MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming edition
1575 MHz - say that again ?!
In this article we put the MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming edition to the test. A mainstream graphics card is armed with a GM206 Maxwell generation graphics processor from Nvidia. The product performs quite well in the 1080P area. Also the MSI card offers a nice factory tweaks and combined with AfterBurner we took the GPU towards 1575 MHz !
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.
MSI shipped out their Gaming model, the traditional black adn red is back armed with a TwinFrozr heatpipe based cooler that is performing great and totally, seriously totally silent. The GTX 950 will tick most boxes aside from maybe a memory limitation at 2GB, especially now with 3GB/4GB becoming the norm. The Gaming models look sweet, it is very quiet and operates at 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 1127 MHz, the dynamic boost clock can go up-to 1317 MHz. The memory clocks in at 6.6 Gbps. For the MSI Gaming model you will get 1140 MHz on the core out of he box with a 1329 MHz boost frequency. The memory is clocked at the reference 6.7 Gbps. 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.