GPU Comparisons, GTA V, BF4, Bioshock

Testing Configuration

I covered this pretty well on the first page, but our review of the new GeForce GTX 950 graphics card will pit it against a host of existing cards already available on the market. From NVIDIA that includes the GTX 750 Ti and the GTX 960 to allow us to see how well the newcomer fits in the product stack based on its price. And from AMD we use the Radeon R7 370, the closest price competitor from AMD’s refreshed R9 300-series product line.

Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E
Motherboard ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
Memory Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 16GB
Hard Drive OCZ Agility 4 256GB SSD
Sound Card On-board
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 2GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB
AMD Radeon R7 370 4GB
Graphics Drivers AMD: 15.7.1
NVIDIA: 355.65
Power Supply Corsair AX1200i
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro x64

What you should be watching for

  1. GTX 950 vs GTX 960 – How much performance do you sacrifice dropping from the full GM206 GPU to the slightly cut down version used in the GTX 950? And would bumping up to the GTX 960 be worth the money?
  2. GTX 950 vs GTX 750 Ti – One of our favorite budget cards of all time, the GTX 750 Ti presents a formidable hurdle for the GTX 950 in theory. But if the GTX 950 runs past it on performance does it still have a life nearly 18 months after release?
  3. GTX 950 vs R7 370 – AMD continues to be aggressive with performance per dollar though that seems to slip somewhat with the newer R9/R7 300 cards launch this June. The R7 370 is based on the same Pitcairn GPU as the R9 280 and the HD 7800 so it lacks a significant amount of capability and features. Can it keep NVIDIA on its toes for the sub-$200 price point?

As we dive into the performance section of our review, please excuse the brevity. Time constraints and a lack of controversial data have led me to lessen the number of graphs to be tossed at the reader. Rather than showing you frame time graphs, two different FPS graphs, frame variance results for 7 different games, let me instead assure you that all of the GPUs in question performed well within expectations from a frame latency point of view. Instead I will simply show you our Observed FPS and FPS by Percentile results that offer up estimated average FPS (the 50th percentile). This is nothing we are looking to do full time going forward but instead are using this as shortcut for this review.

Grand Theft Auto V

Our first title, GTA V, running at 1080p with Very High quality presets starts the GTX 950 down the path we thought it would be on: resting between the performance of the GTX 960 and the GTX 750 Ti with a heavy weight towards its GM206 cousin. Pulling in just under 40 FPS in our testing, the ASUS GTX 950 Strix is 15% slower than the GTX 950, 34% faster than the GX 750 Ti and 14% faster than the AMD R7 370.

Battlfield 4

In another seemingly perfect distribution of performance, the GTX 950 is nestled between the R7 370 and the GTX 960 and leaves the GTX 750 Ti well behind. At 1080p under the Ultra quality preset the new card is able to run at 43 average FPS in our scenario, putting it 13% behind the GTX 960 but 22% ahead of the R7 370.

Bioshock Infinite

Somewhat surprisingly here the GTX 750 Ti and the R7 370 are much closer to each other in performance than they are either of the GM206 GPU-based cards. We can see that with an average frame rate of 90 FPS the GTX 950 is 16% slower than the GTX 960 but is a whopping 34% faster than the Radeon R7 370 with twice the frame buffer!

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