Today, NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 950, its new entry-mainstream graphics card priced at $160. Sub-$200 has always been a problematic area for NVIDIA because of price-performance comparisons to AMD, with the company selling more volumes only because of a better-proliferated sales and marketing network. AMD’s recent product launches, such as the Radeon R7 360, R7 370, and R7 380, put even more heat on NVIDIA. Particularly the Radeon R7 370 irritates NVIDIA. Priced at $149, the card offers better performance than the similarly priced GTX 750 Ti. It takes a $199 GTX 960 to outperform it, and so the company’s $150-ish price-point is left rather vulnerable. This necessitates a new SKU, the GeForce GTX 950.
NVIDIA gave the GeForce GTX 950 a solid and cost-effective foundation in the 28 nm GM206 silicon on which the GTX 960 is also based. This is a tiny chip, and compared to the R7 370, it has a narrower 128-bit memory bus for just four memory chips on the card. NVIDIA makes up for some of the deficit with lossless texture compression tech, which improves effective bandwidth by around 20%. The sheer pixel-crunching muscle of the Maxwell architecture takes care of the rest, which creates immense room for future cost-cutting measures.
In this review, we will test the GIGABYTE GTX 950 WindForce OC, which comes with a mild GPU overclock to 1102 MHz out of the box. Memory remained at NVIDIA reference of 1653 MHz.