience some of the high-end games at a much affordable price tag. But will the GTX 950 can perform well on some of the new games that are out in the market? We will testing out some games to see how well it can handle them.
To start off with the review, let us first take a look at the specifications of the GTX 950:
The GTX 950 OC Edition has been initially overclocked to provide a small boost of performance compared to the original versions of the 950. It also features twin fans similar to the much faster AMP! Edition to provide optimal ventilation for the card. One of the interesting feature from the Zotac manufactured card is the Freeze feature, where it keeps the fans will not run when it does not reach a certain temperature, this save energy and keeping a silent noise for the cards as well as increasing the longevity of the cooling fans. Also take note that the card will require a six-pin power rail to run it.
In terms of design, the OC Edition has that gunmetal finish look on the card, giving that edgy feel. Unfortunately, the OC Edition does not have the back plate feature found in the AMP! Edition, which can be a bit of a turn-off for those who like to have their PC rigs with some stylish looks. Nonetheless, the card design is still presentable and neat.
And now for the performance, you have to take note that since this is the second generation of Maxwell GPUs, there is large difference in terms of performance compared with the first releases of the Maxwell cards, so if comparing with the GTX 750 and 750 Ti, you will see some improvements. After benchmarking with the Haven Benchmark, it can perform well with Ultra settings at 1080p resolution though it can handle up at an average 30 frames per second, with some parts that can reach 60 frames per second, with Tessellation at normal and high anti-aliasing, reducing the anti-alias at x4 can improve the average framerate. As for gaming, we tested with new games such as Fallout 4 in Ultra settings and some PC-ported games such as Samurai Warriors 4-II and Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen to see if can run at a higher framerate. So far it can run Fallout 4 within 25-30 fps range but with some tweaking on the advance settings, you can get it run at least around 35-40 fps, as for Dragons Dogma and Samurai Warriors, it can run well at around 55-60 fps even on the highest setting. We also tested it on some games such as Astebreed and Darkest Dungeon and it still stays at a constant 60 fps.
The included Firestorm application lets you customize and tweak the GTX 950 to increase its performance, where you can adjust the fan speed or set target temperature for the fan to run automatically from its freeze state, you can even overclock the card at a user friendly interface from voltage to clock frequency. However, unlike some of the similar apps from other brands, the Firestorm utility feels dated due to its rather old layout. This kind of software has become a staple for newer graphic cards that allows user to optimize their cards though overclocking any components without any precautions may result in damaging your unit, so be sure to check the user manuals for additional guidelines.
Overall, the GTX 950 OC Edition is a great graphic card for those who only has a small budget and wants to experience the newer games at a playable frame rate. Though some of the games with higher demand on graphical power may experience some hiccups on the highest settings, but with some careful tweaks on the settings, you can still experience a full visual pleasure on your games at 1080 HD resolution. A bit higher price tag than its regular version but with an increase on its GPU clock for that added boost, or better go for the mid-range GTX 960 if you can shelve some more for your budget.