In today’s PC gaming market, there are a growing number of people who want to get their feet wet in PC gaming, but don’t want to spend $1000 or more on a custom gaming rig. These people want a cost effective way to taste the fruit of PC gaming, and thanks to both AMD and nVidia’s recent offerings, they can do that. With good options for under $200, the entry level graphics card has come a long way.
Today we are taking a look at one of these cards, the EVGA GTX 1050 Ti SC. For those with a smaller budget who still want a good, if not great, gaming experience at 1080p, the 1050 Ti is the card for them. Averaging about $155, the 1050 Ti is a card that will keep your wallet happy and your frames smooth.
Over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, I snagged this card for $145, but normally you’ll be picking it up for $165. When it comes to picking a GPU manufacturer, I take into account a few things
- Manufacturer reliability
- Overall opinions and reviews from the manufacturer’s other products on the market
- Past personal experience
With all of these taken into account, especially my personal Customer Support experience over my PC building years, EVGA was a no-brainer when it came down to picking which card manufacturer to go with for the 1050 Ti. Interestingly, the 1050 and 1050 Ti have no reference design, which leaves full integration of the silicon onto a full PCB package up to the individual add-in-board partners.
The packaging is simple for this card, with the GPU and its documentation in the box, and nothing else. This isn’t a high-end card that needs extra power, or adapters of any kind, so it would make sense that at this price point the box would be simple, and the packaging would be to the point. You’ll notice that the card, as I mentioned earlier, doesn’t have any additional power requirements, since it comes in at only 75W TDP; it is powered directly by the PCIe it is installed in. The rest of the current GeForce GTX 10XX-series, the 1060 / 1070 / 1080 cards come with 6-pin or 8-pin power connectors. On the 1050 Ti, you’ll just see that this one has the solder points for it, but no actual connector.
As we continue to tour the card, you’ll see the ACX 2.0 GPU cooler on this, taking up two PCI slots but keeping the card nice and cool. With this being a cooler style that EVGA has had for a little while, the engineering behind it at this point appears to be spot on, and the temperatures in testing point to that being the case as well.
At the rear of the card there are 3 display outputs; DualLink DVI, HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4. This card is also capable of G-Sync, nVidia’s variable refresh rate technology, with a compatible monitor, and with these three output options, this would make a nice card for a slightly beefy multi-display workstation at the office, or great for single monitor gaming at 1080p.
Diving into the rest of the details of the card, check out the specs below
Now, onto the testing. I need to be up front about the current test rig this is in: it’s old. It’s meant to be something that might make for a good upgrade candidate; the type of machine that you might throw this card in to get a few more months or a year of usefulness out of it before targeting a larger upgrade. It was close to the top of the line when it was purchased, but since then has aged out and is just another computer.
Now for the results. In the benchmarks run today, all I have right now is Unigen Heaven Heaven and 3D Mark FireStrike for my synthetic benchmarks, and DOOM (2016) and Overwatch for my game play performance benchmarks.
I came away from these results with a few take away’s, the first of which is that this is a very capable card. For games that are really popular online games, like an Overwatch, or a Smite or CS:GO, this card is going to be more than enough if you’re gaming at 1080p. I plan to give this a go at 1440p at some point in the future, but haven’t had the time to do that yet. The second thing that I came away with is that this card had a lot more headroom than the boost clock showed it would get up to. We got up to 1700+ Mhz, which is about 250 Mhz over the advertised boost clock, and is really a nice boost. The third thing that I was impressed with was the thermals. In a very poorly designed case, not meant for having a card that primarily dumps the heat into the case as this one does, this kept the card at 72 C during the synthetic benchmarking, which is where it’s hardest hit. During a normal gaming session I was seeing it get up to about 65 C, but the temps just continued to stay impressively cool for this tiny cooler.
So the question then becomes this: Who is this card meant for? Well, if you’re the kind of person who wants to play games at High, or maybe even Ultra settings, at 1080p, then this is for you. If you want to keep the cost of a good, quality built graphics card to under $200, this card is for you. If you want to upgrade your computer but don’t want to have the fuss of upgrading a power supply as well because your current power supply doesn’t have the right power adapters on it, then this card is for you. If someone you know purchased a new computer and is getting rid of an old, but still fairly capable computer, and you want to get started in gaming for cheap as can be (As I’ve done with this in my journey of starting over) then this is the card for you, too.
Now, it’s not going to break 144 FPS in some of the more common games that people play, but it’s not meant to do that. The base line of today’s quality gaming experience starts at being able to achieve 60 FPS, or at least close to that, at 1080p and for some people, that’s at high settings in any given game. This card will do just that, for under $200 and for the ease of simply taking the card out of the box and installing it into your computer.
If you are looking to upgrade to something nice, I cannot suggest this card enough. Honestly, when I put it in I was skeptical, especially with this old computer that I’m using this card in, and within the first hour I was truly impressed with its performance. There are a few things that I plan to revisit on this card 1)a true 1080p monitor 2)a better CPU. I have plans to address these in the coming months, but hey, when your only working with $100/month to try to game, build a gaming computer or the likes, these things take time.
Thank you all for making it to the end. This was my first attempt at doing a somewhat in depth review of a piece of hardware, and would love to hear any feedback you might have, and I would also love to know if you have a budget GPU installed in your system? If so, what card, what kind of FPS do you get with it and at what settings do you get it at? I’d love to hear from you if you also plan to pick one up now because of this, and want to see pictures if you do. You can hit me up where I’m most active, Twitter, @geekindad, and I’d love to chat. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Years.