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Nvidia takes it to AMD in the budget realm
The GeForce GTX 950 is a much better gaming graphics card on a budget than the GTX 750 Ti ever was. For the same money you get over 40% more performance and for the first time in a long while Nvidia is taking it to AMD in the budget realm.
Compared to the Radeon R7 370, the GTX 950 seems like an obvious choice as it was on average 10% faster while consuming roughly the same amount of power. The cheaper R7 370 cards retail for $150 and the GTX 950 is expected to sell for a similar price with an MSRP of $159 at launch.
Where the GTX 950 really represents a great value is through its overclocking abilities, which can place it within spitting distance of the GTX 960, a graphics card that currently retails for $185.
Gamers hoping for playable performance at 1080p will be pleased with what the GTX 950 has to offer, especially considering that most of the games we tested were done so using the highest possible quality settings with some form of anti-aliasing enabled.
Recently released titles such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Dragon Age: Inquisition averaged around 40fps, while older games such as BioShock: Infinite and Hitman: Absolution averaged over 60fps.
The Palit GTX 950 StormX Dual graphics card we received ran very cool at a little over 70 degrees under load while remaining whisper quiet. Although it only has a basic aluminum heatsink, it demonstrated excellent overclocking performance and proved that a 768 core Maxwell GPU doesn't produce much heat.
We don't expect AMD to sit around and watch the GTX 950 dominate the budget gaming market. If history has taught us anything, we expect AMD to slash the price of its R7 370. The company is also likely to rebadge its R9 270X as the R9 370X and with 1280 SPUs it would presumably outperform the GTX 950.
Pros: The GTX 950 is 40% faster than the GTX 750 Ti and 10% faster than R7 370 for about the same price. It occupies little space, overclocks well and operates cool/quiet.
Cons: Nothing, really. The GTX 950 consumes more power than the GTX 750 Ti but this shouldn't be a problem. Keep an eye on the R7 370's price and the R9 270X's successor.