Sub-$150 Pascal: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 & GTX 1050 Ti Review

MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
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by Rob Williams on October 25, 2016 in Graphics & Displays

Since the first Pascal release this past spring, NVIDIA has rolled-out a handful of high-end (and really high-end) GPUs, so now, it’s time to get the low-end settled. That’s fulfilled with the release of the GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti – both 75W parts. Priced at $109 and $139, respectively, both cards target the 1080p resolution. Let’s see how they fare against each other, and AMD’s Radeon RX 460.

Tests: Futuremark 3DMark, Unigine Heaven & Catzilla

Futuremark 3DMark

I don’t like to overdo “time demos”, but I do love running some hands-off benchmarks that you at home can run as well (provided you have a license) so that you can accurately compare your performance to ours. It goes without saying that any synthetic testing would have to include Futuremark, and in particular for high-end cards, 3DMark’s Fire Strike test.

3DMark includes a number of different game tests, but today’s graphics cards are so powerful, the Fire Strike test is really the only one that makes sense. At 1080p, even modest GPUs can deliver decent performance. A great thing about Fire Strike is that the official tests encompass three different resolutions, including 4K, making it perfect for our testing.

Futuremark 3DMark
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 & GTX 1050 Ti - Futuremark 3DMark

3DMark backs up what we’ve seen throughout the entire review; the 1050 Ti falls well behind the RX 470, and both the Ti and non-Ti 1050s come well ahead of the RX 460.

Unigine Heaven

It’s hard to tell at this point if Heaven is ever going to see a new update, as it’s been quite a while since the last one, but what we have today is still a fantastic benchmark to run. That’s thanks to the fact that it’s free, an also because it can still prove so demanding on today’s highest-end GPUs. It’s also a great test for tessellation performance, as it lets you increase or decrease its intensity. For testing, I stick with ‘Normal’ tessellation.

Unigine Heaven
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 & GTX 1050 Ti - Unigine Heaven

Unigine once again comes to the defense of 3DMark and some of our other benchmarks. The difference between the non-Ti and Ti 1050s is not great, but the Ti card is still much preferred given its larger framebuffer – something this test clearly doesn’t take too much advantage of.

Catzilla

Meow hear this: there’s a new benchmark in town that promises to be purrfect for testing 4K resolutions. So, that’s just what I’ve used it for. The test consists of a cat innocently roaming a street until chaos ensues. Before long, this feline is mowing down buildings with its laser eyes, destroying GPU performance at the same time.

Catzilla
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 & GTX 1050 Ti - Catzilla 4K

It’d be a CATasrophe at this point of the review to have some irregular results, so fortunately, Catzilla keeps things in check. At the brutal resolution of 4K, I am lucky I didn’t short out our test rig for making the GPUs sweat so hard.

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Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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