Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti review: The new budget gaming champions

Two worthy successors to the legendary GTX 750 Ti.

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Our test system

We tested the MSI GTX 1050 OC and EVGA GTX 1050 SC Gaming on PCWorld’s dedicated graphics card benchmark system. Our testbed’s loaded with high-end components to avoid bottlenecks in other parts of the system and show unfettered graphics performance. Key highlights:

  • Intel’s Core i7-5960X ($1,000 on Amazon) with a Corsair Hydro Series H100i closed-loop water cooler ($104.20 on Amazon).
  • An Asus X99 Deluxe motherboard ($280 on Amazon).
  • Corsair’s Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory ($94 on Amazon), Obsidian 750D full-tower case ($145 on Amazon), and 1,200-watt AX1200i power supply ($310 on Amazon).
  • A 480GB Intel 730 series SSD ($245 on Amazon).
  • Windows 10 Pro ($199 on Amazon).

We’re comparing the $110 MSI GTX 1050 OC and $140 EVGA GTX 1050 Ti against Sapphire’s $140 4GB Radeon RX 460, XFX’s $220 Radeon RX 470 Black Edition, and the GTX 1050’s predecessors, the EVGA GTX 750 Ti and EVGA GTX 950 SSC. (Remember, however, that the GTX 950 wasn’t considered a direct GTX 750 successor like the GTX 1050 is, and demands a six-pin power connector—as does the 4GB RX 460). All of these cards are custom-cooled, overclocked models.

We benchmark every game using the default graphics settings unless otherwise noted, with all vendor-specific special features—such as Nvidia’s GameWorks effects, AMD’s TressFX, and FreeSync/G-Sync—as well as VSync and frame rate caps disabled. Based on the target performance of the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti, we’re looking at 1080p results alone today, including Medium fidelity.

Test 1: The Division

The Division, a gorgeous third-person shooter/RPG that mixes elements of Destiny and Gears of War, kicks things off with Ubisoft’s new Snowdrop engine.

gtx 1050 division

The GTX 1050 comes out slightly ahead of the RX 460 here, while the extra horsepower inside the GTX 1050 Ti widens the gulf. Both of Nvidia’s new cards clear a console-matching 30 frames per second at Ultra graphics settings, while the GTX 1050 Ti indeed flirts with 60 fps if you drop the eye candy down to Medium. The $110 GTX 1050 also essentially ties the older GTX 950 in the closest matchup between the two very evenly matched cards.

Also note how much of a whupping the GTX 1050 family puts on the older GTX 750 Ti, and how much of a leap in performance stepping up to a $180 to $200 Radeon RX 470 offers. You’ll see similar results in every game tested.

Next page: Hitman

At a Glance
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