Gigabyte GTX 950 Xtreme Graphics Card Review

A Closer Look at the Gigabyte GTX 950 Xtreme

The GTX 950 Xtreme is fairly small and measures in at 240mm (9.45 in.) long by 132mm (5.20 in.) wide and is 42mm (1.66 in.) tall. The card claims two slots, despite the fact that it is just over 1.5 inches tall.

The fan shroud is made of lightweight sheet metal and fits the blacked out theme. The shroud has plenty of ventilation for air to escape after it has been through the heatsink. The card is slightly taller than the MSI GTX 950. Cooling should not be an issue but, it will depend on your motherboard and how close one card sits to another.

 

Gigabyte follows the Nvida reference design when it comes to the GTX 950 Xtreme’s display outputs. The outputs include a DVI-I, HDMI 2.0, and three DisplayPort 1.2 connectors.

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The Gigabyte GTX 950 Xtreme requires an 8-pin connector and a minimum of a 350 watt power supply. Since the Xtreme version of the GTX 950 comes factory overclocked, higher power requirements are necessary above and beyond what the PCIe slot can provide.

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The Windforce logo on the leading edge of the card is lit by a multi-color LED. The LED only illuminates with the fans are spinning and is controlled by Gigabyte’s OC Guru II software. When the fans are not spinning, the silent and stop indicators are lit.

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Four screws hold the heatsink to the GPU and another four screws hold the back plate on. The VRM is passively cooled with a finned heatsink and thermal tape that sits right under the finned portion of the main cooler. The VRM is positioned between the GPU and the rear output connectors of the card.

 

The memory used on the Gigabyte GTX 950 Xtreme is Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 which are designed to run at 1750 MHz or 7000MHz and runs at full spec.  The memory bandwidth on the GTX 950 is 128-bit. Only the two near the GPU are actively cooled but the modules on the back of the board are not.

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The GTX 950 is based on the GM206 GPU and technically is the GM206-250-A1 as seen below on the GPU die. The GTX 950 is built on the 28 nm process and is DirectX 12.0 compatible. Nvidia has limited the shaders on the GTX 950 to 768 shader units, 48 texture mapping unites and 32 ROPs.

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The Gigabyte GTX 950 VRM uses an On-Semiconductor NCP81174 controller (located at the back PCB) configured to its full 4-phase function utilizing a mixture of Magnachip MDU1515 (low-side) and MDU1518 (high-side) MOSFETs driven by an On-Semi NCP81062 driver at the rear. Output filtering uses four 0.15uH MAGIC SPRN series high-current low-profile chokes and 4x 820uF solid capacitors. The memory power uses a Magnachip MDU1515 and MDU1518 MOSFET as well but with 0.68uH chokes. A Texas Instruments INA3221 below the VRM is a 3-channel high-current bus and voltage monitor involved in power distribution.

 

If some of the board and the chips look a little odd, that’s because the board is coated with a protective coating. This coating is designed to protect the PCB from moisture, dust and corrosion.

 

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The small triangle shape at the leading edge of the fan blade allows the blades to slice through the air and the stripe curve design helps reduce turbulence which in turn leads to more air pushed through the heatsink at a lower decibel level. During my testing, the fans never went above 40% of the max RPM and the maximum temperature reached was 50°C. The 10 blade fan is powered by a Power Logic PLA09215S12H and has a maximum power draw of .55A.

 

The Windforce cooler on the GTX 950 Xtreme is a densely packed fin array with a single copper heatpipe that is in direct contact with the GPU die.  The base of the aluminum block and the heat pipe are on the same plane and are flat. A very tiny gap exists between the heat pipe and the aluminum block. After several installations and removals the contact patch looks the same after each removal.

 

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