Overview and testing of the video card ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC: economical ideal / Video cards

Our first introduction to the video card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 in the face of the original product Gigabyte left a positive impression, including the very model NVIDIA based on the graphics processor GM206 architecture Maxwell 2.0. Therefore, there was no doubt that such products will very quickly flood the market and become a very profitable acquisition for both budget-conscious gamers and overclockers. The object of today's testing is the video card ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC 2 GB with increased frequencies and proprietary cooling system – even more convinced us of this.

However, about everything in order.

# Specifications and Recommended Price

The specifications and the cost of the ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC are shown in the table in comparison with the NVIDIA reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, as well as the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC, which we tested earlier.

The number of unified shader processors, units

The name of the technical characteristics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
The graphics processor GM206 Maxwell 2.0 (TSMC) GM206 Maxwell 2.0 (TSMC) GM206 Maxwell 2.0 (TSMC) GM206 Maxwell 2.0 (TSMC)
The technical process, nm 28 (low-k) 28 (low-k) 28 (low-k) 28 (low-k)
The area of ​​the crystal, mm 2 228 228 228 228
The number of transistors, million 2940 2940 2940 2940
The frequency of the graphics processor, MHz 3D 1126 (1178 – boost) 1165 (1355 – boost) 1102 (boost – 1279) 1024 (boost – 1188)
2D 135 135 135 135 1024 768 768 768
The number of textural blocks, pieces 64 48 48 48
The number of blocks of raster operations (ROPs), pieces 32 32 32 32
Theoretical maximum filling speed, Gpix./s 36.0 37.3 35.3 32.8
Theoretical maximum texture texture sampling rate, Gtex./s 95.7 56.0 53.0 49.2
Support for the Pixel Shaders / Vertex Shaders version 5.0 / 5.0 5.0 / 5.0 5.0 / 5.0 5.0 / 5.0
The type of memory supported GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5
The width of the exchange bus with memory, bit 128 128 128 128
Effective frequency of operation of video memory, MHz 3D 7012 6612 6612 6612
2D 810 810 810 810
The amount of memory, MB 2048 2048 2048 2048
The bandwidth of video memory, GB / s 112.2 105.8 105.8 105.8
Peak power consumption in 3D operation mode, W 3D 120 90 90 90
2D n / a n / a n / a n / a
Power Supply Power Requirements, W 450 350 350 350
The dimensions of the video card, mm (L × H × T) n / a 218 × 114 × 40 198 × 101 × 38 n / a
The weight of the video card, g n / a 475 468 n / a
Interface PCI-Express x16 (v3.0) PCI-Express x16 (v3.0) PCI-Express x16 (v3.0) PCI-Express x16 (v3.0)
Releases DVI-I (Dual-Link), 1 HDMI v2.0, 3 DisplayPort v1.2 DVI-I + DVI-D (Dual-Link), 1 HDMI v2.0, 1 DisplayPort v1.2 DVI-I + DVI-D (Dual-Link), 1 HDMI v2.0, 1 DisplayPort v1.2 DVI-I (Dual-Link), 1 HDMI v2.0, 3 DisplayPort v1.2
The recommended cost, US dollars 199 169 169 159

# Packaging and packaging

If for some reason you have not read any of our previous previous reviews of ASUS series STRIX cards, then the box in which the video card is supplied will be a discovery for you in terms of design. In all other cases, nothing new in the packaging design of ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC you will not see.

On the front side, next to the terrible owl, where it could be ascribed "What is our life? The game!", Declare a 20 percent drop in temperatures, full readiness to work with the Windows 10 operating system and the availability of an exclusive invitation code for 15- Day premium account in the game World of Warships.

The back of the box tells about the cooling system, element base, proprietary software and video card outputs.

A completely traditional sticker is located on one of the sides of the box.

A box of thick cardboard is inserted inside the color shell, in the center of which a video card is fixed.

A CD with software and drivers, a brief installation manual and a sticker with the STRIX logo are supplied with the video card.

What did you want from a video card of this class? There is a game bonus – and that's not bad.

ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC is manufactured in China. The warranty period is three years. The recommended cost of the novelty is 169 US dollars, but in Russia the video card costs from 13 thousand rubles.

# PCB design and features

The design of the new ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC is made in the general style of the STRIX line. The front side of the video card is closed by a cooling system with two fans and scarlet stickers on their stators. Due to the shape of the casing and the slots in it, the video card really looks something like the head of an owl-owl.

The reverse side of the printed circuit board is not closed in any way, and the heat pipes emerging from the cooler base are visible from above. The video card dimensions are 218 × 114 × 40 mm, and it weighs only 475 grams.

ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC is equipped with two DVI outputs (Dual-Link), one HDMI version 2.0 and one DisplayPort version 1.2.

The panel with the outputs also left room for grilles that provide a partial ejection of heated air outside the chassis of the system unit, but air passes through them only at maximum fan speed.

Like all other GeForce GTX 950s, power is supplied via one six-pin connector turned in the case of ASUS cards for more convenient disconnection from the cable and equipped with a pair of LEDs. Since ASUS does not provide the power consumption level of its video card, we can assume that the STRIX GTX 950 OC should consume no more than 90 watts and for a system with one such video card there will be enough 350-watt power supply, as specified in NVIDIA recommendations.

A pair of such video cards can create a 2-way SLI-tandem, for which the PCB has one interface connector. The upper edge of the stiffness does not interfere with the connection or disconnection of the SLI bridge.

The cooling system is fixed on the video card with four screws around the perimeter of the graphics processor, so it is not difficult to remove it. Unlike the ASUS STRIX GTX 960 the ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC uses a standard length PCB. It is based on the company's automated technology AUTO-EXTREME with continuous quality control.

The power part of the GPU power supply is located in the zone between the outputs and the GPU and is implemented in a four-phase scheme.

The ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC circuit board is built using Super Alloy Power II technology, which declares the use of exceptionally high quality and durable components, a 50 percent gain in temperature compared to the previous design, a twofold reduction in electrical noise at full load, and Increase energy efficiency. We will note in the power system tantalum-polymer capacitors and chokes with a ferrite core, used in video cards of higher class and cost. Also, we add that the power management of the GPU is controlled by the UPI Semiconductor uP1608TK controller.

A miniature graphics processor released in Taiwan on a 28nm process in the 14th week of 2015 (late March – early April) is not equipped with a protective frame around the perimeter of the substrate, so removing and installing the cooler cooler on its crystal should be Very neat.

Recall that this version of GP20 GM206 contains 768 unified shader processors, 48 ​​texture units and 32 blocks of raster operations (ROPs). In ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC, the base frequency of the GPU in 3D mode is increased from the reference for NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 1024 MHz to 1165 MHz, or immediately by 13.8%, and in the forced mode it can increase to 1355 MHz. This is much more impressive factory overclocking than on the previously tested Gigabyte video card. Moreover, according to monitoring, the frequency increased up to 1418 MHz! When the video card switches to 2D mode, the frequency drops to 135 MHz.

The ASIC quality of our GPU GPU of the ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC card turned out to be 73.0%.

The video card is equipped with standard two gigabytes of video memory GDDR5, located in four chips on the front and back of the PCB. The chips are manufactured by Samsung and are marked K4G41325FC-HC28 .

The theoretical effective frequency of such microcircuits is 7000 MHz. Nevertheless, ASUS decided not to overclock the memory, so it functions on the regular NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 6612 MHz. The memory bandwidth for a 128-bit bus is 105.8 GB / s. When switching to 2D mode, its frequency is reduced to 810 MHz.

The GPU-Z utility, available at the time of writing the article in version 0.8.5, still does not have full support for the new GeForce GTX 950, so it either did not reflect some of the characteristics of the ASUS video card, or it did not reflect correctly.

But it managed to save the BIOS of the video card without errors, so you can download it from the file archive .

# DirectCU II cooling systems – efficiency and noise level

The video card is equipped with the DirectCU II cooling system in its lightest version. Nevertheless, the manufacturer claims a 20% superiority in cooling efficiency and three times less noise level compared to the reference cooler NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950.

Like all coolers of this class, it consists of two components: an aluminum radiator and a plastic frame with two fans.

Two 10-millimetric heat pipes with nickel-plated coating are used in the radiator

According to the company, the use of 10-mm heat pipes in the radiator construction allowed ASUS engineers to immediately increase the rate of heat transfer by 40%.

Having saved on a copper base, ASUS gave this version of the cooling system a direct contact, but unlike the flagship ASUS cards, here the area of ​​two heat pipes completely covers the elongated crystal of the GPU, which can be clearly seen from the first photo of the cooler. But there is a minus: between the tubes there is a gap, because of which a local overheating of the core is possible.

The radiator is cooled by two 74-mm impellers built into the plastic frame.

The fans are optimized in the form of a "fin" on the front end of the blades, due to which it was possible to increase the air flow and by 105% the static pressure developed by the fans. Their manufacturer is the company FirstDo (marking FD7010H12S).

Fans support PWM control, so that their speed can vary from 0 to 3320 rpm (according to monitoring data). In other words, in 2D mode and with a low 3D load, when the GPU reaches the temperature of 60 degrees Celsius, the fans completely stop, making the video card silent.

To check the operating temperature of ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC as a load we used five cycles of the resource-intensive game Aliens vs. Predator (2010) with the maximum quality of graphics in the resolution of 2560 × 1440 pixels with anisotropic filtering of 16x level, but without MSAA-smoothing to maximize the load on the graphics processor.

The program MSI Afterburner version 4.1.1 and the utility GPU-Z version 0.8.5 were used to monitor temperatures and all other parameters. All tests were conducted in a closed case of the system unit, the configuration of which you can see in the next section of the article, at an average room temperature 22.1 degrees Celsius.

As usual, first we will check the efficiency of the cooling system of the video card with automatic fan speed control.

As you can see, the temperature of the GPU reached 69 degrees Celsius and did not increase any more. At the same time, the fan speed increased to only 1370 rpm. Still, whatever you say, and on the cooler of video cards manufacturers do not need to save, this was demonstrated to us today by ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC. Here in Gigabyte, they regretted the heat pipes for the radiator of their GeForce GTX 950 OC, and even if they could provide the same cooling efficiency as ASUS, but at a fan speed of 1450 to 2290 rpm, while the ASUS range of speed control Was only from 0 to 1370 rpm. Do I need to say which of these video cards will be quieter?

In general, with automatic speed control, ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC remains quite a comfortable graphics card, but if this is not enough for someone, you can manually fix the speed on a subjectively very quiet 930 rpm, or 35% of the power, and everything Equal to the cooling system will cope with the task.

Let the GPU temperature rise by 6 degrees Celsius, it is still far from the critical marks. With the maximum speed of the DirectCU II fans, the GPU temperature can be reduced immediately by 12 degrees Celsius at the peak of the load.

The noise level is very high at the same time, but what exactly in the figures we will learn right now.

Measurement of the noise level of video card cooling systems was carried out by the electronic sound meter "OKTAVA-110A" after 1 am in a completely enclosed room of about 20 m² with double-glazed windows. The noise level was measured outside the case of the system unit, when the source of noise in the room was exclusively the cooling system and its fans. A sound level meter fixed on a tripod was always located strictly at one point at a distance of exactly 150 mm from the rotor of the fan / turbine of the cooler. The motherboard in which the video card was inserted with the cooling system installed on it was placed at the very corner of the table on a polyurethane foam substrate. The lower limit of the sound level meter measurements is 22 dBA, and the subjectively comfortable (not to be confused with the low) noise level at measurements from this distance is about 36 dBA. Скорость вращения вентиляторов изменялась во всём диапазоне их работы с помощью специального точного контроллера путём изменения питающего напряжения с шагом 0,5 В.

На график с данными об уровне шума ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC мы включили результаты измерений уровня шума ещё трёх видеокарт — Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC с кулером WindForce 2X, MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming с системой охлаждения Twin Frozr V и ASUS STRIX R7 370 с системой охлаждения DirectCU II. Добавим, что вертикальными пунктирными линиями соответствующего цвета отмечены верхние границы скорости систем охлаждения при их автоматической PWM-регулировке. Посмотрим на результаты.

Две видеокарты ASUS с практически одинаковыми системами охлаждения DirectCU II продемонстрировали сегодня едва ли различающийся уровень шума, но за счёт более низкой скорости вентиляторов при автоматической регулировке ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC работает немного тише. Зато выигрыш по уровню шума у кулера Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 OC попросту огромен, сравнивать эти видеокарты по данному показателю бессмысленно, а Gigabyte впредь не стоит дешевить с системами охлаждения даже для бюджетных моделей видеокарт. Уже при автоматическом режиме регулировки скорости вентиляторов ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC можно назвать комфортной видеокартой, а при дополнительно протестированных нами 900 об/мин её становится совершенно не слышно. О писке дросселей в случае с оригинальной моделью ASUS говорить также не приходится.

#Оверклокерский потенциал

Казалось бы, частота графического процессора ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC и так серьёзно повышена на заводе (+13,8 %), куда уж тут ещё думать о разгоне? Но, к счастью, без повышения напряжения на ядре и махинаций с системой охлаждения нам удалось разогнать GPU ещё на 160 МГц, или плюс 13,7 % к номиналу. А суммарный разгон ядра в сравнении с эталонной версией NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 составил впечатляющие 27,5 %!

Не подкачала и видеопамять, разогнавшись с 6612 до 8212 МГц, или на 24,2 %. Таким образом, частоты видеокарты ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC после разгона составили 1325-1515/2053 МГц.

Более того, по данным мониторинга, в отдельные моменты частота графического процессора достигала впечатляющих 1577 МГц. При этом температурный режим работы видеокарты совершенно не изменился, лишь скорость вентиляторов выросла на какие-то 60 об/мин.

Данный факт ещё раз подтвердил высокую эффективность системы охлаждения ASUS DirectCU II.

Добавим, что в отдельных тестах разогнанная до таких частот ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC оказалась не в полной мере стабильной, поэтому нам пришлось немного уменьшить разгон — до 1315-1505/8132 МГц.

Тем не менее мы остались довольны полученным результатом, и сейчас расскажем вам, на что способна ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC на столь высоких частотах.

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