This article has been just updated: December 11, 2019
In recent years, the cryptocurrency craze has caused the prices of graphics cards to reach new highs, putting them out of reach of many consumers. Fortunately, budget graphics cards, such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti, have remained fairly inexpensive because their limited performance makes them unsuitable for cryptocurrency mining. It doesn’t, however, make them unsuitable for regular computer use and even light gaming.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 retails for $109, while the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti goes for $139. With just $30 separating the two budget graphics cards, choosing the obviously more powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti over the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 may seem like a no-brainer, but you have to keep in mind that those $30 represent nearly one-third of the price of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050. The question then is whether the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is really 30 percent better, and this article is here to help you answer that question.
|Graphics card||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti|
|VRAM||2 GB GDDR5||4 GB GDDR5|
|Memory speed||7 Gbps||7 Gbps|
|Base clock||1,354 MHz||1,290 MHz|
|Boost clock||1,455 MHz||1,392 MHz|
|TDP||75 W||75 W|
Both the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti are based on the Pascal GPU architecture, the successor to the Maxwell architecture. According to Nvidia, Pascal is the world’s most advanced GPU architecture, and it was developed to bring virtual worlds to life and give you superior performance and power efficiency by using ultra-fast FinFET and supporting DirectX 12 features.
The two graphics cards also support G-Sync technology, which was developed by Nvidia to eliminate screen tearing and the need for software alternatives such as Vsync. If you look at the specifications chart above, you may notice that the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 has only 2 GB of VRAM, whereas the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti has 4 GB.
In 2018, 2 GB of video memory isn’t much, but the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 does quite a good job with what it has to work with because of its higher base and boost clock speeds compared with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. As long as you keep texture settings low, you shouldn’t struggle to stay above 30 frames per second in most AAA games at Full HD, and you may even be able to reach 60 frames per second in certain titles.
There’s also a 3 GB version of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, but it has a significantly lower memory bandwidth than both the 2 GB version of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, making it a very tough sell.
|Game||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti|
|The Division (high settings)||51.8 FPS||58.4 FPS|
|Hitman (medium settings)||66.8 FPS||76.2 FPS|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (very high settings)||40.05 FPS||51.9 FPS|
|Ashes of the Singularity (high settings)||33.5 FPS||38.3 FPS|
|Gears of War 4 (ultra settings)||34.5 FPS||44.6 FPS|
FPS – Average frames per second. Higher is better.
Games like Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, DOTA 2, and Rocket League are easily playable on both the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, so you can go with the cheaper of the two graphics cards and use the extra money to buy an additional memory stick or a better CPU cooler if you only play esports titles.
When it comes to competing graphics cards, the 2 GB AMD Radeon RX 460 is a very attractive choice. It performs slightly better in certain games, especially Battlefield V, and is priced right between the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.
The downside of the AMD Radeon RX 460 is the fact that it requires an additional six-pin power connector to deliver peak performance. Both the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti are designed to draw their full power from a motherboard, making them more attractive for prebuilt PC manufacturers.
You could also pay extra $100 or $200 respectively for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with either 3 GB or 6 GB of video memory to unlock the VR experiences and future-proof your gaming rig, but you may as well get a brand-new budget graphics card one or two GPU generations down the road and enjoy similar performance benefits with the added bonus of being able to sell your current GPU on eBay.
Ask yourself what you expect your graphics card to do. If you don’t play any games and need a new graphics card just to watch movies, browse the web, and perhaps edit photos without constant stuttering and annoying lags, both the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti are fit for the job.
But if you consider yourself to be either a casual or sports-oriented gamer, you’re better off paying $30 extra for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti to enjoy your games at 60 frames per second. Just keep in mind that not even the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is powerful enough for playing the latest AAA games at the highest video quality settings.
There’s also the 3 GB version of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, but we can’t recommend it because it has slower video memory and its price is just too close to the much more capable Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.