Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mini
Introduction – The New Budget Flagship
When NVIDIA announced the Pascal, its latest GPU architecture, it was lauded as the company’s biggest feat in the past ten years. First came the GeForce GTX 1080, and a few months later, the Titan X. These flagship Pascal GPUs took graphics performance to the next level, coupled with improved power efficiency and temperatures. These flagships start at a pricing of ₹55,000 though, clearing putting them in the upmarket enthusiast segment.
Along with the GTX 1080, Nvidia launched the GeForce GTX 1060 and GTX 1070. The GeForce GTX 1060 was Nvidia’s new mainstream card replacing the GTX 960, and costs a reachable ₹20,000. The GTX 1060 offers performance close the Nvidia’s Maxwell flagship, the GeForce GTX 980. For its price, the GTX 1060 was a winner. The generation leap paid off. The GTX 1060 was also Nvidia’s rival to AMD’s RX 480, another great graphics card offering good price/performance ratio, and support for DirectX 12 and Vulkan. Both the GTX 1060 and RX 480 cost roughly the same and offer vaguely the same level of performance.
Nvidia was riding high on the success of its Pascal graphics cards, but it still didn’t have a card to compete with AMD Radeon RX 460, a sub ₹10,000 card (around ₹8,500 to be precise). The RX 460 offered DirectX 12 support, and respectable 1080p performance for it’s aggressive price. It was the undeniable go-to graphics card for the ₹10,000 price bracket, an incredibly sought after price range in India. NVIDIA’s Pascal was completely missing from this segment.
Nvidia announced the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti in mid-October. Both cards are built on Nvidia’s new GP107 chipset. Built on Samsung’s 14nm FinFET node, the GTX 1050 differs from the 1050 Ti by disabling one of the six SM clusters. The 1050 Ti also has 20% more CUDA cores than the 1050. The GTX 1050 Ti will ship with GDDR5 RAM of 2GB and 4GB. The GTX 1050 will be available in 2GB models only. For in depth detailing on the GP107 and the specifications of GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti, read here. Both the graphics cards will not be launched with a Founders Edition, like Nvidia did for the GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080. Instead, they will rely on partners such as ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, Zotac etc. for launching cards for these chipsets. Expect the partners to add multiple overclocked cards, with a variety of fan configurations.
The official MSRP for the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti is ₹10,000 and ₹12,500 including taxes. Prices will slightly vary for overclocked chipsets, chipsets with single and dual fan configurations etc.
Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mini
Zotac offers two GeForce GTX 1050Ti variants. The Zotac GeForce GTX 1050Ti Mini is the one we received, the other is the dual fan graphics card.
Here are the specifications of the Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mini.
|GPU||GeForce® GTX 1050 Ti|
|Video Memory||4GB GDDR5|
|Engine Clock||Base: 1303 MHz
|Memory Clock||7 GHz|
|Display Outputs||DisplayPort 1.4
|Multi Display Capability||Triple Display|
|Recommended Power Supply||300W|
|DirectX||12 API feature level 12_1|
|Slot Size||Dual Slot|
|Supported OS||Windows 10 / 8 / 7|
|Card Length||144.78mm x 111.15mm|
This is a nifty little card, just short of 145mm in length. That means, you can literally fit this into any little cabinet, or even an HTPC. It doesn’t require a separate power connector either, making it suitable for upgrades on old PCs, and for PCs with basic power supply units.
The plastic fan casing sits on top of a circular aluminium heatsink. The heatsink doesnt cover the entire surface area of the chipset, but the Pascal’s efficiency doesn’t require that much cooling in the first place. The Zotac card is lightweight, but built well. The shape and size of the card is inviting in a way that it made me feeling like building a micro form factor gaming HTPC. The Zotac GTX 1050 Ti Mini is even smaller in size than the MSI GeForce GTX 1050.
The required power spec is 75W, which is probably why the 300Mhz downclock from the Pascal clocks we’ve come to expect. The Zotac board has a quirky boost of 1650Mhz out of the box. At a requirement of just 75W, that is really good efficiency by the GP107 chipset. What’s better, we were able to overclock the card to 1850Mhz, about 15% higher than the factory overclock. This is where the Pascal is a genuine advancement from Maxwell i.e. with regards to the power draw and efficiency.
Nvidia down-throttled and limited the GP107 chip in the GTX 1050, the same is not the case with the 1050 Ti. For a card have the same number in the series, the performance boost is surmountable. Also, with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, Nvidia has ensured enough VRAM on the GTX 1050 Ti to run high resolutions with ease.Thus, the result we get is an incredibly impressive GTX 1050 Ti, that blows away the GeForce GTX 960.
The cooler is a single 80mm fan placed on an aluminium heatsink. It is designed to exhaust air from the heat dissipated from the processor to the heatsink. There are no copper pipes either. This suggest the energy requirements of this nifty little GTX 1050 graphics card. Speaking of energy, the cards has a TDP of <em>just</em> 75 Watts, and it doesn’t even require a PCIe connector. This will be a boon to PC builders with low end configurations and stock power supply units, especially to those with old PCs. You can just plug in the graphics card and you’re good to go, no extra cables and connections required.
The output ports you get with the card are DisplayPort 1.4 (the one we used), HDMI 2.0 and Dual-Link DVI. These output ports should be able to cover the needs of just about everyone. If you’re still on a VGA port, there is a VGA-DVI convertor included in the package.
Here is the GPUZ screenshot.
Test Setup and Methodology
|CPU||Intel Core i5 6600K @ 3.90Ghz|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 3|
|RAM||G.Skill RipJaws DDR4 8GB x 2 @ 3000Mhz|
|Cooling||Antec Kuhler H100 Pro|
|SSD||SanDisk ExtremePro 240GB|
|Power Supply Unit||Seasonic X850|
|Monitor||ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q 2560x1400|
|OS||Windows 10 64-bit|
|Cabinet||CoolerMaster MasterCase Pro|
Drivers: NVIDIA Forceware 375.95
- All games tested have been patched to their latest version
- The OS version is latest, with all latest hotfixes and updates installed
- All scores you see are an average of 3 benchmark runs
- For games without prefixed “Benchmark” mode, a run from a manual save point was done for 1 minute.
We do three runs of the same benchmark of the game/benchmarking software, and mention the average scores.
For Temperatures and Power Consumption, we thoroughly record and analyse both the parameters during our benchmark and gaming stress runs. For idle testing, we stay on the desktop with the monitor switched on for five minutes, and then record our values. We have no significant background processes running during idle testing.
UNIGINE Valley is a GPU stress-testing tool that puts the PC under heavy stress by running a graphical rendered sequence. The graphics sequence comes with advanced visual technologies, dynamic sky, volumetric clouds, sun shafts, depth-of-field and ambient occlusion.
The GTX 1050 Ti is about 20% faster than the GTX 1050 and 8% faster than the RX 460. The GTX 1050 here lags behind the RX 460 by a slight margin of about 1%. Compared to the RX 470, the 1050 Ti is about 20% slower, while it costs about 70% lower than the former.
Heaven, just like Valley, renders a sequence set in the heavens to put the GPU under stress. It supports DirectX 9, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0. The benchmark comprehensively uses hardware tessellation, and features dynamic sky with volumetric clouds.
The GTX 1050 Ti manages a score of 536 on the Heaven 4.0 benchmark, which is rather respectable considering the high resolution of 2560×1440. Having said that, either this is a benchmark limitation, but the benefit of 4GB of RAM is not being portrayed in the results. The RX 470 is only about 45% ahead of the GTX 1050 Ti this time.
3DMark Time Spy
Extremely popular benchmark tool 3DMark has a new DirectX12 benchmark run called Time Spy. Time Spy uses DirectX as its main driver, and is considered a good tool to test out a graphic card’s DirectX12 abilities. Below is the detailed Test Report of the Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mini Time Spy Benchmark.
Let’s compare the scores against various current-gen graphics cards.
Rise of Tomb Raider
Rise of Tomb Raider (iLLReview) is Lara Croft’s latest adventure. This game is one of the most graphically advanced games out there at the moment, and it is sure to put even the most powerful systems to a test.
We maxed out the game settings to their highest possible preset. We also set PureHair to Very High. For Anti-aliasing we are using SMAA. We used the in-game Benchmark tool, which takes us through various game sequences and records the min/max and average frames per second.
Here are the numbers.
Here, the RX 460 beats the GTX 1050 again, probably because Rise of Tomb Raider is optimised for AMD. This is the third test where the RX 460 has beaten the GTX 1050, and it costs about 5% lower than the later. We can’t help but think that Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti is Nvidia’s answer to the RX 460, as it performs considerably faster, by about 40% than the RX 460 in RoTR.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The latest iteration of acclaimed Deus Ex series, a series iLLStaff loves, Mankind Divided, frustrated PC enthusiasts and builders because of how difficult it was to achieve 60 frames per seconds in the game. This game has beefy requirements, its not unfair though, as it has the graphics to show for it. I reviewed the game a while back. It fully supports DirectX12 and has all the graphical bells and whistles you can expect from a mid-2016 game.
We used the Very High preset for this game, in DirectX12. There is a higher “Ultra” preset, but that is way too high even for current flagship graphics cards like the GTX 1080 and RX480 to handle. Here are the game settings we are using for this benchmark.
We used the in-game benchmark tool to test the game. We tested the game at both 1440p and 1080p, since we figured the GTX 1050 Ti to be more relevant for 1080p gaming. Here are the results.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an AMD optimised game, and the results show that. The RX 470 is almost up there with the GTX 1060. The RX 460 once again is slightly ahead of the GTX 1050, but behind the faster GTX 1050 Ti by about 12%. Both cards struggle to achieve a playable frame rate. It is recommended that you play Mankind Divided in Medium settings if you plan on getting the GTX 1050 Ti. The GTX 1050 Ti in contrast, is about 25% faster than the GTX 1050, and very close to the RX 460. The Radeons clearly have an advantage here.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Ah, The Witcher 3, an iLLStaff favourite. The game might be more than an year old, it still has the most beautiful graphics on the PC platform. What’s commendable is how beautiful the game looks, and yet, how well it is scalable and optimised for the PC. this is one of CD Projekt’s most clinically executed projects. The game does not come with a benchmark tool, so we have a manual save point, from where we start our benchmark. Geralt rides on his horse, following Vesemir, while we record the minimum, maximum and average frames per second for one minute.
The Witcher 3 isn’t an AMD optimised game, and here we see the GTX 1050 Ti ahead by 25% of the Radeon RX 460. At 1080p, the GTX 1050 Ti manages about 25 fps in Ultra Settings with Hairworks turned on. That is a lot. If we lower the settings to Very High and High, we can easily manage a playable framerate at 1080p on the GTX 1050 Ti. Just an year back, playing The Witcher 3 on these settings would have burnt a deep hole in your pockets.
The Pascal architecture is highly touted for its efficiency and cool temperatures. Let us put it to the test. We used MSI Afterburner to record temperatures at various points of our benchmarking and idle runs.
The GTX 1050 Ti idles at 30 degrees celsius, which is more than what we can ask for. A running silicon chip at 30 degress is a technological feat. The Radeons, both the RX 460 and RX 470, idle around 37 degrees, which is considerably higher than the GTX 1050 Ti. On load, we get 57 degrees, which is in line with how the GP107 chipset should be performing, only with the Zotac, is a notch better. The stress temperatures of the Zotac GeForce GTX 1050Ti are the lowest we have observed among 2016 GPUs. This really is a strong performer on a small footprint.
The GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti samples we received did not require any power connector whatsoever. They have a TDP of 75W. You can get them running with a power supply unit of just 300 Watts. Even the power supply unit that came packaged with your cabinet is more than enough to drive the GP107 chipset the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti use. We have seen the Pascal go a step ahead of the previous generations in power efficiency.
Here is where the plot thickens. While it is out of our understanding to see so much variance in idle power consumption figures, we see here that the low end graphic cards consume more power than the RX 470 and GTX 1060. This is not a good thing particularly. An ideal system idles more than it is stressed, and the GTX 1050 Ti consumes about 35 Watts on idle. This actually proves that we cannot rely on software readings. If these numbers speak the true story, be assured that using a GTX 1050 Ti will knock up your electricity bill if you are a fan of idling. Under load, the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti perform considerably better than the Radeon RX 460 and RX 470, while offering almost the same level of performance. Nvidia historically has always edged ahead of AMD/ATI in terms of power efficiency, and much hasn’t changed this time around.
Conclusion – Frugality Redefined
If you’ve read our GeForce GTX 1050 review, we have stated multiple times of how the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti makes much, much more sense than the GTX 1050. The Zotac GTX 1050 Ti Mini retails at Rs. 12,300 including taxes. At this price, this is a winner. Add to that, the GTX 1050 Ti is a much practical buy than the GTX 1050. It offers a better price/performance ratio, and 1080p gaming that is more justifiable for “smooth gaming” in 2016. With the RX 460 and GTX 1050, you’re not guaranteed playable performance at 1080p. With the GTX 1050 Ti, you are. If you look at the history of the GTX x50 series, the GTX 1050 made the GTX 950 redundant. But the GTX 950 Ti is a great card to buy at the price, the same will be the story for the GTX 1050 Ti in an year, probably.
Another worthy aspect to mention how just how cool and efficient the Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is. It’s one of the coolest cards we’ve tested under load. And it has great overclocking headroom too. We managed an almost 20% boost in the clock speeds, and the card still managed to stay under 65 degrees Celsius under load. NVIDIA has had the upper hand in this segment, and it continues to do so. The GTX 1050 Ti will guarantee you a low energy bill and a lower footprint, if that matters to you. NVIDIA’s drivers are also much more robust than AMD’s.
Lets us discuss the price now. The Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti retails at about ₹12,300. The GeForce GTX 1050 2GB retails at around ₹10,000 give or take. In comparison, an RX 460 2GB is available in the market for ₹7,700. That is about 23% cheaper than the GTX 1050 for the same level of performance. If you go by sheer performance and ignore the efficiency, the RX 460 is of better value than the GTX 1050. The RX 460 even trumps the GTX 1050 in performance of AMD optimised games like Rise of Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, so that’s a bonus. Watch_Dogs2 is an NVIDIA optimised game and we will find out how both the cards compare in this particular game. But the same comparison cannot be made with a GTX 1050 Ti. The 1050 Ti offers the sweet spot when it comes to price and performance.
Having said that, analysing the GTX 1050 Ti on its own feet, this is the go-to card if you want the best 1080p experience at the best price. If you want to game at 1440p, the GTX 1060 offers better value. For esports games like Dota 2 and Counter Strike: GO, the GTX 1050 Ti will run them at a smooth 60 fps on 1080p with no problems whatsoever. Even higher frames can be achieved if you have the monitor to support it. This graphics card doesn’t require a power connector, it is very small in size (depending on what variant you’re getting) and it runs efficiently. This card is a boon for builders with old PCs and old Power Supply Units and small cabinets and I would recommend the GTX 1050 Ti to those people only. It is a great card for adolescents looking to step into the world of PC Gaming too. For this reason, we award the GTX 1050 Ti our Editor’s Choice Award.
+The most practical graphics card for 1080p gaming
+Small size, will fit in any case, literally
+No power connectors required
+Overclocks really well
+Runs very cool. One of the coolest running cards under load
-Price/performance versus AMD Radeon RX 460 is still debatable