ASUS Strix GTX 950 DC2OC
ASUS released the Strix GTX 950 DC2OC at an Entry / Mainstream price of $159.99 and previous to the GTX 950 NVIDIA was stuck at the $200 price point with the GTX 960. The GTX 960 $200 price point left them vulnerable to sub $200 AMD video cards covering that price point and after an appropriate period of time the GTX 950 was born to fill the gap in the NVIDIA pricing structure. The ASUS Strix GTX 950 DC2OC utilities the same GM206 core that the GTX 960 uses but NVIDIA trimmed away a little of the hardware to make the $160 price range. AMD put out the R9 300 series including the R9 380 in the $200 – $249 price bracket and frankly the 4G on the AMD card at that price point makes for a good seller and in most cases slightly outperforms the GTX 960, then along comes the R7 370 at the $150 dollar price range leaving Nvidia with nothing to compete at that price.
Naturally NVIDIA wants to cover all price points so they did a snip and clip on the GM206 Maxwell core and trimmed 256 Cuda cores off the GTX 960 leaving 768 Shaders on the GTX 950. You still have the same 2GB GDDR5 running across a 128-bit bus and 32 ROPS but GTX 960 gets 85 TMUs while GTX 950 gets 64 and those are really the hardware trade offs NVIDIA had to do to field a $160 video card. So short-winded recap the GTX 950 loses 256 Cuda cores and 21 TMUs than NVIDIA turned down the core speed and the memory speed a little and out of the chefs kitchen emerges the GTX 950.
|Asus Strix GTX 950 DC2OC||EVGA GTX 960 SSC||GeForce GTX 760|
|Process||28 nm||28 nm||28 nm|
|Transistors||2.94 billion||2.94 billion||3.54 billion|
|GPU clock||1165 MHz||1279 MHz||960 MHz|
|GPU Boost clock||1653 MHz||1342 MHz||1033 MHz|
|Memory GDDR5||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB|
|Memory clock||1653 (6610) MHz||1750 (7010) MHz||1500 (6000) MHz|
|Memory interface||128 Bit||128 Bit||256 Bit|
|Memory bandwidth||105.76 GB/s||112.16 GB/s||192.200 MB/s|
|TDP||125 Watt||160 Watt||170 Watt|
|Cooler||ACX 2.0||ACX 2.0||NVIDIA Reference|
Getting away from the GTX 950 / GTX 960 generics and talking specifically about the ASUS Strix GTX 950 DC2OC the stock reference GTX 950 gets a core speed of 1024MHz and the ASUS Strix GTX 960 DC2OC gets an overclocked core that runs at 1165MHz or a nice little OC of 141MHz straight from the factory. While the Core clock is 1165MHz that’s not all the fun to be had the core will boost to 1355MHz so you get an additional 190MHz from the boost clock. The memory speed on the ASUS Strix GTX 950 DC2OC is the same as the reference design of 1653MHz and it features a totally custom factory overclocked card sporting the ASUS DirectCU II cooler.
Sporting what we would normally call a bikini cowling this iteration of DirectCU II is all about cooling the core itself and other than the screws holding the cowling in place the only contact it makes is with the GPU chip itself.
Strip off the cowling and you get to see the GM206 Maxwell GPU chip itself and we uncovered 2 of the 4 Samsung 510 k4g41325fc-hc28 500MB memory chips with an unusual placement of two on front and two on back. We’ll get a closer look at the chips a little later. You can see the 5 phase Super Alloy Power II components that enhance the efficiency of the video card and provide 2X less component buzzing than traditional designs.
Popping the cowling off is a simple matter of removing 4 screws and you see the two copper core heat pipes that directly contact the GPU chip extending out through the cooling fins and the rest of the cooler floats above the components which leaves plenty of space for the cowling fans to whisk away component heat. The DirectCU II is direct contact heatpipes that directly touch the GPU core heating the coolant inside which becomes a vapor travels through the heatpipes until it has cooled back to a liquid then trickles back down to the contact point to start the cycle all over again.
The exclusive 10mm heatpipe providing 2.8 times the heat dissipation of regular heat pipes and will whisk 40% more heat away from the core. With the highly efficient DIrectCU II design you should be running 20% cooler and 3X quieter than reference design cards. To complete the cooling ASUS uses specially designed fan blades that deliver 105% more air pressure than conventional fans.
The 0dB design allows the fans to come to a complete stop when the GPU is under a certain temperature allowing you to run with no added fan noise. In general we see the fans spinning down under 60°C and during less demanding parts of gaming they come to a complete stop. This 0dB arrangement can be overridden by setting up a fan profile in GPU Tweak II.
Now with the cowling on you get a look at the two fans driving the air across the heat pipes and cooling fins you wouldn’t suspect that ASUS uses Auto-Extreme technology and the Video card is built with automation from beginning to end without human hands ever touching the card. The Auto-Extreme technology takes the human error factor out of the equation and produces a more reliable and more tightly manufactured product. Along with the Auto-Extreme technology ASUS uses a 100% flux free process that reduces power consumption during manufacturing by 50%. The 50% saved energy is not only good for the environment it means lower manufacturing costs which in turn can be passed to the end consumer.
The power consumption on the ASUSs Strix GTX 980 DC2OC is low enough that only one 6 pin PCI-e power connector is required, Notice the metal rail just above the heatpipe a new addition to smaller ASUS Video Cards and the metal runs the length of the back of the card to prevent PCB sag. As light as the Strix GTX 950 is we don’t really think it’s going to need it but if you own one long-term you can rest assured the PCB won’t sag.
Hears a little peek at the GTX-950 core and it confirms that it’s a GM206 with the sub category of 250-A1 which probably refers to the revision.
The GDDR5 used on the Strix is Samsung 516 K4G41325FC-HC28 512MB and sprinkled around the card front and back you will find 4 of them.
Nice review! any chance you do another with 2x 950’s on SLI and how they perform compared with a single 970 or even 980?
keep the good work!
No Matter what you do when running the GTX 950 in SLI the array of Video Cards wil still be limited to 2GB of memory on the first card so they aren’t going to compare well to a card with 4GB of memory video card. I did run SLI with a couple of 950’s and two scored 12k on 3DMark Skydiver if that’s any help. Jump the resolution up to 1440p and the SLI arrangement just won’t handle it being limited to 2 GB of memory.