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ASUS GTX 950-2G “Unplugged” Review

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Rating: 8.5.

Back in early 2014 Nvidia first demonstrated its Maxwell architecture, based on a 28nm process, and in unorthodox fashion the first graphics card to emerge was the low-power GTX 750 Ti. It wasn’t until later on that year that Maxwell was rolled-out to the high performance segment, with the GTX 980.

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It’s now mid-2016 and the GTX 750 Ti is still a current product as it serves a market segment that no other graphics card serves in quite the same way. The GTX 750 Ti offers reasonable 1080p gaming capability while being entirely motherboard-bus powered – no additional power cables are required resulting in a sub-75W TDP.

In practice this means systems that are difficult to modify, such as OEM pre-builds or systems with weak power supplies, can make a reasonable step up from low-performance integrated graphics or other graphics solutions. AMD has no direct answer to the GTX 750 Ti since its fastest bus-powered graphics card, the R7 250, falls about 50% short in performance terms.

The unofficial successor to the GTX 750 Ti has come in the form of low power “6-pin-less” GTX 950s. ASUS delivers its version in the form of its GTX 950-2G. While not ground-breaking in design or performance, this quirky product should appeal to the same audience as the GTX 750 Ti – which is surprisingly large.

According to Steam’s June 2016 survey results the GTX 750 Ti had 4.19% in the DX11 and DX12 categories. For context, that’s almost twice AMD’s entire R9 200 series (R9 295X2, R9 290X, R9 290, R9 285, R9 280X, R9 280, R9 270X, R9 270) which records 2.27% in Steam’s statistics for the same DX11 and DX12 categories.

GPU  GeForce GTX 950  ASUS GTX 950-2G GeForce GTX 750 Ti
Streaming Multiprocessors  6  5
CUDA Cores  768  768   640
Base Clock  1,024 MHz 1,026 MHz  1,020 MHz
GPU Boost Clock 1,188 MHz 1,190 MHz 1,085 MHz
Total Video memory  2GB  2GB   2GB
Texture Units  48  48   40
Memory Clock  6,600 MHz  6,612 MHz 5,400 MHz
Bus Width  128-bit  128-bit   128-bit
ROPs  32  32  16
Manufacturing Process  28nm  28nm  28nm
TDP  90 W 75 W  60 W

ASUS and the other vendors making similar low power GTX 950s haven’t made it clear about whether the low power GTX 950 GPU is any different to a normal GTX 950,though there’s no evidence to suggest it is any different. As such it can be thought of as a GTX 950 constrained to a 75-Watt TDP, rather than the usual 90-Watts.

That 17% reduction in TDP should have a resultant impact on performance, even so a GTX 950 operating at a slight performance penalty should be able to outperform a GTX 750 Ti.

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