Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Review: feat. Gigabyte

August 20, 2015 // 1:56 p.m.

Tags: #best-gtx-950 #gm206 #gtx-950 #maxwell

Companies: #gigabyte #nvidia

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC 2GB Review

Manufacturer: Gigabyte
UK price (as reviewed):
MSRP £129 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): MSRP $159 (ex Tax)

The Gigabyte GTX 950 OC ships without any accessories or cables. It is a dual-slot, dual fan card with a 172mm PCB but a total length of 197mm thanks to the extended cooler. Even so, this is small enough to fit comfortably in the vast majority of small form factor cases. The cooler has an open shroud, so heat will be mostly recirculated into your chassis. The shroud itself is plastic and a little bendy, and there's no backplate either, but overall the card is still a solid little unit.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Review: feat. Gigabyte Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC 2GB Review - The Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Review: feat. Gigabyte Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC 2GB Review - The Card
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As the name implies, this is an overclocked variant of the GTX 950, meaning the performance you see in the charts will be slightly higher than a true reference design. Gigabyte has overclocked the core by around 8 percent to 1,102MHz, for a rated boost clock of 1,279MHz. The memory has been left at 6.6GHz effective.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Review: feat. Gigabyte Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC 2GB Review - The Card
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The GTX 950 offers 2-way SLI support via its single connector and is the lowest end card in Nvidia's current stack to do so.

Along the top we find a singular 6-pin PCI-E connection. This means up to 150W can be delivered to the card once you include the PCI-E slot itself, and this is far more than it requires given that it's rated as a 90W part.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Review: feat. Gigabyte Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC 2GB Review - The Card
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Gigabyte has opted for an older selection of video outputs, although this arguably makes sense for the target audience. You'll find one dual-link DVI-I, one dual-link DVI-D, an HDMI 2.0 connection and lastly a DisplayPort 1.2.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Review: feat. Gigabyte Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC 2GB Review - The Card
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Examining the PCB reveals a 4+1 phase power arrangement next to the rear IO panel, which is more than enough to take care of this card's low power demands. We also find two Samsung 4Gb chips on the front side and a further two on the rear.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Review: feat. Gigabyte Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC 2GB Review - The Card
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The heatsink design is very basic; just a large contact plate soldered to the fin stack above. It only makes direct contact with the tiny GM206 GPU; the memory chips and MOSFETs are left without direct cooling, though they will receive airflow from the two fans. These are controlled by a 4-pin header and have a special blade design that Gigabyte claims reduces turbulence and noise while increasing cooling performance. This is all well and good, but we were disappointed to learn Gigabyte hasn't made them semi-passive, as we expect a number of other partners will offer this feature.
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