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Old 23-11-16, 10:20 AM
Nine Iron Nine Iron is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: St Helens, Merseyside
Posts: 161
Zotac 1050 Ti OC

Here we go.

Prelim

Coming up from a 750Ti. Waited ages for this one after being so disappointed with the 950 – negligible gains, more heat, more power and more noise.

I went for the Zotac OC over the others because it’s small, has the highest factory overclock and has no power connector. (It also happened to be the cheapest at £149.99 at the time I ordered, but this wouldn’t have been a factor.)

Impressions

It really is tiny – the board stops at the slot locking tab and the cooler goes maybe half an inch past that. The cooler itself is aluminium with a copper base and two copper heatpipes. The fans are 65 mm, but the very tinny kind we used to get on southbridge heatsinks. Doesn’t come with any software at all. Fair enough, as drivers are usually obsoleted at least once by the time a card gets to the buyer.

Testing

First off, it’s too loud. The fans won’t go below 45%, and this is a BIOS lock. Going into Valley, though, puts this in a different light: locking the fans to 45% gave me a max temp of 48 C, which is ridiculous. So, too loud, but a LOT of headroom to play with. Power draw is absurdly low – 180 watts in my system under maxed-out Heaven.

Out-of-box it gave me a 50% increase on every benchmark against my 750Ti. Couldn’t really ask for much more than this – smaller, no additional power draw, and gives me the option of turning on more bells and whistles or, eventually, going up to 2560 resolution with the original quality settings. Definitely, definitely a worthwhile upgrade.

Overclocking

I used Zotac’s Firestorm program to play with the speeds. Well, one of them; for some reason the memory wouldn’t move it all. Change it from 1752 MHz, click APPLY, and it pops right back. Possibly another BIOS lock. Couldn’t increase the power target either, but I never do this anyway.

Onto benchmarking, and trying to get the actual core speed was farcical – Heaven doesn’t report anything but the name of the GPU, Valley reads it at over 2000, and GPU-Z gives a maximum of 1911 no matter how far I push the slider in Firestorm.

I did a “bench-bump” cycle half a dozen times and eventually reach the point where Heaven was bluescreening and GPU-Z was “losing” the overclock and only reading idle speeds. OK – let’s go back down. After finding what I thought was a stable clock I decided to leave Heaven looping… crash-to-desktop ensued. Bugger! I then decided to inch the clock down until it was reading just under the 1911 max, and it seemed loop-stable. However, the core speed was bouncing around quite a bit. I went down a bit further to get a flatter graph (I care more about minimum FPS than maximum or average) and eventually ended up at 1880 MHz, which gave a 3% improvement on benchmarks.

Conclusion

This is what the 950 should have been, 100% the best step up from the 750 Ti for this money. The loud cooler and razor-thin OC stability threshold aren’t great, but most buyers are going to be the “fit and forget” kind and these won’t be an issue. Can’t comment on the RX470, but I was this close to getting a 460. Glad I held fire!

Addendum – cooling mod

48 degrees of load temperature is insane – no card needs to be this cold. My first attempt at a mod was to put a resistor in front of each of the fans, which are “blind” controlled by a DC voltage from the board. No PWM, no speed sense. Sadly the fans’ absolute minimum running voltage was still too loud and added an infuriating clicking from the bearings. Pity – it still looked stock.

Take 2 used two Arctic Silent 8’s from eBay for less than eight quid running at a fixed speed from a board header. Dialled down below the case ambient noise and the load temps now read… 48!
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