NVIDIA Introduces the GeForce GTX 950 for MOBA Gamers and Shares the GeForce ExperienceClayMeow -
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NVIDIA Introduces the GeForce GTX 950, the First GPU Tailored For High Performance MOBA Gaming
NVIDIA has unveiled a new entry-level graphics card, the GeForce GTX 950, and at a mere $159 USD, anyone looking to upgrade their machines may want to take notice. We'll have to wait and see how it compares to other 900 series and 700 series cards when Frank gets his hands on it, but for now, NVIDIA is comparing it to the three-year-old GTX 650. Why that card? Based on the July 2015 Steam Hardware Survey, it's ranked #8 among all video cards, including integrated graphics, so a lot of users could use the upgrade.
Using NVIDIA's latest Maxwell architecture, the GTX 950 reportedly runs 3x faster than the GTX 650 in many games while delivering 2x the performance/wattage with its mere 90W TDP. It also has 2GB VRAM (twice that of the GTX 650) and, of course, includes complete DirectX 12 support, making it quite the improvement. The GTX 950 ships with a base clock frequency of 1024MHz and boost clock of 1188MHz, with NVIDIA's internal team able to achieve speeds of 1400MHz or more with no voltage or fan speed modifications, all while staying below 80 °C.
Where the GTX 950 will really shine is in MOBA gaming. If you're a PC gamer, then I am sure you must have heard about MOBAs, if not played at least one of the many that are out there. Standing for Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, MOBAs have taken gaming by storm thanks to the extreme success of Dota 2 and League of Legends, and have brought eSports to the forefront. To highlight just how huge MOBA gaming is, you need look no further than the recently completed 2015 International Dota 2 Championship, which had a total prize pool of $18.4 million USD, with the winning team taking home more than $6.6 million USD. Yes, for playing video games.
Anyone who has ever played a MOBA (or really, any real-time strategy game), knows the importance of responsiveness. A half second can mean the difference between killing or being killed. The GTX 950 "provides ultra-smooth high frame rate MOBA gaming with superior image quality, and reduced input latency." NVIDIA has accomplished this with two key techniques focused on faster rendering and latency optimization, debuting with the GTX 950, but surely coming to other cards in the future: reducing render time on the GPU, and reducing the number of pre-rendered frames to one. The latter may be slightly confusing, but in the past there was an extra buffered stage when rendering a frame, but with the "Maximum Pre-Rendered Frames" setting in the new NVIDIA Control Panel, you can set that to one.
With these new techniques, NVIDIA claims the GTX 950 provides an almost 2x improvement of mouse click-to-screen response time over the GTX 650. In its Dota 2 testing, the GTX 650 had a response time of 80ms, while the GTX 950 had a response time of 45ms. For those that failed math class, that's a decrease of 35ms. Best of all, you won't have to go into the Control Panel to fiddle around. GeForce Experience is getting a small but significant upgrade to now have access to Control Panel settings. This will only be available for the GTX 950 and MOBA games for now, but will be coming to other GPUs and games in the near future. If you do happen to pick up a GTX 950, GeForce Experience will automatically optimize Dota 2, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm for reduced latency and smoother gameplay by adding additional control for four key features: refresh rate, vertical sync, maximum pre-rendered frames, and multi-frame sampled anti-aliasing (MFAA). GeForce Experience will contain two entries per MOBA: one containing high-quality settings typical gamers use, and the second one containing the "high FPS low latency" settings for competitive gamers.
While I highly suggest you wait for Frank's review of the card before making your purchase decision, if you're a MOBA gamer in the market for a new graphics card, you should certainly keep your eye on this card. And if you happen to be a console gamer interested to see what this MOBA fuss is all about without breaking the bank, this may be a perfect entry point into the world of PC and MOBA gaming.