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ASUS, MSI, EVGA GTX 950 Review

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ASUS, MSI, EVGA GTX 950 Testing:

Finding the performance window of this trio of GTX 950 offerings from ASUS, MSI, and EVGA will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will be testing the cards at their stock speeds to see how they stack up and will test each one to find the maximum stable overclock. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. A resolution of 1920 x 1080 will be used for the performance measurements.

 

Testing Setup:

Comparison Video Cards:

  • ASUS R9 270 Direct CU II
  • Sapphire R7 370 Nitro
  • ASUS GTX 950 Strix
  • MSI GTX 950 Gaming
  • EVGA GTX 950 SSC

 

 

Overclocking:

  • ASUS GTX 950 Strix: Core 1569MHz, Memory 1863MHz
  • EVGA GTX 950 SSC: Core 1551MHz, Memory 1857MHz
  • MSI GTX 950 Gaming: Core 1538MHz, Memory 1866MHz

 

Since all three of these cards come pre-overclocked and are capable of 1400MHz+ core clock speeds when running below the power and thermal limits, it proved to be an interesting exercise to push them up to the next level. By using each respective manufacturer's overclocking utility, I was able to push each card up to a boost clock speed of over 1500MHz using the basic tools in each utility. Essentially, Maxwell overclocking 101. I set the power target as high as they would go for each card to start. EVGA had the highest power limit at 135%, while ASUS was at 111%, and MSI falling right in the middle at 118%. Based on the differing original base clock speeds, you see different clock speed offsets were used to reach the maximum boost clock speed. It took +171MHz on the MSI Gaming to reach a final boost clock speed of 1538MHz, EVGA needed a +133 offset to reach 1551MHz, and ASUS needed only a +114MHz offset to take the core clock speed crown.

Memory overclocking was just as easy, but there is the added caveat of knowing when too much memory clock speed is really too much. Each of the cards would get over 1900MHz without failing, but of course the overall performance dropped thanks to memory errors sticking their big head in the works. I backed down the memory clock speeds on the 2GB frame buffers on each card until I saw significant improvements to my final scores in 3DMark. At that point, I would push the clock speed down until the performance again started dipping and bring the memory speeds back up to the level they delivered the best overall results. In this case each card peaked in the 1850MHz to mid 1860MHz range.

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for thirty minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were re-run until they passed a full hour of testing.

 
  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  3. Batman: Arkham Knight
  4. Crysis 3
  5. Battlefield 4
  6. Far Cry 4
  7. Assassin's Creed Unity
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  9. Grand Theft Auto V
  10. 3DMark

 

  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption



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