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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]
NVIDIA just launched the new entry-level video card of the GeForce GTX 900 series, the GTX 950. It is based on the GM206 chip, coming with 768 processing cores, 128 bit memory bus and DirectX 12.1 support. We analyzed the Gigabyte N950WF2OC-2GD, which has 2 GiB memory running at 6.6 GHz and factory overclocked to 1,279 MHz. Let’s see how it performs against the Radeon R7 370.
As we mentioned, the graphics chip of the GeForce GTX 950 is the GM206, the same found on the GeForce GTX 960. The GeForce GTX 950 has eight SMM (Streaming Multiprocessor Maxwell) units, each one with 128 processing cores (for a total of 1,024 cores), while on the GeForce GTX 950, two of those units are disabled and, therefore, there are 768 processing cores.
The standard clock of the GeForce GTX 950 chip is 1,024 MHz with boost clock of 1,188 MHz, and memory running at 6.6 GHz. However, it is very hard to find nowadays a video card with standard clocks; we ran this test with a Gigabyte card, model N950WF2OC-2GD, which has a 6.6 GHz memory, but a 1,102 MHz base clock and 1,279 boost clock (about 7.6% overclocking). So, you need to keep in mind that the results we obtained are valid only for the tested card; other cards based on the same chip but with different clocks may have slightly different performances.
According to NVIDIA, the GeForce GTX 950 (reference price of USD 160) has the Radeon R7 370 (reference price of USD 150) as a direct competitor. The GeForce GTX 950 occupies the price position formerly occupied by the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, which had a price reduction for the USD 110 baseline.
For this roundup, we tested the GeForce GTX 950 in several games, comparing it to the Radeon R7 370 (model R7-370P-2SF5 from XFX), and to the GeForce GTX 750 Ti reference board. This Radeon R7 370 also have a small GPU factory overclocking, since its standard clock is 9750 MHz, and the tested card uses a 995 MHz clock (about 2% overclocking).

GeForce GTX 950Figure 1: the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 (N950WF2OC-2GD)

GeForce GTX 950Figure 2: the XFX Radeon R7 370 (R7-370P-2SF5)

In the table below, we compared the main specifications of the video cards included in this test. The prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day this test was published.

Video card Core clock Turbo clock Memory clock (effective) Memory bus Memory bandwidth Memory Processing cores TDP DirectX Price

GeForce GTX 950

1,102 MHz

1,279 MHz

6.6 GHz

128 bits

105.6 GB/s

2 GiB GDDR5

768

90 W

12.1

USD 160

Radeon R7 370

925 MHz

995 MHz

5.6 GHz

256 bits

179 GB/s

2 GiB GDDR5

1,024

110 W

12

USD 150

GeForce GTX 750 Ti

1,020 MHz

1,085 MHz

5.4 GHz

128 bits

86.4 GB/s

2 GiB GDDR5

640

60 W

11.2

USD 110

Let’s now take a closer look at the tested Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950.
[nextpage title=”The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 (part 1)”]
In Figure 3 you can see the video connectors of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950. It brings one DVI-I, one DVI-D, one HDMI 2.0, and one DisplayPort connectors. The card supports up to four simultaneous displays.

GeForce GTX 950Figure 3: video connectors

Figure 4 shows the top of the card. It uses a six-pin PCI Express power connector. The cooler used by this Gigabyte model has no heatpipes.

GeForce GTX 950Figure 4: top view

Figure 5 unveils the solder side of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950. Here you can see two memory chips.

GeForce GTX 950Figure 5: solder side view

Figure 6 shows the GTX 950 with the cooler removed. It is a simple, single-piece aluminum cooler, with no heatpipes and no contact with the memory chips.
At the video card, you can see more two memory chips.

GeForce GTX 950Figure 6: the GeForce GTX 950 with the cooler removed

[nextpage title=”The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 (part 2)”]
Figure 7 shows the GM206 chip. As we mentioned before, it is the same chip of the GeForce GTX 960, but with two SMM units disabled. It is manufactured with 28 nm technology.

GeForce GTX 950Figure 7: the GM206 chip

Figure 8 presents one of the four memory chips of the GTX 950. It is a Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 chip, with 4 Gib (512 MiB) capacity and maximum clock of 3.5 GHz (7 GHz effective clock). So, there is some room for memory overclocking within its specifications.

GeForce GTX 950Figure 8: memory chip

Figure 9 shows the voltage regulator circuit of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950. It uses four phases for the GPU and one phase for the memory chips.

GeForce GTX 950Figure 9: voltage regulator circuit

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications “]
The main characteristics of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 (N950WF2OC-2GD) include:

  • GPU: GeForce GTX 950 (GM206) running at 1,102 MHz (base clock) or 1,279 MHz (boost clock)
  • Memory: 2 GiB GDDR5 (128 bit bus), four Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 chips, running at 6.6 GHz
  • Bus: PCI Express 3.0 x16
  • Video connectors: one DVI-I, one DVI-D, one HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.2
  • Power consumption: 90 W
  • Recommended power supply: 350 W
  • Cables and adapters that come with the card: none
  • CDs/DVDs that come with the card: one disk with drivers and utilities
  • Included games: none
  • Included programs: none
  • More information: https://www.gigabyte.com/
  • MSRP in the USA: USD 170

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between tests, the only variable component was the video card being tested. We overclocked the CPU to 3.5 GHz, in order to reduce any possible bottleneck caused by the CPU.
Hardware configuration

Software configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Desktop resolution: 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz

Drivers versions

  • Intel INF driver: 10.0
  • NVIDIA video driver (GeForce GTX 950)*: 355.69
  • NVIDIA video driver (GeForce GTX 750 Ti)*: 355.60
  • AMD video driver: 15.7.1

Software used

Error margin
We adopted a 3% error margin. Thus, differences below 4% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.
* We had to use two different drivers because the 355.69 version supports only the GeForce GTX 950.
[nextpage title=”3DMark”]
3DMark is a program with several benchmarks. We ran the Fire Strike Extreme, Fire Strike, and Sky Diver tests.
GeForce GTX 950
The Fire Strike Extreme is one of the heaviest benchmarks of this program, running DirectX 11 simulations at 2560 x 1440 resolution. In this test, the GTX 950 was 25% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and 49% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.
GeForce GTX 950
The Fire Strike benchmark measures DirectX 11 performance and it is aimed at “gamer” computers, running at 1920 x 1080. In this test, the GeForce GTX 950 was 20% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and 45% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.
GeForce GTX 950

The 3DMark Sky Diver benchmark is targeted to mainstream computers, with DirectX 11 simulations. It runs at 1920 x 1080 resolution. In this test, the GeForce GTX 950 was 21% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and 41% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.

[nextpage title=”Battlefield 4″]
Battlefield 4 is one of the most popular games of the Battlefield franchise, being launched in 2013. It is based on the Frostbite 3 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure the performance in this game, we played the first mission, measuring the framerate three times using FRAPS. We ran the game at 1920 x 1080, with image quality set to “high”.
The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX 950

At Battlefield 4, the GeForce GTX 950 was 8% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and 42% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.

[nextpage title=”Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare”]
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a first person shooter (FPS) game from the popular Call of Duty series, launched at the last quarter of 2014.
We played the first mission of the game with all visual options at “high”, at 1920 x 1080 (Full HD), measuring the framerate tree times using FRAPS.
The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX 950

Running CoD: Advanced Warfare, the GeForce GTX 950 was 19% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and 41% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.

[nextpage title=”Dirt Rally”]
Dirt Rally is an off-road racing game released in April 2015, using Ego engine. To measure performance using this game, we ran the performance test included in the game, in 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) resolution and image quality configured as “high” and 2x MSAA.
The results below are expressed in frames per second (fps).

GeForce GTX 950

In this game, the GeForce GTX 950 was 19% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and e 39% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.

[nextpage title=”Dragon Age: Inquisition”]
Dragon Age: Inquisition is the most recent game from the popular action RPG franchise Dragon Age. It was launched in November 2014 and uses the Frostbite 3 engine with SpeedTree.
We ran the game at 1920 x 1080 (Full HD), with all quality options at “high”, measuring three times the framerate with FRAPS.
The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.
GeForce GTX 950
On Dragon Age: Inquisition, the GeForce GTX 950 was 16% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and 46% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.
[nextpage title=”Dying Light”]
Dying Light is an open-world horror game launched in January 2015, using the Chrome Engine 6. We tested the performance at this game with all quality options at “high”, at 1920 x 1080 (Full HD), measuring three times the framerate using FRAPS.
The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.
GeForce GTX 950
At the Dying Light test, the GeForce GTX 950 was 14% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and 44% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.
[nextpage title=”Far Cry 4″]
Far Cry 4 is the most recent title in this popular franchise. It uses the Dunia 2 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure the performance on this game, we played the same mission three times, measuring the framerate with FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920 x 1080, with the image quality set as “high”.
The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX 950

Running Far Cry 4, the GeForce GTX 950 outperformed the Radeon R7 370 by 9%, and the GeForce GTX 750 Ti by  42%.

[nextpage title=”Grand Theft Auto V”]
Grand Theft Auto V, or simply GTA V, is a open-world action game released for PCs in April of 2015, using the RAGE engine. In order to measure the performance on this game, we ran the performance test of the game, measuring the framerate with FRAPS. We ran GTA V at 1920 x 1080, with image quality set to “high” and 2x MSAA.

The results below are expressed in frames per second.

GeForce GTX 950

At GTA V, the GeForce GTX 950 was 12% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and 46% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.

[nextpage title=”The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”]
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an open-world RPG, released in May of 2015 and based on the REDengine 3 engine. In order to measure the performance on this game, we walk around at the first scene of the game, measuring the framerate with FRAPS three times. We ran the game at Full HD (1920 x 1080), with image quality set to “medium”.
The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

O The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt é um RPG em mundo aberto, lançado em maio de 2015 e baseado no motor REDengine 3. Para medir o desempenho usando este jogo, nós ficamos andando pelo primeiro cenário do jogo, medindo três vezes o número de quadros por segundo usando o FRAPS. Nós rodamos o jogo em 1920 x 1080 (Full HD), com a qualidade de imagem configurada em “média”. Os resultados abaixo estão expressos em quadros por segundo e são a média aritmética dos três resultados coletados. GeForce GTX 950 Neste jogo, a GeForce GTX 950 foi 17% mais rápida do que a Radeon R7 370 e 40% mais rápida do que a GeForce GTX 750 Ti.

In this game, the GeForce GTX 950 was 17% faster than the Radeon R7 370, and 40% faster than the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
Analyzing the technical specs of the GeForce GTX 950 and of the Radeon R7 370, it may seem that the NVIDIA card is weaker. After all, so many people believe the “number of bits” of a video card determines how powerful it is, and that a video card with 256 bit memory bus is always faster than a 128 bit one.
However, our tests proved that it is not a general rule: the GeForce GTX 950 (Gigabyte N950WF2OC-2GD) was consistently faster than the Radeon R7 370 (XFX R7-370P-2SF5) in all the games we used, winning by a margin between 8% and 19%.
Regarding to the GeForce GTX 750 Ti (which is been replaced by the GTX 950 on the USD 150 price segment), the performance gain is even higher, between 39% and 46%, which is an excellent gain from one generation to another.
In general, the GeForce GTX 950 fulfills what NVIDIA promises: it offers a good gameplay experience in recent games, in Full HD and high image quality, with more than 60 fps in most games, even being an “entry level” video card inside the GTX 900 series.
With great cost/benefit ratio, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 deserves our Golden Award.