The GTX 960 didn't storm the mid-range market like many had hoped it would. With the R7 and R9 300 series cards from AMD having also been out for a while now, the GTX 960 has settled into is slot in the market, currently occupying the £150 price point. Starting at £130, the GTX 950 seems to be priced properly. It offers a marginal but noticeable performance bump over the R7 370 (in most instances) for a price increase of around the same amount, percentage wise, and the same is roughly true when stepping up in turn to the GTX 960.
In terms of features, the GTX 950 impresses as well and is future proof with things like G-Sync and DX12 support. With HDMI 2.0, H.265 encode and decode and low power consumption, the card is also well-suited to HTPC environments. If you're coming from a GTX 650 or below like Nvidia suggests, it will definitely be a welcome upgrade.
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However, those Middle Earth results do raise some flags with regards to frame buffer size, memory bandwidth and card longevity. Admittedly, we're testing at unrealistic settings, with Nvidia itself saying it's targeting 1080p gameplay with medium settings. However, today's games at high settings are tomorrow's on medium, and while not every game is as demanding as Shadow of Mordor, the game arguably shows us a glimpse of what future game development will look like. Ultimately, it likely depends on the type of games you like to play. If you're all about MOBAs, the GTX 950 is more than powerful enough, and will be for a long time – these games depend on being playable by as many people as possible. If it's triple A games with cutting-edge graphics technology that floats your boat, a 4GB card may well be worth the extra investment. With GTX 960, R7 370 and R9 380 cards all available with 4GB, it seems likely the GTX 950 will follow suit.
Turning to the Gigabyte card, we think it's fine but nothing special. Its dinky profile is appreciated, but we do wish it were a little more discrete in terms of noise. It's still a quiet card, but given the low power consumption here we think that noise could have been kept even lower. Still, the price to performance is decent, assuming it sticks close to the MSRP as we've been told it will, and it's a fantastic overclocker too, meaning it should be easy to squeeze more value from it. It's all about bang per buck at this end of the market, so we're happy to recommend it if it suits your budget, but it's not a must-have card – it will be worth shopping around.