Yes, I just ripped off Star Trek. But unlike the TV series, this generation leap happened in the short span of 3 years, instead of the 78 years that separate the timeline of Star Trek and The Next Generation. I do this with good reason, as the performance we get with this $165 card is nothing short of amazing.
First, let’s take a look at the exterior. The MSI GTX 1050Ti Gaming X 4G videocard has a downsized fan and heatsink assembly that mimics the looks of the Twin Frozr fans on the 1050Ti’s bigger siblings like the 1070 and 1080. It uses dual 80mm fans (compared to the bigger version’s 92mm fans), only has single HDMI, display port and DVI connectors, and omits the backplate. The heatsink only has a single (but very thick) heatpipe that loops from top to bottom and through most of the heatsink fins. The LED backed Dragon badge near the ports, and the dragon “claws” are retained, but is only white and red colored only, respectively. There’s also a single 6-pin power connector.
Looks are one thing, but the performance has increased to the point where it challenges the giants of yesteryear and today’s current crop of videocards alike. I like to equate this comparison to a stubby shotgun compared to a long rifle. Sure, the rifle reaches farther, but the shotgun will be just as deadly at close ranges. The 1050Ti, and in particular this example from MSI, performs like a beast at full HD while maintaining its power-sipping nature due to Nvidia’s use of its new 14nm GP107 core, sourced from Samsung instead of TSMC. At higher resolutions, and in some highly demanding games, some detail settings and effects must be adjusted.
The MSI GTX1050Ti is blessed with 4GB of GDDR5, a 128-bit memory bus, 768 CUDA cores, 48 TMUs, and 32 ROPs, and runs at a 1354MHz core and 1752MHz memory. Along with the new Pascal core, the GTX1050Ti is able to push out great performance for the price.
The 1050Ti and 770 keeps trading blows, with the 770 always losing out at high detail settings but maintaining the lead at settings that doesn’t require a lot of RAM, indicating a definite bottleneck with its 2GB of GDDR. The 1060 is a good comparative ceiling, while the 950 and 750 represent older generation “bang-for-the-buck” videocards.
An interesting detail is the consistent 70000 plus and 38000 plus scores in 3DMark 01 and 05, respectively. Our guess is that these old benchmarks are CPU – limited, not so important since these benchmarks were originally included as a fun trial to see how well modern hardware fares with older tests. The Street Fighter 4 benchmark seems to be scaling well though.
The MSI GTX 770 Lightning videocard is huge with a PCB nearly 3 inches longer than the 1050Ti. It’s also nearly twice as heavy, and uses 2 8-pin power connectors, yet the 1050Ti beat it in half of the benchmarks. More importantly, even with similar performance at lower detail settings, my videocard originally bought for P30k plus loses out to a sub-P10k card you can buy now – while promising to use a lot less Meralco juice. The other, older generation Ti cards give a similar story – better designed, lower power consumption, better performance, and at a great price.
Additional features that bears consideration before purchase include the excellent “Zero Frozr” feature wherein the fans does not spin until they need to, leading to a silent card in most usage scenarios. Idle and light use, including Blueray playback, is reported to be 3-4watts only, complementing this feature perfectly. Overclocking is a distinct possibility with MSI’s Gaming App and the card’s low power/low heat. The additional 6-pin power connector ensures there’s enough power to spare if you choose to push the speed envelope. Finally, also take into consideration the lack of SLI support for this model – makes sense, since this is targeted at the entry level and gaming cafe market.
The MSI GTX 1050Ti is poised to achieve cult status as the entry gaming card of choice with its combination of refined features, low power consumption, more than adequate performance, and low price. It’s the next generation for the frugal gamer.