This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G.
A Huge Upgrade Over The GTX 650: The new Maxwell-powered GeForce GTX 950 has close to 3x the performance of the Kepler-based GTX 650. For anyone with the GTX 650 that has been waiting to upgrade, but didn't want to spend the money, the GTX 950 is a perfect upgrade.
Maxwell Goes Mid-Range: While the GTX 960 was a mid-range offering, the GTX 950 is here with an even better price point of $159. This should have countless millions upgrading, especially if their cards are getting to the end of their lifespans.
Silent Gaming: During our testing, the MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G made absolutely no noise in games. It is a totally silent card.
Super-Low Power Consumption: With a TDP of just 95W, our entire system was using just 180W at load. This is the type of card you want for MOBA and casual gaming, where the likes of the GTX 970 and GTX 980 Ti need not apply.
Perfect For 1080p (And Below): If you're gaming at 1280x720, 1680x1080 or 1920x1080, the MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G is a great card. Hell, it's the perfect card. With many display outputs, you can have this plugged into your monitor and TV for MOBA/casual gaming and watching content over your TV.
Overclocking Headroom: There's some decent OC headroom here, much more than you would think!
4K Gaming: This isn't something I would recommend, but you're going to get an average of around 30FPS on this card. Considering the 'next-gen' consoles are barely managing 720p at 30FPS, the MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G is actually capable of 4K gaming on a serious budget.
Not Much New: This is just a cut down GTX 960, and we're still using the Maxwell architecture here. So, if you have read up on the GTX 900 series, this is 'one of those', but slower than the rest. It's a great entry into the 900 series, though.
Coming into the review of the GeForce GTX 950, I didn't know what to expect. After reviewing so many enthusiast video cards in the last couple of months, you can get a bit swamped. I'm expecting 60FPS+ at 4K, and 100FPS+ at 1080p. But with the GTX 950, you've got to come at it from a different point of view.
I didn't use any GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti or Titan X cards in our benchmark charts for this reason alone. NVIDIA provided us with an older GeForce GTX 650, and I re-ran the numbers on the GTX 960 so that we have the perfect cards to look at. We've also ran the numbers on AMD's mid-range cards, right up to the Radeon R9 390. When comparing the GTX 950 against the Kepler-based GTX 650, the new Maxwell offering blows it out of the water. NVIDIA claimed up to 3x the performance of the GTX 650, and they were right. Where the GTX 650 was offering 15FPS average, the GTX 950 offered 40-45FPS average at 1080p.
AMD can't compete with its Radeon R7 370 which is priced at around $170 or so, as the GTX 950 beats it in nearly every single test. This is where NVIDIA has AMD by the balls, in the low to mid-range market where gamers are spending less than $200 - and there are many of them. Not only does the GTX 950 have great performance at 1080p, it has even better performance at resolutions like 1280x720 and 1680x1050, which are popular resolutions amongst MOBA and casual gamers.
Even hardcore CS:GO players will play at lower resolutions (even in 4:3 aspect ratio, stretched out), lower than their native resolution as it "feels like it has a wider field of view". This stretched look makes gaps in the game bigger, so if heads are hiding in a small spot they're easier to spot, and then shoot at. It's also a resolution that CS:GO gamers used to play on in previous iterations of Counter-Strike.
Gaming in lower resolutions will bump the frame rate past 60FPS, so for a card priced at just $159, this is quite the goldmine for gamers on a budget. MSI's GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G may cost a little more since it's a custom model, but we expect it to be around the same price.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Performance (overclocking, power)||90%|
|Quality (build, design, cooling)||90%|
|General Features (display outputs, etc)||90%|
|Bundle, Packaging & Software||90%|
|Value for Money||95%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||91%|
The Bottom Line: At just $159, the new MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G is the new sweet spot for 720p and 1080p gaming. If you're a MOBA or casual gamer and need an upgrade from a GTX 650 (or so), this is the perfect video card for you.
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