Maxwell has been Nvidia’s most efficient GPU architecture to date, offering great performance/watt. While the lower end cards aren’t quite as power efficient as some of their bigger siblings, the GTX 950 is as good as it gets, offering decent 1080p performance at 90W. That, however, is set to change as Nvidia is preparing a 75W GTX 950, one that ASUS is launching first.
Due to the fact that it only requires 75W, the ASUS 950 can afford to draw all of its power straight from the PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, cutting down on cable clutter and PSU requirements. Despite losing out on power headroom, ASUS has still managed to give the card a factory OC mode of 1051 MHz Base and 1228 MHz Boost A more tame default Gaming mode has it at 1026 MHz Base and 1190 MHz Boost. This all the while keeping the same GM206 core of 768 CUDA cores, 64 texture mapping units, 32 ROPs and a standard 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM.While the boost clocks are pretty good, it’s important to keep in mind that those are the max figures and with the cut-down power delivery, it’s unlikely the card will keep or even hit those numbers, especially under load. As with all silicon, Nvidia and ASUS is either binning chips heavily, 28nm is getting much better (unlikely this late into the node) or simply cutting enough voltage while maintaining base clock speeds.
This late into the generation, it looks like Nvidia is prepping for an efficiency battle with AMD’s upcoming Polaris which set to be many times more efficient than current GCN cards. The new GTX 950 may have to do battle on it’s own for a while till Nvidia get their own competing Pascal cards out.