MSI GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
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MSI GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G Introduction:
Starting back in May, we have rolled through the NVIDIA product stack as each successive down scaling of the Pascal micro architecture created a new card at a new price point to look at. Today, the 50 series is up and ready to take a swing at the ball. The GTX 1080 does the heavy lifting as the flagship card and does a fine job of delivering unparalleled gaming FPS performance. The problem is that not everyone can handle the hit to their pocketbook to play in the deep end of the pool. MSI's GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G is part of a 1-2 punch for this launch, where we see the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti come out simultaneously with slightly different performance and price points.
The GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G is part of MSI's Gaming series of products and comes packed with the tech specific to this series, such as Twin Frozr VI cooling with Torx 2.0 fans, Military Class IV component selection, RGB lighting for the logo, and controllable LEDs for the rest of the card. Based on NVIDIA's Pascal 14nm FinFET architecture, the GTX 1050 should deliver excellent performance for its +/- $120 price tag. Let's see what MSI has packed into this model and figure out just what kind of FPS performance this card can deliver at its targeted resolution of 1920x1080.
MSI GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G Closer Look:
MSI's packaging for the Gaming series is consistent between models, as it should be, so that consumers know what to look for if their loyalties lie with MSI and the Gaming brand. The front of the package shows an illustration of the GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G surrounded by the model identification and some of the basic specifications of the card, including amount of VRAM (2GB), Direct X support, and that this card is equipped with MSI's Twin Frozr VI cooling solution. The back side goes into quite a bit more detail on the feature set of the card, including Simultaneous Multi-Projection, VR Works, G-Sync, support for the Vulkan API, and more. The big buckets are the custom LED lighting modules on the top of the shroud, Twin Frozr VI cooling, and MSI's own Gaming App. This tool offers up a ton of functionality, including preset clock speed/fan profiles, game capture software, lighting controls, and much more.
While it looks much like its larger, beefier siblings, the MSI GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G is just a bit smaller in scale, measuring just 229 x 131 x 39mm across all three axes. Built around NVIDIA's Pascal GP107 14nm FinFET core, the GTX 1050 comes from the factory pre-overclocked for better than average gaming performance at this price point. The head-on view shows a pair of Torx 2.0 dispersion blade fans that deliver up to a 22% increase in air pressure through the Twin Frozr VI heat pipe based cooling solution. The red accents on the Twin Frozr shroud light up and can be made to function in a variety of lighting scenarios when you control them via MSI's Gaming App. The back view is pretty basic, as without the addition of a backplate there is not a lot to discuss here. The top and bottom view of the card shows that the Twin Frozr heatpipe-based cooling solution is fairly robust and extends from end to end of the custom PCB. As is the case with most gaming centric video cards, the GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G is designed to work in a PCIe 16x slot.
Display connectivity is trimmed back on this Pascal-based card with a single DVI-D port, an HDMI 2.0 port, and a single DisplayPort 1.4 port that supports resolutions up to 2560x1600. This configuration supports up to three displays. MSI is using the same I/O panel design I have seen on its latest Gaming series cards. The MSI dragon icon can be seen when you look at the design. As designed, it allows plenty of airflow through the back I/O of the card while the majority of the thermal load goes into the chassis air stream. The back end of the card is open, allowing the airflow from the Torx 2.0 dispersion blade fans to exit the shroud. The fan and main LED power connections are located at the bottom rear of the custom black PCB.
NVIDIA no longer supports multi-GPU solutions on cards lower than the GTX 1070, so you will not see an SLI connection on the PCB. Multi-GPU solutions can become workable in some DX12 titles that have multi-GPU support for MDA or Explicit LDA modes, as long as the developers decide to make this option available in the game. The MSI logo is LED lit and by default is white until you change it within the MSI Gaming App. In that utility, the MSI logo can be changed to any color in the RGB spectrum to better match your system build. A single 6-pin PEG connection is used to supply a total of 150 watts of power to this card, giving the user a bit more headroom for overclocking. Out of the box, MSI recommends, at a minimum, a 300 watt power supply for use with this card in a system.
Pulling the heat pipe-based Twin Frozr VI cooling solution off the card, you can see there is not a lot of hardware underneath for the added airflow from the dispersion blade fans to cool. It looks like Military Class IV component-based 3+1 phase power circuit is used to provide the go juice to the GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G. Hi-C Tantalum-based caps, Super Ferrite chokes, and solid capacitors make up the base of the power circuit. MSI uses its Close Quarters cooling technology to direct airflow strategically through the Twin Frozr VI fin array.
Take away the Torx 2.0 fans and Twin Frozr VI shroud, and you are left with the bare essentials of the cooling package: the Twin Frozr heat sink. This iteration uses a single 8mm heatpipe that loops from the front to the rear of the card while passing through the contact plate as a direct contact cooling solution. If you look at the sides of the heat sink fin array, you will see airflow diverters that increase the time the airflow stays in the heat sink, picking up more of the thermal load while being directed over the on-board components to complete the Close Quarters cooling aspect of the Twin Frozr design.
The heart of the MSI GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G is the GP 107 16nm FinFET Pascal core. This iteration has 3.3 billion transitors in a 132mm2 sized die. Much smaller than that of the GP104 core on the GTX 1080. Inside are 640 CUDA cores, 32 ROPs, and 64 texture units. Base/boost clock speeds on the GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G are 1442/1556MHz in OC mode for a small boost over the factory rating on this core. MSI is using 2GB of 7Gbps GDDR5 memory running through an efficient 128-bit bus to deliver the memory bandwidth needed to make this card an excellent gaming value.
Selling for $129, the GTX 1050 Gaming X 2G is at a pretty sweet price/performance spot that should allow it to deliver good gaming FPS up to 1920x1080. Let's see how well it does in some worst case testing using our regular testing regimen.