Conclusion

This has been quite an enjoyable, if far too short, week-long exploration for us in evaluating our new ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC Direct CU II.  It did very well performance-wise, beating its competition in most games when comparing it to the the factory-overclocked R9 270X where it brings higher performance, more features, and less power draw for about ten dollars more.  It also slots well above the GTX 650 Ti, and even over the GTX 750 Ti which launched for $149.

We are totally impressed with the cool-running Maxwell GM206 chip in the form of the ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC Direct CU II that has such outstanding overclockability and a good price.  It slots right above the GTX 750 Ti, replacing the GTX 750, and far far above the GTX 650 Ti, and it offers more advantages with better latency for MOBA games, and for GameStreaming.

We see good overclockability with quietness at stock voltage and fan profile from the ASUS OC design GTX 950. The GTX 950 is a better value overall than the R9 270X and certainly a much better performer than the R9 370, even if you are looking at performance and probable future price drops on the older and less energy-efficient cards.

Pros

  • Price – for $159 the GTX 950 is an entry-level GTX video card that is designed for 1080 DX11 and DX12 gaming. It is significantly cheaper than the higher-performing GTX 960 although it has newer features.  It also runs away from the GTX 750 Ti and leaves the GTX 650 Ti in the dust.  For just $10 more at $169, the ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC Direct CU II provides so much more than the reference designs including great overclocking from the factory and a near silent card.
  • TDP and power draw is excellent.  Performance per watt is almost three times the GTX 650 which debuted 3 years ago on the same 28nm process.  Unlike the R9 270X which needs a minimum of two six-pin PCIe connectors, the ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC only needs one which still allows for good overclocking.
  • Overclockability is excellent – GPU Boost works as advertised.  The ASUS GPU Tweak Utility is great and one of the best overclocking tools that we have encountered to date.
  • The ASUS Direct CU II Twin fan design as cooling is quiet and efficient; the card and case stay cool even well-overclocked on a hot day.
  • GameStream and MOBA optimizations brings new features to gamers.
  • New MFAA allows for high performance without jaggies for Maxwell GPUs.
  • DSR allows 4K crispness to come to 1080p
  • New GameStream allows live streaming uploads to 60fps for 4K resolutions and sharing with friends in Co-op mode over the Internet.
  • G-SYNC displays reduce and eliminate stuttering while retaining the advantages of minimizing tearing.
  • The ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC DirectCU II is a near silent video card with great ASUS features, support and warranty – all for only $10 more than a reference design.  Highly Recommended!

Cons

  • None

 

The Verdict:BTR-Award-HRec

  • If you are buying a $169 video card right now and looking for the high performance at 1920×1080, along with a cool and quiet card, the ASUS STRIX GTX 950 OC DirectCU II is a great value at its launch price considering that it is going up against AMD’s $150-plus R9 370s.     It overclocks well beyond ASUS factory overclock and it remains cool and quiet.  When a great value is launches like this, it can only receive BTR’s (Highly) Recommended Award!

We do not know what the future will bring, but the GTX 950 brings an excellent performer to the GeForce Maxwell family.  With great features like GameStream and the GeForce Experience, you can be assured of immersive gaming by picking this card for 1080P or for even higher resolutions.

If you currently game on an older generation video card like a GTX 650 or 650 Ti, you will do yourself a really big favor by upgrading. The move to an ASUS GTX 950 OC will give you better visuals on the DX11 and DX12 pathways and you are no doubt thinking of SLI if you want to get even more gaming performance on a tight budget.

Of course, AMD offers their own set of features including Eyefinity, GCN 2.0, and Mantle although the 370 class hasn’t added new features in nearly 3 years. However, we expect that AMD will need to drop pricing on the R9 370 cards and continue to offer aggressive game bundles unless they can bring a R9 370X to market shortly.

Stay tuned, there is a lot coming from us at BTR  Next up is a Windows 8.1 versus Windows 10 evaluation featuring SLI and CrossFire that will be published next week. And we have a MSI R9 390X (1050MHz/1100MHz) to compare with our PowerColor R9 290X PCS+ (1030MHz) along with our GTX 980.  And don’t forget to check BTR’s Community!  Our tech discussions are becoming among the best to be found anywhere!!