The 1050 Ti is the card that perhaps best represents the progress that Nvidia has made with its Pascal architecture this year. A supremely efficient yet Full HD-capable card for under £150 represents incredible value and will slot nicely into pretty much any system that needs an affordable gaming performance boost.
While it might not have the outright power of the more exciting GTX cards released in 2016, its bang-for-buck ratio is undeniable.
Updated: Since my original review, AMD has launched a new batch of graphics cards, with the RX 550, 560, 570 and 580 all fitting nicely into the budget and mid-range space. We’ve yet to review the 550 and 560, but from my estimations the GTX 1050 Ti remains a firm choice at its current price of around £140. There’s no current-generation AMD card at this price right now, although if you find yourself verging into the £150-160 range, perhaps consider looking at the RX 570.
The model on test here is MSI’s Afterburner edition. Rival card manufacturers will all use roughly the same form factor, creating single-slot, PCI-Express-powered cards that will fit into compact and low-cost builds. Perhaps more importantly, the 1050 Ti is also pitched perfectly at gamers who are using a desktop PC with no graphics card at all. As long as there’s room in the case and a PCI-E slot on the motherboard, you’re good to go.
The 1050 Ti chip is based on Nvidia’s Pascal GPU design, a recipe that’s already created a potent 2016 lineup for Nvidia that includes the GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060. It’s the first card in Nvidia’s 2016 range that doesn’t support VR gameplay; you’ll need the GTX 1060 to do this.
You get 768 CUDA cores alongside a base clock speed of 1,290MHz and a maximum boost clock of 1,392MHz. There’s a full 4GB of GDDR5 memoryrunning at 7,000MHz and a 128-bit memory bus.
The GTX 1050 Ti uses the same GP107 chip as the base-level GTX 1050, but the two are configured differently. The 1050 has fewer CUDA cores, but they’re tuned to a higher clock speed. The 1050 is also limited to 2GB of memory and comes in at £115. Update: I’ve now reviewed the GTX 1050, so click through to take a look at my review.
The 1050 Ti has a maximum thermal design power (TDP) of 75W; there won’t be room for any extra, because there’s no PCI-E power connector on the card drawing power from the PSU. All the power the GTX 1050 Ti requires can be drawn directly from the PCI-E slot.
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In the current GPU landscape, the 1050 Ti is set a long way apart from key rival AMD, both in terms of pricing and expected performance.
It’s between £30 and £40 less expensive than a base model AMD Radeon RX 470, which can be as cheap as £164.99 – if you snag a special offer. It’s between £30 and £40 more expensive than the RX 460, which is targeted firmly at twitchy, lower-end games such as Overwatch and DoTA played at Full HD resolution. I’ve yet to conduct a full review of the RX 460, but on the following page I’ve included preliminary benchmarks for comparison.
The 1050 Ti sits by itself in the market and is best viewed as the budget option for AAA games played at Full HD. Whether or not you’ll be able to max out your graphics settings depends on how low you like your frame rates, but there’s no game on the market right now that the 1050 Ti won’t cater for.
On the rear of the card on review you get a single HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI connector.
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