Full Review Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 MSI Gaming 2G Gameplay Benchmark Videos

Written by Jon Sutton on Thu, Aug 20, 2015 2:00 PM

For the vast majority of PC gamers, the mightiest of graphics cards are off limits. Those polygon pushing powerhouses are for the enthusiast tier; for those who want nothing more than to crank all those settings up and let rip. If we all had unlimited funds, we’d all have them. But, that’s anything but the case, and there are other segments of the graphics card market that can deliver top-notch modern gaming performance, and for a fraction of the cost.

It was only a matter of time until Nvidia’s latest 900 Series would cater to the more... sensible gamer, and its newest GPU, the GeForce GTX 950, is the result of this. At £129/$159 this graphics card includes many of the trickle down features from the GeForce GTX 980, but at a far more practical price. We’ve got our hands on the MSI GTX 950 Gaming 2G flavour of GTX 950, which comes pre-overclocked and with a few additional goodies.

You can also check out our gaming benchmark vids for the GTX 950 MSI Gaming 2G card. Otherwise continue with our GTX 950 review.

Specs and Features

Now this is a 900-series card, so it’s packing a fully-featured Maxwell GM206 GPU. As you’d expect from a Maxwell GPU, the 950 comes with all the exclusive features Nvidia brought out when they introduced with the GTX 980, including DirectX 12 support up to feature level 12.1

The first we saw of Maxwell was the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, and this latest card builds on the foundations laid down by 2014’s impressive budget card. Key to this are improvements to efficiency once more, a stable of Maxwell GPUs. The end result is that the GM206 GPU in the GTX 950 eats up 23% fewer bytes per frame than the Kepler GPU.

Let’s get onto the juicy stuff then, those specs. The GeForce GTX 950 has 768 CUDA Cores on 6 SMM units, with 32 Raster Operations Pipelines ( ROPs). By default the graphics card includes 2GB GDDR5 memory, outfitted on a 128-bit memory interface with a 6.6GHz effective memory clock. The base clock frequency on the stock model is 1024MHz, along with a boost clock of 1188MHz. The MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G comes with a minor overclocking - jumping those numbers up to 1127MHz for the base clock and 1317MHz when it calls on the boost clock.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Base Specs (Click to expand all images)

MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G GPU-Z Specs

The closest competitor to the GeForce GTX 950 is AMD’s Radeon R7 370, which typically retails for around £20/$20 more. Nvidia’s card is however more power efficient, consuming just 90W TDP in comparison to 110W on the R7 370. As for the performance, well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

On the sound side of things, the Nvidia GTX 950 MSI Gaming 2G runs practically silent, and there was no coil whine or anything to speak of in the model we received. 

Performance

The big focal point with the GeForce GTX 950 is the huge leap it has made on from the GeForce GTX 650, which was released three years ago. Nvidia claim the GTX 950 runs three times as powerful as the GeForce GTX 650, which is impressive stuff from a card coming in at just £129. Likewise, the 950 runs at twice the performance per watt, and is both cooler and quieter than the GeForce GTX 650. In case it wasn’t clear by now, if you’re still lugging around an old GTX 650, Nvidia have you GTX 650 owners firmly in their sights, believing this is the ideal upgrade for you.

In terms of where the GeForce GTX 950 is targeted, it’s at 1080p gaming. This is the sweet spot for gaming right now, period. 1080p monitors can be had for dirt cheap, and the build around a card like this doesn’t need to be expensive to draw decent performance. If you’re wanting to future proof, possibly with the intention of jumping to 1440p or beyond, then this probably isn’t the card for you. Although we will demonstrate 1440p GTX 950 performance videos soon, to show you what can be achieved with this little budget buster. The affordability of cards like Nvidia’s GTX x50 range means you can sell and upgrade every year or two with very little knock-on cost, and you’re going to always have a decent base level of performance in today’s games.

That said, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 is the first in its entry-level class to offer SLI support. So if a little further down the line you need a bit more graphical oomph, you can slot in another one. From what we’re hearing of DirectX 12, this could make for a great upgrade in a year’s time, doubling up your complement of 950s.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G vs Radeon R7 370

As you can see, despite being a cheaper alternative, the GeForce GTX 950 has enough in it to edge out the Radeon R7 370 in every test we performer, even with the lower TDP. In most instances the difference wasn't gameplay altering, but you can see with Grand Theft Auto V and F1 2015 that there's potentially to add on up to 10 frames per second on higher settings, while the MSI GTX 950 Gaming 2G absolutely runs away with it in Alien Isolation.  

MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G 1080p/1440p Benchmarks

The GeForce GTX 950 MSI Gaming 2G isn't marketed as a 1440p capable graphics card, but in all but the most demanding games it's more than capable of it. That said, you will see some significant performance drops that make 1080p the vastly superior option, with smoother frame rates over all. The opportunity's there to go SLI in the future, but for now the Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 is pitched firmly at 1080p gaming. 

Game Performance Benchmarks Comparison with GTX 950, MSI GTX 970, R7 370, and GTX 750 Ti

Despite costing just £129/$159, the GeForce GTX 950 is capable of outperforming both the R7 370 and the GeForce GTX 750 Ti across the board. The latter card has just received a price drop however, so you can now pick up a GeForce GTX 750 Ti for around £100/$119 if you're after a cheaper alternative. 

 MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2G Cost Per Frame 

 MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming 4G Cost Per Frame

Up at the higher end, the GeForce GTX 970 has made a name for itself for being the value for money graphics card of choice. There's no denying it's a great performer and there's a reason so many people have picked one or two up, but as you can see the less GeForce GTX 950 is in fact the better value proposition. It might not have the legs of the GeForce GTX 970, but it's coming in at under half the price. 

MSI GTX 950 Gaming 2G Game Videos

We are going to deliver a whole range of GTX 950 gameplay videos soon, that will further highlight where the new MSI GTX 950 Gaming 2G card sits when it comes to modern gaming. But for now here are a couple of videos to show you what you can expect for your £129 / $159...

GTX 950 - Dying Light 1080p Graphics Comparison Benchmark

GTX 950 vs GTX 970 F1 2015 1080p Ultra Benchmark

GTX 950 - Alien Isolation 1440p Ultra Benchmark

GTX 950 - Unigine Valley Extreme HD Benchmark

GeForce GTX 950 SLI Benchmarks

All of the tests below were performed in-house by Nvidia as we've only got hold of a single GTX 950 here. Each benchmark was performed at 1920x1080, 4xMSAA/16xAF, except for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, which is 2560x1600, FXAA/16xAF

GeForce GTX 950 SLI Performance Benchmarks

GeForce GTX 950 SLI Scaling

Conclusion

One of the chief downsides for the GeForce GTX 950 is the power consumption. Despite Nvidia making plenty of noise about the performance per watt, its entry level card feels like a step down from the GTX 750 Ti in requiring a 6-pin power connector. Powering from PCIe alone was one of the standout features of the 750 Ti, and it created the perfect storm for low budget, low power gaming, all without compromising on performance. The GeForce GTX 950 offers improved performance, but at a bit of a cost, so you’re not going to be able to squeeze it into the tiny builds previously possible.

For many however, this won’t be a concern, and as far as general graphics cards go, this still offers an extremely affordable, low-powered unit. It’s just hard to shake the feeling Nvidia has flushed the 750 Ti’s unique selling point away.

And so do you upgrade? This should sum it up. The GTX 950 will find itself in many entry level gaming machines. Pre-build retailers are going to be very happy knowing they can offer 1080p across 95% of 2015 games with confidence, all at a quality which can comfortably put the efforts of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to shame.

If you have £129/$159 and are looking for a confident, value for money GPU upgrade, then the GTX 950 is certainly going to be in your top considerations. The performance of the budget-priced card is comfortably outstripping the current generation of consoles, which makes a card like this a no-brainer, particularly considering many households will have a PC anyway for all of its other uses. While you're not going to be maxing out every game for years to come, it will hit those console-tier settings and then some throughout the generation. This is boosted by the possibility of a SLI upgrade a little further down the line. 

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15:51 Sep-07-2015

My MSI GTX 760 2G OC 256bit is still better than this,the only update i would make would be 960 or 980 since all forums say 970 is a fail.

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03:27 Sep-09-2015

Well the only thing really that failed with the 970 is that it's branded as a 4GB Vram card but really only gives 3.5GB which is still not that bad and also compared your card to a GTX 960 and it is only a 5% - 7% increase which would be better to aim for 15% and up.

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12:41 Sep-01-2015

Not wanting to go above £150, would this be the best upgrade for me? Or would that extra £20 get me from extra performance elsewhere?

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04:04 Sep-02-2015

Honestly a lot of GPU's would be an upgrade for you cause a 1GB HD 6670 wont be able to keep up with newer titles.

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05:08 Aug-31-2015

Found This to be helpful as well since the benchmarks is for a 4th gen i3 and i7 processor.

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15:46 Aug-30-2015

a gtx 960 only cost 20 buck more not recommended

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23:08 Aug-30-2015

Really does depend because i just took a look and the EVGA GTX 950 is 159.99$ and the EVGA GTX 960 is 199.99$ and yes i got my prices from newegg.com

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08:59 Aug-28-2015

Guys which is better AMD or NVIDIA I am planning to buy a gaming desktop in the future. I never try NVIDIA . I just want to ask also which is better in terms of performance thank you very much ^_^

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16:52 Aug-28-2015

You want to start a war don't you, but i will give you my opinion go Amd, cause sh1tworks is a gimmick and kills game performance.

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17:11 Aug-28-2015

Depends upon the price here prices are fuked up 950=960,380=970,etc. If you can wait wait till next year atleast thats what Im doing and getting a console instead as I dont game much nowadays

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00:09 Aug-29-2015

Honestly i would say Nvidia because more games are optimized towards them and yes i have used both Nvidia and AMD cards that is why for my personal builds i usually tend to go with Nvidia.

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11:48 Aug-27-2015

They will never again make a card thats cheap and powerfull like the AMD Radeon HD7850 was.This card is old but it still kicks ass.Overclock it an it can catch up with most of the new mid class cards easely.

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00:14 Aug-29-2015

Well no one want's to focus on a 1GB Vram card anymore unless their only game is Counter Strike/Team Fortress 2 and also that is why your card was cheaper anyways.


Now if you were to go back in time and get a 2GB model of your card you would be looking at 20$ - 60$ more so it wouldn't really be that cheap.

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21:40 Aug-29-2015

But still back then most cards had 2 or less Gigabites of ram.There where only a few cards with more than 2g of ram.And this was also a high end craphic card back then with a price of a mid class card.200$-260$ (rough price) for a high end card still is cinda cheap.But yea 1g card at today time would be stupid.

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21:51 Aug-29-2015

Oh and by the way if its not a problem, can someone answer me a question.I wonder if this card (hd7850) has support for Dx 12.I think not, but on couple of places on this site it sees it can but on other places it sees it cant?

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16:45 Aug-30-2015

I don;t think so because its not gcn and doesnt support mantle a good way to tell is open dxdiag

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21:18 Aug-30-2015

Ok thanks for answer mate!

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11:14 Sep-02-2015

7850 will support DX12...In a matter of fact any card starting from series 7000HD(On ATI/AMD) will be DX12 ready,however it will not full support DX12 some features will be possible only on latest GFX cards....

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00:22 Aug-25-2015

I was complaining that this card was only 10$ cheaper than the 960, but they fixed it. They made he 960 70$ more expensive

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15:16 Aug-25-2015

LMAO xD

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16:26 Aug-22-2015

OK, so previous generation's 750 didn't have the guts to compete with even R7 260X and its successor 950 is blowing off the far superior(as marketed) R7 370? What the heck is happening here? :O

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11:25 Aug-23-2015

Surprisingly, the gtx 950 is about on par (or even slightly better than) r9 270x... It turned out to be a quite decent gpu...

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14:56 Aug-23-2015

this would be false as I own a r9 270x and my benchmarks are way better then the the current benchmarks. Its far below the r9 270x in performance. literately a 20 fps difference .

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05:18 Aug-24-2015

Yes but are you only doing a graphic benchmark or a gaming one because there is a difference and also lets say you pop in the GTX 950 in your system you might get more fps then as well.

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10:42 Aug-24-2015

r9 370 is rebranded r7 265 so sure it will be slower then even r9 270 about gtx 950 if you ask me im from germany so this gpu is priced from price point 190eur and up other hand gtx 960 is like from 200eur and up so make no sense getting gtx 950 where for 10-20eur you get almost 15% more performance with gtx 960

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11:13 Aug-24-2015

Things being messed up here, but one thing is sure that nvidia is tightening their grip. I own a nvidia card but I feel for AMD, I want competition! ; (

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14:02 Aug-24-2015

the 270x i use atm will be in a mates pc from xmas on
so i will need a new one.. i thought about getting a fury nano but i guess i rather go cheaper this time(just got a ps4) so something like a 950 is cool but the difference of 20euro to an 960 is insane
could get a r9 380 or 960gtx new if not the 970 from my bro

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14:38 Aug-24-2015

According to the tests i found online from reputable sources, it was about on par with r9 270x in most tests. It's not easy to replicate the tests for yourself.

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14:47 Aug-24-2015

But I'm talking on behalf of the above benchmark, it seems legit to me as they are very trustable! But citation needed :D

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21:47 Aug-24-2015

I understand this but if you want a better proof of how much stronger and better a bargain the r9 270x is look at the uni-gen valley bench they scored a 1260 mark when i scored a 1808 mark. the difference in performance is night and day. test it yourself

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23:47 Aug-24-2015

What about Drivers and their optimisation in games? This is what I'm trying to say

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01:31 Aug-25-2015

with the new official drivers in the 15.0+ catalyst they are fine. optimization for games at this point is up to the game designers themselves, and not amd

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06:41 Aug-25-2015

still always amd is blamed


how well was batman playable on gtx cards ? not

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11:12 Aug-25-2015

You do know that benchmark is mainly for the reference cards and after comparing your exact MSI Gaming R9 270X to the MSI Gaming GTX 950 it shows that the GTX 950 is 4% better mainly with the Core Speed, Boost Clock, Memory Speed, Actual Shader Performance and the fact that is 350 Watts & 23 Amps under GPU Supporting Hardware while your card is 500 Watts & 37 Amps.

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11:17 Aug-25-2015

Also would like to mention that your card the cheapest there is it's 235$ from GIGABYTE while the GTX 950 is 160$ - 210$ and yes i am using US currency.

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16:40 Aug-25-2015

Yes understand what nvidia optimized games mean, lets go through it shall we. when a game is optimized to a certain hardware it can outperform is own specs and beat gpus it otherwise woulld'nt. lets bring 2 games into this conversation 1 dying light the game wasn't optimized toward either card manufacturer. and my average fps in that is 60+, now lets bring another game into question gta5 I run gta 5 at ultra 1080p @ 60+ fps because of what i put my maximum framerate to.

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16:44 Aug-25-2015

I'm not saying the card is bad I'm just saying nvidia released it much to late. actually the sapphire r9 270x is the cheapest.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202161&cm_re=r9_270x-_-14-202-161-_-Product
40$ off with promo code AFNJ1989, ends 8/26 leaving it at 130$

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19:22 Aug-26-2015

If you were to see here the card is 209.99$ which if you were to convert to US dollars would be 157.56$

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13:20 Aug-25-2015

@Ecks30
the 270x was proven to be slower than gtx 950 in nvidia optimised games
(by techpowerup.com review)
but 270x starts 15euro below the 950s
and its faster in far cry 4 (game was nice for amd cards)
and my card uses up to 120w while gaming not the 180 it could
so thats actually nice

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03:46 Aug-31-2015

After looking at comparison on most sites they mostly use a gaming R9 270X based card and a reference GTX 950 which i have already compared 2 gaming cards the 270x and the 950 and the 950 does a little bit better.

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23:19 Aug-21-2015

This card is doomed in my country. It's only 10$ cheaper than a gtx960 OC

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16:23 Aug-22-2015

Get the 960 ! I mean it

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16:31 Aug-21-2015

i am sure if GTX 950 overclocked well can perform equal as stock GTX 960 which is good for 1080P gaming and in that case a power connector will be required, price is ok for its performance.

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19:43 Aug-21-2015

the 950 and 960 are nowhere near in performance so stating that it would be a 960 if you overclocked it is a false statement since it would take a lot more Power and create a ****ton more heat. we are talking thermal barriers here @ 98 C so go ahead waist 150$ on a card you will be replacing in 4 years. just trying to persuade you not to waiste 150$ on a paper plane when you can buy a jet

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08:00 Aug-23-2015

I'm not sure the gap is equivalent to a paper plane and a jet, as an owner the 960 is a decent card but for someone on a strict budget who doesn't mind lowered settings the 950 seems a good bet.
2GB VRAM tho... gonna hurt in about 2 years.

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09:56 Aug-23-2015

remember the gtx 970 with its crippled memory interface?
the 4gb version of the 960gtx has the same thing
means a 2gb card has faster gddr5
witcher 3 needs 1,7gb on 4k so its possible if a game is optimized

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15:01 Aug-23-2015

Again if your on a budget and your power supply is sufficient (600w or more) go for the r9 270x its the same price but its in the gtx 960's perfromance range. Meaning it has ruoghly the the same performance as the 960. and if you really want to future proof it buy the 4gb version. and in a couple years buy another 4gb card and crossfire the 2 cards. your gunna need at least a 850w psu to do it tho.

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13:24 Aug-25-2015

not exactly a good idea(the crossfire part)
the 270x i posess draws 120w while gaming and up to 175w while computing
for 15 euro more there are 285s on sale here that would be better
and cheaper to crossfire in a few years
cards get rare and therefor more expensive

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20:01 Aug-29-2015

I don't know man because if you look here it looks like the 270X is no where near the GTX 960

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12:32 Aug-21-2015

"The closest competitor to the GeForce GTX 950 is AMD’s Radeon R7 370, which typically retails for around £20/$20 more."
This isn't true.Most of the R7 370s are cheaper than GTX 950s.In my country for example the cheapest R7 370 costs 40€ less than the cheapest GTX 950.

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15:20 Aug-21-2015

Changes from country to country . In my country 960= 270x or 370 and 380=970

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16:38 Aug-21-2015

I know it's not the same in every country but it says £20/$20 which would mean it's more expensive in US/UK and that isn't true.R7 370 is about £10/$10 cheaper than GTX 950 in US/UK.

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20:48 Aug-22-2015

380= 970? you mean they cost the same ? horrible there is a 140euro gap between them here :O

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06:21 Aug-23-2015

IKR !!!

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06:32 Aug-24-2015
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05:20 Aug-21-2015

Should i upgrade?
Would my cpu bottleneck?

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05:22 Aug-21-2015

Upgrade from 660? nope, that's not a upgrade.
Get 960/970/R9 390.

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10:40 Aug-21-2015

Well so far on GD if you would compare the 660 he owns to a MSI GTX 950 it is a 21% performance boost.

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06:55 Aug-22-2015

Amount of price spend to get 950 for only 21% performance boost. Not worth. He can sell his GPU for 100 bucks. Thn he have to spend 70 bucks for 950 only for 21% peformance boost.

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05:25 Aug-24-2015

Still a good boost and for games that has a requirement for a GTX 760 the GTX 950 will meet it.


Also to me personally i believe anything above 20% is an improvement also he could sell his 660 for easily 120$ if it has always been maintained.

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11:00 Aug-25-2015

Will you upgrade just for 20% improvement?

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05:18 Aug-21-2015

well i am lugging 650 and i'd rather get 960. i am pretty sure 950 will become obsolete in just a year since the same happened with 650. 960 just seems more future proof for 1080p gaming at high settings. and i hate gaming at medium or low settings.

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10:47 Aug-21-2015

Well if you get the GTX 950 when it first comes out it will last you longer than a year and also the GTX 650 my friend owned one before he went to a 750 Ti and it lasted him for 2 years with no problems 1080p high settings.


I plan on getting the GTX 950 cause it is a boost from what i am using now and would meet any game requirement if it is a GTX 760.

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20:15 Aug-21-2015

yeah well to each his own

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05:34 Aug-24-2015

If you look at what i am using right now i am still able to play games on medium to high settings with no problems and i have been using this card since 2013.


Yes i know my card is stronger than yours but if you were to compare the 950 to your card you will see you would be getting almost 100% or maybe more on the boosted between the 2.

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05:59 Aug-24-2015

i will get the 960. it's significantly better than my card and seems a better choice over 950 and i can afford it at the moment.


and i don't think you should get the 950. its not much of an upgrade from your current card. you'd be better getting the 960 ti(if it ever comes out) or 970 and even amd's 380 would be a significant improvement over your current card

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00:56 Aug-21-2015

Pricing in Canada is still screwed up:
Cheapest
950 = $215
960 = $230
R9 380 = $260!!
970 = $406
R9 390 = $415
R9 390x = $530
980 = $668


the older generation cards are even more overpriced
960/970 are still king of value imo
950 might be okayish if it comes bundled with a game (which right now it isn't)

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05:15 Aug-21-2015

Have no idea what part of Canada you live in for those prices.

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11:04 Aug-21-2015

those are from pcpartpicker

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11:26 Aug-21-2015

I wouldn't trust from there not till they have more sellers because come on NCIX really.

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11:32 Aug-21-2015

If you don't mind me asking: where do you buy?

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00:04 Aug-21-2015

Would my CPU be a bottleneck? And if not would it be worth the upgrade?

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00:16 Aug-21-2015

Doubt it would bottleneck with your processor and also just did a check between your card and this one and it would be a 63% boost so i think it would be worth the upgrade.


Also remember a 2GB card is always an upgrade from a 1GB card because for games like Battlefield 4 you would be able to play on a higher settings then you would with what you're using right now.

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00:16 Aug-21-2015

Lastly if you were to look on the FPS chart for the GTX 950 vs the R9 370 the 950 was dishing out better frames.

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18:09 Aug-21-2015

Alright, thank you :)

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20:35 Aug-21-2015

my old 560 chocked on watchdogs... nothing else it had 1gb and as soon as that was eaten up... single digits

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23:59 Aug-20-2015

It's 240$ where I live

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23:50 Aug-20-2015

I am glad this is finally released now i can upgrade my GTX 650 Ti Boost and on here it was showing the GTX 950 is a 34% upgrade which id prefer.


Also we don't know yet if they will release in a little more times a 3GB/4GB model as well which really it would be like what 25$ - 50$ more which i don't know now to wait and see or just buy the 2GB model.

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11:01 Aug-22-2015

same gpu man. I m going to sell it for 120$ i already have found a buyer, and i will prefer the 960 with 100$+ its over 60% better perfomance than 650 ti boost!

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20:24 Aug-20-2015

well my GPU is better ^^ like 74%

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10:41 Aug-21-2015

hello sir mine is even more better... ouch that is hard to say

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20:12 Aug-20-2015

When properly Oced this can be as good as a stock 960 and its better than GTX760 in newer games pretty awesome card this one.

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17:19 Aug-20-2015
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05:08 Aug-21-2015

r9 270x is not very power efficient compared to 950. and so most of the people at whom this card is aimed at will have to upgrade their psu too if they buy a 270x. and that increases the overall cost. that makes 950 better than 270x as it gives same performance for less price

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19:39 Aug-21-2015

yes but think if they are upgrading thier gpu they might as well upgrade thier psu aswell because they will have to upgrade it either way in a couple years anyways, Seeing as this gpu isnt very powerfull they would be better off buying a new psu and stronger gpu, then ****ing out 150$ for something they are gunna throw away in 4 years anyways.

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49
Offline
03:29 Aug-25-2015

can kinda see your point in this a psu upgrade is one of the soundest investments you can make, at relatively little cost compared to other components a jump from say 400w to 700w for example will drastically increase your future upgrade potential and while gpus and motherboards ect may come and go your psu upgrade

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49
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03:34 Aug-25-2015

. . . will continue to endure, some people just want low power consumption tho and thats great to but to me its worth it for the future proofing benefits a stronger psu provides

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