ASUS has quietly introduced its new video card based on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 GPU with a 75W power limit. By virtue of a lower power limit, this newer design does not require a 6pin PCIe auxiliary power connection and can be used to upgrade even basic PCs. Surprisingly, despite the lowered TDP, the ASUS GTX950-2G card features typical clock-rates and other specificaitons one would expect from a GeForce GTX 950.

The sub-75W video card market is an important one, as many desktop PCs supplied by well-known brands lack even basic upgrade capabilities. To cut-down their costs and improve cable management inside their systems, PC makers sometimes reduce the number of power connectors to a minimum they need to build their systems. As a consequence, it gets impossible to add a new hard drive to such computers, or install a higher-performance graphics card due to lack of necessary additional power connectors inside the box.

When NVIDIA designed its Maxwell architecture years ago, the company put a lot of effort into improving relative energy efficiency of its then forthcoming GPUs and into cutting their absolute power consumption as well. As a result, the first Maxwell-based GPU, GM107, consumed only up to 60W even in its most powerful desktop configurations (i.e., GeForce GTX 750 Ti) and was widely used inside notebooks. The majority of GeForce GTX 750 Ti video cards did not require any additional power connectors and could be used to upgrade any PC because any PCIe x16 slot can provide up to 75W of power.

The more advanced GM206 GPU, based on the second-generation Maxwell architecture, has a TDP of up to 120W, which means that video cards based around it have required additional power. As a result, the GeForce GTX 950 and the GeForce GTX 960 video cards are not as OEM PC-friendly because they require one 6-pin PCIe auxiliary power connector. Nonetheless, ASUS has been able develop a GeForce GTX 950 video card that can be installed into almost any PC with sufficient space inside because its power consumption is just 75W.

The ASUS GTX950-2G comes with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 6.6 Gbps, a dual-slot dual-fan cooling system with an aluminum heatsink, one DVI connector, one HDMI 2.0 port and one DisplayPort output. ASUS did not lower frequency of the GPU and did not alter its configuration, though as we've seen with past attempts to produce lower power SKUs, it's likely that this card has a reduced hard power limit to stay under 75W and may be more likely to power-throttle as a result. The GPU features 768 stream processors, 48 texture units, 32 ROPs as well as a 128-bit GDDR5 memory interface. It can work at 1051 MHz base clock and at up to 1128 MHz in boost mode (when OC mode is enabled).

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this video card is that thanks to the underlying GM206 GPU, it's the first sub-75W card to gain full hardware-accelerated decoding and encoding of H.265 (HEVC) video, and it fully supports HDCP 2.2 content protection over HDMI 2.0. This will likely make the ASUS GTX950-2G a popular choice for HTPCs as a result. Conversely, due to low-power nature of the graphics adapter, the ASUS GTX950-2G may not be the best overclocker. For those, who would like to push a GeForce GTX 950 to the limits, ASUS offers its ECHELON-GTX95-O2G and the GTX950-2GD5 video cards that have power and cooling headroom as well as components with enhanced durability (the ECHELON model).

NVIDIA Video Card Specification Comparison
  ASUS GTX950-2G Ref GTX 950 Ref GTX 960 Ref GTX 750 Ti
CUDA Cores 768 1024 640
Texture Units 48 64 40
ROPs 32 16
Core Clock 1026MHz
1051MHz (OC)
1024MHz 1126MHz 1020MHz
Boost Clock 1190MHz
1228MHz (OC)
1188MHz 1178MHz 1085MHz
Memory Clock 6.6Gbps GDDR5 7Gbps GDDR5 5.4Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 128-bit
VRAM 2GB 2GB/4GB /2GB
TDP 75W 90W 120W 60W
Architecture Maxwell 2 Maxwell 1
GPU GM206 GM107
Transistor Count 2.94B 1.87B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Launch Date 03/16/16 08/20/15 01/22/15 02/18/14
Launch Price unknown $159 $199 $149

The ASUS GTX950-2G graphics card is listed at ASUSTeK’s web-site, but is not yet available for sale anywhere. The price of the product will remain a mystery for now, but I do not expect it to be significantly higher than NVIDIA’s MSRP for the GeForce GTX 950 — $159. Meanwhile the card also qualifies for ASUS's ongoing World of Warships promo program, and as a result comes with a code for the game's Diana Cruiser along with 15 days premium credit for a new account.

UPDATE: ASUS has also added the Mini-GTX 950 2G into its linep. The card comes in mini-ITX form-factor, consumes up to 75W and does not require external PCIe power.

Source: ASUS via PC Perspective.

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  • Quad5Ny - Monday, March 7, 2016 - link

    @Anandtech when you guys get a card extract the vBIOS and load it into MaxwelBIOSTweaker and compare the Boost/Voltage table to a reference BIOS (EVGA's vBIOS are usually very close to reference.

    I'm very curious if they binned good silicon and then undervolted the card.
    Reply
  • TallestJon96 - Monday, March 7, 2016 - link

    As a former 750 ti owner, I love the idea of this card. Up to 50% more performance compared to a 750 ti, with only a 15w increase to power, and it still only needs PCIe. There is probably zero overclocking headroom, so maybe a real world difference of about 25%. Also, with pascal and 16nm right around the corner, it seems that this will be replaced for "best low power card" award very soon. In theory, we could see a card with 960 levels of performance and still only need a PCIe connection. I'd love to see a review, though. Reply
  • yhselp - Monday, March 7, 2016 - link

    It's not low-profile?! That makes it useless for the vast majority of situations that require such a card. Why bother making a PCIe-powered card that's not low-profile? I got super excited for this only to see it's full-height two seconds later. How am I supposed to install this in the low-profile work case?

    I really hope someone releases a low-profile, PCIe-powered GTX 950 - I want one real bad. This thing is faster than a GTX 580, shader-wise, and can push over 130 GB/s thanks to color compression. Enough to run the latest games properly. Can't wait to test it with a Core 2 Quad.
    Reply
  • stardude82 - Monday, March 7, 2016 - link

    I'm dying for a low profile HDMI 2.0 capable card at about 25W for my ITX Haswell HTPC. Reply
  • blahsaysblah - Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - link

    HDMI 2.0a adds HDR support. HDR and not 4x pixel quantity is what is really supposed to improve image quality in movies.

    Make sure to look for HDMI 2.0a.
    Reply
  • danbfree1 - Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - link

    I'm pretty sure it does support HDMI 2.0a as my GTX 950 supports 4k@ 60 with 4:4:4 chroma... That is the 18gbps rate that 2.0a calls for so support is already there. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - link

    The 750's were 55/60W parts at stock; the 950 is a 90W baseline part. Getting it to run 15W cooler without (hopefully) major throttling is a major achievement for ASUS. Getting it a full third lower power would really be pushing the envelope if it was possible at all. At the 75W level it'd need to push the little 40mm fan in a half hieght card even harder to keep cool; which runs into potential noise problems. Reply
  • stardude82 - Monday, March 7, 2016 - link

    I'm still thinking there is an error. Unless some minor miracle happened, something about those specs is wrong. Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - link

    I think there were whispers recently of a 950 SE, which would certainly produce cards that operate at a lower power threshold, however even with 640 CUDA cores and 40 TMUs (i.e. one disabled SMM), I think the rumour was 70W+, which puts it uncomfortably close to this.

    http://fudzilla.com/news/graphics/39982-nvidia-gef...
    Reply
  • ruthan - Monday, March 7, 2016 - link

    I would except better analysis from Anandtech.. because is G950 only on box.. with some software TDP cap is same shame as 970 slow memory block.

    I dont expect too much from this card, unless some benchmarks proof opposite.. It think that Asus is praying for no benchmarks for this card on major websites.. because lots of customer would believe that performance is same as normal G950.
    Reply

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