Graphics Cards

ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition 2GB Graphics Card Review

Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx. US$197 – Zotac GTX 950 AMP!
PH – Approx. PHP10600

We’ve seen just how far NVIDIA has taken their 2nd-generation Maxwell GPUs with the GTX TITAN X and GTX 980 Ti and while the rest of the  GeForce 900 series Maxwell cards are keeping mainsteam to high-end fans happy, there’s still a sizable population of gamers that position themselves in the lower-mainstream segment. Based on our popular build guides, the GTX 650 and GTX 750 are still very popular cards and according to a July 2015 Steam Hardware Survey, the GTX 650 still sits at #8 as one of the most used card by Steam gamers.

The Maxwell architecture is NVIDIA’s greatest achievement as of late given its efficiency compared to the last generation. While it doesn’t serve as a great leap in terms of performance, many people are still convinced by the excellent performance-per-watt ratio. Both the GTX 980 and GTX 970 have been largely in-demand primarily for the efficiency but the Maxwell-based GTX GPUs also introduced some new features including NVIDIA Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI), Multi-Frame sampled AA (MFAA), and Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR). Maxwell GPUs also support Microsoft’s upcoming DirectX 12 API.

ABOUT THE GTX 950

The GTX 950 is another GM206 based card, which means it features the same architecture as previous 900 series Maxwell cards and the same excellent performance-per-watt ratio as the other cards. Aimed 1080p gamers, the GTX 950 is a lightweight version of the GTX 960 featuring some reduction in its configuration but still deliver performance fitting for its price range.

[table style=”table-striped”]
Model GeForce GTX 980 GeForce GTX 970 GeForce GTX 960 GeForce GTX 950
GPU GM204 GM204 GM206 GM206
CUDA cores 2048 1664 1024 768
Texture Units 128 104 64 48
ROP 64 64 32 32
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Size 4 GB GDDR5 4 GB GDDR5 2 GB GDDR5 2 GB GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s 224 GB/s 112 GB/s 105.6 GB/s
[/table]

As indicated, the GTX 950 features 768 CUDA cores, that’s 3/4 of a GTX 960, running with a reference base clock of 1024Mhz and a Boost clock of 1188Mhz. At launch, only a 2GB GTX 950 is available and no word on any other memory capacity model yet. The memory runs at a reference 1650Mhz wired to a 128-bit bus. Similar to the GTX 960 also, the memory bus width might sound underwheling but thanks to delta color compression which enables the GM206 to better utilize its available memory bandwidth, its actually just right.

The GTX 950 will displace the GTX 750 Ti as the primary lower-mainstream card for NVIDIA. The GTX 950 will have an SRP of US$159 and the GTX 750 Ti will now be priced with an SRP of $119.

Optimized for MOBA

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The GTX 950 is mainly focused on MOBA gamers and feature a lot of optimizations and features dedicated to these games. MOBA gamers know how important a smooth experience is important in such a fast-paced game and with competitive DOTA2 and LoL now raking in millions of dollars in tournaments, those who want to perform at their peak need a similarly responsive machine. With the GTX 950 featuring superior performance over the GTX 650, NVIDIA is able to deliver a more responsive experience in MOBAs with the GTX 950.

image_qualityWith the various improvements NVIDIA has placed in the GTX 950, performance improvements and responsiveness in MOBAs show a significant jump in favor of the GTX 950 compared to the GTX 650.

optimize_mobaWith the arrival of the GTX 950, NVIDIA will be opening up new options in GeForce Experience to improve the performance and reduce latency in MOBAs.

GeForce Experience: More Ways to Share

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With the arrival of the GTX 950, GeForce Experience will also receive an update that enable a new overlay UI for sharing your gaming moments including an instant replay option to replay the last 20 minutes of your game, Record and entire session manually or broadcast directly to Twitch.

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A recorded gaming session can be trimmed and uploaded to Youtube all in the overlay which keeps you in the game.

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Another new feature for GeForce Experience is Gamestream Co-Op which allows gamers to stream their games to another person and allow both players to enjoy the game together either to play cooperatively or demo a game or broadcast their gaming session.

Maxwell Features

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The new Maxwell graphics cards introduces some new features to NVIDIA cards as mentioned earlier with the main highlights being VXGI and DSR amongst other things.
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VXGI or Voxel Global Illumination improves 3D scenes by introducing more realistic lighting to 3D scenes by introducing voxels or volume pixels which makes light interaction of 3D objects have a more dynamic and photo-realistic feel.features4

DSR or Dynamic Super Resolution is another new featured, integrated via the GeForce Experience application, which add downsampling capabilities to the GTX 900 series graphics cards which lets users of other monitor sizes experience larger resolutions in their monitors without needing say a 4K UltraHD screen or a 1440p monitor. Dynamic Super Resolution works by rendering in the desired resolution and then downscaling the image and applying a filter to the native monitor resolution for an improved image quality of the scene being rendered.

features8

In contrast to DSR, NVIDIA also introduces MFAA or Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing. This AA technique basically is a faster implementation of MSAA which should see 4xMSAA quality at the performance hit of only 2xMSAA. Implementation is in its early stages but is promising nonetheless. MFAA can be set via the GeForce Experience app.

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As expected given the earlier announcements, DirectX12 is in the works and the new GTX 900 series graphics cards fully support the DX12 API alongside its many new feature offerings including better CPU utilization and overhead reduction, improved multi-core utilization and efficiency, and plenty more features for developers to use.

All of these features complement the already existing feature set that NVIDIA offers including GeForce Experience and ShadowPlay, etc.

ABOUT THE ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP!

ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition 2GB Graphics Card Review
ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition 2GB Graphics Card Review

The ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition as the name suggests sits in as their performance variant of the stock GTX 950 arriving with a custom-cooler and runs factory overclocked at 1203Mhz and has a boost clock of 1405Mhz. Memory also is overclocked and runs at 1755Mhz. This card requires a 6-pin PCI-e power connector versus the 8-pin variants we’ve seen so far. The cooler retains ZOTAC’s signature Carbon ExoArmor as well as includes a backplate giving it a real premium feel.

Official product page

Product Gallery

Overclocking

Overclocking any graphics card is pretty straightforward nowadays provided you know what to do and given that most companies also have their own overclocking software, makes it so much more approachable. We use the latest ZOTAC Firestorm software for this test.

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Overclocking the GTX 950 is pretty easy and we’ve seen it really go higher on some cards. For the ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition we managed to take the clock to a 1308Mhz base clock and a boost clock of 1510Mhz. We also ran the memory at 8Ghz effective which is quite average for this card. This isn’t the highest core clocks we’ve got but its within the average from what we’ve seen so far and is very good by our count.

PERFORMANCE

Test Setup Processor: Intel Core i7 3770K 4.4Ghz
Motherboard: MSI Z77 Mpower
Memory: Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3-2400 16GB
Storage: Kingston HyperX FURY 240GB
PSU: Seasonic P1000
Cooling: Custom loop (XSPC Raystorm block, XSPC D5 Dual Bayres, BlackIce Stealth GT 240 rad)
Monitor: LG 42UB820T UltraHD TV
VGA: ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP!

We test our graphics card with a full-level playthrough of our selected game or the games’ built-in benchmark tool. We record the run with Fraps. Game settings are indicated in the charts. Resolutions are shown in the charts. Unlike our standard benchmarks, we’ll save OC results for another article or update as needed as we still collect data.

FullHD (1920×1080)

Battlefield 4 is one of the hottest titles of 2013 and continues to prove itself a worthy game. Based on DICE’s Frostbite Engine 3, this game’s lush details and visuals are just stunning but can really stress any modern GPU. Level tested is the escape from Baku with wide open space and collapsing building showing what the Frostbite 3 engine can do.

ZOTAC_GTX950_AMP_graphs_0001

The most visually intense game to ever been made. Prophet is back to take on the Ceph and Cell after a long sleep and the world isn’t what it was when before he got frozen. CryEngine 3 is behind this beautiful beast that will put a lot of systems to their knees. The opening level shows off the particle and water rendering of the engine.

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The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress some systsems.

We use the built-in timedemo and benchmarking tool. DOTA2 only shows average FPS so we will be reflecting that in this test. Our timedemo features a heavy clash in the bottom lane for the maximum real-world system load the game can generate. With the recent visual update, DOTA2 has received some graphic makeover that adds a bit of hit for the system and all our date are updated to reflect this.

ZOTAC_GTX950_AMP_graphs_0005

The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as she explores the ruin of Yamatai in this origins game. Powered by a modified Crystal Engine, the game features TressFX which creates beautifully rendered hair animation.

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Ubisoft’s hacker action puts you in the shoes of Aiden Pearce as you piece together a crime that has been haunting you since its occurrence. Rage through Chicago as presented by Ubisoft with its Disrupt engine utilizing vast video memory for high-resolution textures for visually stunning graphics.

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CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.

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TEMPERATURE & POWER CONSUMPTION

To measure both power consumption and heat, we stress the video card and record the peak values for heat and wattage. We use default values on the cards and stress test them using a mix of Kombustor Dx11 Burn-In Test with Post-FX.

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Not surprisingly, the GTX 950 really excels in efficiency. Its low power draw for the performance it gives makes it a really good solution for those looking to build a really efficient build. ZOTAC’s cooling solution for the GTX 950 AMP! Edition does really well to keep the card cool and well within our expected range.

CONCLUSION

ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition 2GB Graphics Card Review
ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition 2GB Graphics Card Review

The NVIDIA GTX 950 shows us what the company is looking to offer in the lower-mainstream market. With this segment proving to be a key market for gamers, NVIDIA has made the GTX 950 a solid product that boasts a great balance of performance, efficiency and price. Let’s break it down further:

Performance. The GTX 950 puts up really good numbers and while our graphs may show it to be underwhelming at AAA titles like Watch_Dogs and Crysis 3, remember that we’re running settings MAXED OUT. Dropping details to high in these games will improve performance making them visually smoother and with their native graphics being so detailed, there’s only a small change in visual quality and graphics experience. Overclocking the card is simply phenomenal with the card going so much further than its out of box specs. With that kind of headroom, we’ll be able to squeeze a few more FPS from this card.

Build Quality. The Maxwell architecture is really one of the most efficient architecture we’ve seen to date and as we’ve said over and over again this generation, a good cooler is what it takes to really push these cards further. This is really what sets the ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition apart with its really solid build and excellent worksmanship. While we’re not getting a cherry picked GPU for maximum OC, we do get a solidly-built card which really does a lot to set it apart from the other ones in the market right now. Its beefy look gives it an appeal on its own and potential owners will really appreciate the level of detail that ZOTAC has put into the creation of this card.

Functionality. We’d have placed the GTX 950 as lower-end mainstream card because of its position but from the performance we’ve seen we can safely say this card can go so much further and with SLI support included, those looking to just get a boost in their 1080p gaming can easily upgrade their systems with another GTX 950 for a highly-efficient setup.

Bundle. Its still unsure if this card will come bundled with any games like Metal Gear Solid The Phantom Pain or any other. For now we’ll focus on the new additions for GeForce Experience which seem really great for those that love sharing video game content.

Value. At $159, the GTX 950 sits on a very critical spot as it sits in both the lower-mainstream segment and the upper-entry level price ceiling of most buyers. While mainstream gamers may opt for the GTX 960, the GTX 950 offers the most compelling option especially for those that want the most out of their money in games but don’t play a lot of AAA titles. This goes further for elite MOBA players that want a specialized machine that doesn’t cost a lot but offer performance that is on a totally different level than what IGPs can offer. The ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition for its extra features asks for a little premium at $197 which is really a bit on the high side but if you do consider what you’re getting and for the lengthy warranty its a decent offer.

The NVIDIA GTX 950 is an excellent card for its price and it really gives first-time builders something to experience high-performance gaming on a more modest budget. We’ve been recommending the GTX 750 Ti in our budget gaming PC builds and it seems like we have our new top recommendation offering bang-for-the-buck performance, cool operation and high efficiency. NVIDIA’s obvious focus on MOBA also opens up a new way for iCafes to build their machines and start offering high-performance gaming experiences to their customer base.

Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx. US$197 – Zotac GTX 950 AMP!
PH – Approx. PHP10600

If you’re trying to stretch your budget for your next gaming build but don’t want to go for a GTX 960 or can’t afford one yet, especially if you play mostly MMORPGs and MOBAs at 1080p then the GTX 950 is your top choice right now.

ZOTAC backs the GTX 950 AMP! EDITION with a 2-year warranty but if you register your product, get an extended +3 year warranty. We give it our B2G Editor’s Choice Award!

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THIS GIVEAWAY HAS CONCLUDED

CONGRATULATIONS!

Season’s greetings and happy holidays everyone! Just in time for the Christmas, we’d like to announce the winner of our ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! Edition giveaway: congratulations to our new winner, Winston Ivan Ong! Please message us via our Facebook page with your Facebook email address for confirmation. You have 24 hours to confirm or we will repick another winner.

Time for another giveaway! We’ve teamed up with ZOTAC once again to giveaway a sweet ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! EDITION graphics card!

Rules are simple. Use the app above to accomplish the following:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  1. Like ZOTAC Philippines
  2. Like Back2Gaming
    ***Everything after this is optional***
  3. Share this giveaway with the caption “Thanks for the chance @ZOTAC Philippines and @Back2Gaming! I want to win a GTX 950 AMP! EDITION!” Make sure you set the post to public and the tag the right pages! Share daily for more chances.
  4. Follow Back2Gaming on Twitter
  5. Tweet “I want to win a ZOTAC GTX 960 AMP! EDITION from @back2gaming! – http://wp.me/pHDlS-cqu
  6. Say what you like best about the ZOTAC GTX 960 AMP! EDITION 2GB graphics card in our review: http://wp.me/pHDlS-cqu

Technical Stuff:

  • Promo will run from as of date of posting, December 8, 2015 up to 11:59PM December 18, 2015
  • Open to all permanent residents of the Philippines, 13 years old and above.
  • One (1) winner of ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! EDITION 2GB graphics card
  • Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash or sold for cash.
  • Prize used for review. By entering this promo, you acknowledge I have used this first before you and you are fine with that because it was only a few hours.

For bug reports and issues with the apps, leave a comment with details about the issue and we’ll fix it ASAP.

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BossMac Suba

Owner and lead reviewer for Back2Gaming. More than 10-year of corporate IT experience as well as consumer IT journalism. His extensive skill set and experience in communicating complicated technical details into easily understandable bits. He's been with you since dial-up and the ISA slot. His favorite animal is the scapegoat.

127 Comments

  1. Well the good thing about this card is that it has a less power consumption which means less heat. It’s a great entry-level gaming card which is great for building a PC from scratch since you don’t really need a powerful PSU. Also, this Zotac GTX 950 AMP! Edition is short compared to higher cards which is, again, great since you wont be needing a high profile gaming case. Its speed is between the GTX 750Ti and GTX 960 and so far it’s one of the best bang for buck GPU available in the market right now. Though I haven’t own one since, my guess is that it’s a decent card for 1080p gaming or even 1440p with adjusted settings. I’m really looking forward to get my hands on this particular card.

  2. I like this one. Zotac competing in the GPU market, not just the typical brands we see such as Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, etc. They had great products. I almost got the GTX 660 Synergy Edition before that was on sale. Too bad that shop ran out of stocks. haha

  3. What I like about this ZOTAC GTX 950 AMP! EDITION 2GB graphics card is it is a beast gaming GPU that can handle triple-A games with an excellent power efficiency during gaming. I’m a fan of NVIDIA Maxwell cards that is known of its low power consumption and the little heat it produces because of its energy-efficient Maxwell architecture.

  4. What i love about gtx 950 is it does well at different AA titled games and mobas aswell @ 1080p. Truly a wise choice if when it comes to fps per peso ratio. I would love to have this beast as a christmas gift from zotac philippines and back2gaming!

  5. Great gaming performance for its value and low power consumption is the only thing that I needed to read to make me drool for this card. I want it so bad

  6. What i like about the Zotac GTX 950 AMP! it can handle most game i play and might play in the future
    and the nvidia geforce software that is easy to use
    then there’s the look of the card that doesn’t look like a mid end card thanks to its cooler design

  7. Well, what I like best in this review is the advantage of this Zotac GTX 950 AMP! to MOBA games, plus it is backed by a 2 year warranty and a +3 year if you registered it on ZOTAC.

    Many thanks Back2Gaming and good luck to all of us!

  8. Overclocking the Zotac GTX 950 AMP is more easy with the overclocking software Firestorm, i really like that option it makes tweaking and tuning much more easy specially for those who doesn’t know anything about Overclocking.

    Thanks Back2Gaming and ZOTAC for this chance!More power and God Bless! ^_^

  9. What i liked about gtx 960 is the performance of the card it can run games @ 1080p with an affordable price it’s the sweet spot of 1080p gaming cards.

    If I win it will greatly help me with my build which I’m saving up money for a year now this march 2016 it will be a gift for myself hopefully I will win.

    Have my finger crossed. 🙂

  10. Sulit ito for it’s price. Although GTX 960 is reachable by a few hundred pesos, I’d rather go this route when building a budget gaming rig.

  11. What i like about this card is it can run games at 1080p, easy to overclock, affordable price and it has great gaming performance.

    Thanks B2G and God Bless!

    Great Review 🙂

  12. cheap, effective and efficient… overclocking potential is very high. very competetive even in 1080p aaa titles… its a must if you have limited budget… i prefer this over the 370…

  13. What i can say about the Zotac GTX 950 AMP! edition?

    phew! this is a hard one.

    Budget? I can’t really say that it has an edge because just add a few hundreds of pesos you can get their GTX 960. So budget is a No-No.

    Performance and Functionality is good. But I don’t think that an SLI is a good idea since you can already buy, again their GTX 970.

    I think one of the upside of owning the Zotac GTX 950 AMP! edition is the product name itself.

    Zotac has been in the industry for years, competing with other brands but in an affordable price.

    So you can/we can rest assured that it’s build quality is as good as its get.

    Thank you @back2gaming and @ZOTAC philippines. #hartharthart

  14. Zotac has always been an awesome brand for cheap yet powerful Nvidia graphic cards and creating 950 AMP! Edition is another new weapon for your arsenal!

    Cheap, Powerful, Durable, overall the one of the best video card for budget gaming.

    Not just that but the 950 AMP! edition is also power efficient which means your electrical bill wouldn’t shoot up that much and it only takes a small voltage from your powersupply.

    Plus it’s dual fans are really slick and efficient to keep the temperatures cool, so even if you play tons of games a day it wouldn’t overheat!

  15. My primary issue with my system is having a power supply that is cheap. I bought a case-power supply combo. And as usual the power supply is crap. I doesn’t even have a 6 pin cable. So the low power consumption feature of this card is the best among the lineups both from the red and the green team. This card can also be used to upgrade even old systems and will drastically boost game performances plus the new features that Nvidia threw into this card, that system will be golden.

  16. this card is actually very good. It has lower power demand and can be run by low wattage power supplies which is nice. I also really need an upgrade for new games and this card would run most games ultra on my 1080p monitor and thanks for the chance to win this graphics card B2G!

  17. This video card can keep up with the high end cards. It’s power consumption is low, you can play modern games on medium-high settings. It is an awesome and decent graphics card for today’s gaming. WORTH IT.

  18. Pretty good review. Giving a chart comparison at the end gives us a very good idea on how the card performs compare to other cards.

  19. This would be a good Christmas gift to a friend!

    The card has a very good value for performance. It’s only an entry level card but the features are enough to take out the cash from your wallet.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. Zotac’s GTX 950 AMP! Edition is a great addition from Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture giving consumers great value in terms of power efficiency and performance. I’m really looking forward for the next graphic card architecture which is called Pascal, though. HBM, gg!

  21. What I like about this graphics card even though that it’s small, this small guy can do awesome things and it even has its own instant replay, this can thing can help me in my youtube channel which is slowly growing, I wish I can win this for the desktop that im about to build. 😀

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