Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 Xtreme Gaming review

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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 Xtreme Gaming
The OC edition with a real OC ! 

We review the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 Xtreme Gaming (OC edition). The GTX 950 is an entry-level to mainstream graphics card in the Maxwell range of GPUs from Nvidia that sits pretty nicely in the 1080P domain. Gigabyte offers it in the all new Xtreme Gaming edition and that means the cards comes with some nice factory tweaks and a new cooler. Its price is tempting as well at US$ 169.99 

The new GeForce GTX 950 is a cut-down version of the GM206 GPU that Nvidia uses in their GTX 960 series. This revised chip has a lower number of shader processors, a 128-bit wide memory bus and thus 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. The product has been castrated and stripped of everything that is sexy with the GTX 960/970/980. For the 'normal' models you have been able to see the memory cut down to 2 GB of memory on these puppies, that memory runs on a 128-bit wide bus, the shader processors have been cut-down to 768 Shader/Stream/Cuda cores. 

So yes, this is the value segment we are now reviewing. The 128-bit wide bus sounds like a nag but the Maxwell GPU architecture makes efficient use of memory color compression. Maxwell, yes, named after the mathematical physicist. The Maxwell family of GPUs is actually the 10th generation of GPU architecture for Nvidia. With several design goals in mind (higher performance and lower power consumption) Nvidia was hoping to reach 20 nm by the time their high-end product would be released. It is now 2015 and it is abundantly clear that the 20 nm fab nodes are a huge yield mess, as no manufacturer dares to use it. Nvidia went with plan B and stuck with a 28 nm process, future products will jump to 16 and 14nm, of course. Nvidia has moved forward and today the 4th Maxwell based product (GTX 750 was actually the first trial run) is being released as a GM206 based GPU. Armed with voltage, power and load limiters, Nvidia these days can harvest massive performance out of chips when you think about it. Today is about the GeForce GTX 950 range of performance. 

The base clock speed of a reference GeForce GTX 950 is 1024 MHz. The typical boost clock speed is 1188 MHz, the memory clocks in at an effective data-rate of 6.6 Gbps. The GPU used thus is still on 28 nm. 


Model GeForce GTX 980 GeForce GTX 970 GeForce GTX 960 GeForce GTX 950
GPU GM204 GM204 GM206 GM206
CUDA cores 2048 1664 1024 768
Texture Units 128 104 64 48
Raster Devices 64 64 32 32
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit 128-bit
Amount of memory 4 GB GDDR5 3.5 GB GDDR5 (effective) 2 / 4 GB GDDR5 2 GB GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s 224 GB/s 112 GB/s 105 GB/s

Gigabyte shipped out their new Xtreme Gaming series, a product that offers good value for money yet now with improved cooling and very high default clock frequencies. It'll tick all the right boxes aside from maybe a memory limitation at 2GB, especially now with 3GB/4GB becoming the norm. The Xtreme Gaming models look lovely, it is a very quiet product series and operates under the 65 Degrees C range under full GPU stress. Despite the low GPU temps, these cards are factory overclocked at some impressive frequencies as well. The core clock frequency for the reference products is set at 1024 MHz, the dynamic boost clock can go up-to 1188 MHz. The memory clocks in at 6.6 Gbps. For the Xtreme Gaming model you will get 1203 MHz on the core out of the box with a 1405 MHz boost frequency. The memory is clocked from the reference 6.6 Gbps towards 7.0 gbps as well. With a dark design and dual slot cooler, the GeForce GTX 950 will get all the cooling it needs, and the noise levels are low overall as well.

Have a peek as to what we'll benchmark in this review, meet the GeForce GTX 950 with WINDFORCE 2X cooling and head onwards to the next page.

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