Palit GeForce GTX 1050 StormX 2GB review

Small enough to fit into cramped PC cases, and without the need for any dedicated graphics card power wires, this graphics card is a no-hassle way to add genuinely competent 1080p gaming performance to PCs which would otherwise be unable to support a modern graphics card. Here's our Palit GeForce GTX 1050 StormX 2GB review.

See also: Best graphics cards to buy right now

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 StormX 2GB review: Price

The GTX 1050, and the more powerful GTX 1050 Ti, are Nvidia’s latest additions to the ‘Pascal’ range of graphics cards which has been dominating high-end gaming since its release in Summer 2016.

At only £115.99 from Overclockers UK the Palit StormX won’t break the bank either. It's a decent amount cheaper than the GTX 1050 Ti, which is around £150, but performance is also in line with the lower price, as you can see below. 

Unlike the more powerful cards in the range, the GTX 1050 / GTX 1050 Ti boards aren’t based on cut down versions of the more powerful GPUs. Instead they use an entirely new version of the Pascal chip designed for the entry-level gaming market.

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 StormX 2GB review: Features and design

This Palit board uses the less expensive of the two chips, the GTX 1050 which features a 1455MHz Boost clock speed that’s actually a little higher than that of the GTX 1050 Ti, but comes with only 640 CUDA cores compared to the 768 of the Ti version. With 2GB of GDDR5 RAM on a 128-bit bus, it achieves a maximum memory bandwidth of 112GB/s.

These specs put the card ahead of the GTX 950 it replaces, yet the new board draws only 75W maximum power, removing the need for a supplementary 6-pin power connector and reducing the minimum recommended power supply rating from 350W to 300W. This greatly improves the card’s compatibility with older and less-capable PC hardware, but the removal of that 6-pin power connector also limits any overclocking potential which might otherwise push the power draw beyond what can be delivered by the motherboard alone.

Palit GTX 1050 StormX review

Being a Pascal card, the GTX 1050 provides an up-to-date feature set, including DirectX 12 and Vulkan support, HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4, although the features dedicated to improving VR performance, such as Simultaneous Multi-Projection are of little use here as the card isn’t capable of VR-grade peformance.

The Palit card features a basic, functional two-slot design with a single fan atop a standard finned heatsink. As you would expect at this price, there’s not backplate or fancy heatpipe-based cooler. It provides single DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs and measures a compact 166mm x 112mm.

 Palit GTX 1050 StormX review

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 StormX 2GB review: Performance

The introduction of the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti can be seen as Nvidia’s answer to the AMD Radeon RX 460 and our tests show that even the GTX 1050 is able to outperform the Radeon in the majority of benchmarks.

Focussing on 1080p performance, we find the Palit GeForce GTX 1050 StormX 2GB capable of averageing over 60fps at high settings in Thief and much higher still in Alien Isolation. These scores are well ahead of even a 4GB Radeon RX 460. The GTX 1050 also achieves quite playable frame rates of around 50 fps with Ultra settings, if you value visual quality more than fluid motion.

Attempting to push the resolution higher than 1080p probably isn’t a good idea, but you could try with less-demanding titles and VR performance is well below minimum performance levels, but this is to be expected given the cards stated performance goals.

Results like this are really impressive for a card costing just over £110, making it a really compelling purchase compared to a Radeon RX 460. If your budget is limited, you won’t be dissatisfied with what this card can deliver for the money.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for the best graphics card you can install in your low-end PC, it’s well worth considering spending 50 per cent more for a 4GB GTX 1050 Ti, which will give noticeably better performance and some degree of future-proofing. It may seem like a big leap in percentage terms, but £50 isn’t a huge amount compared to the cost of modern games.

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 StormX 2GB review: Benchmarks

Below you can see how the 1050 compares to the Zotac GTX 1050 Ti and XFX RX 460, and we've also included the 1060, 1070, RX 480 and even the older 980 Ti just to show how the new budget cards compare.

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 StormX 2GB: Specs

  • GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
  • CUDA Cores: 640
  • Core Speed: 1345MHz / 1455MHz (Base/Boost)
  • Memory Speed 7GHz
  • Memory Bandwidth 112 GB/sec
  • Memory bus width: 128-bit
  • Memory type and capacity GDDR5 2GB
  • Maximum digital resolution 4096x2160
  • PCIe 3.0 x16
  • SLI Ready: No
  • DirectX 12 Support: Yes 12_1
  • OpenGL Support: Yes 4.5
  • HDR Ready: Yes
  • Power Consumption: 75W
  • Recommended System Power Supply: 300W
  • Power Connector: None
  • Ports: 1x DVI-D, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x DisplayPort 1.4
  • Card width: 2 slots
  • Dimensions: 112mm x 166mm
  • Accessories: Manual, Driver Disc
  • GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
  • CUDA Cores: 640
  • Core Speed: 1345MHz / 1455MHz (Base/Boost)
  • Memory Speed 7GHz
  • Memory Bandwidth 112 GB/sec
  • Memory bus width: 128-bit
  • Memory type and capacity GDDR5 2GB
  • Maximum digital resolution 4096x2160
  • PCIe 3.0 x16
  • SLI Ready: No
  • DirectX 12 Support: Yes 12_1
  • OpenGL Support: Yes 4.5
  • HDR Ready: Yes
  • Power Consumption: 75W
  • Recommended System Power Supply: 300W
  • Power Connector: None
  • Ports: 1x DVI-D, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x DisplayPort 1.4
  • Card width: 2 slots
  • Dimensions: 112mm x 166mm
  • Accessories: Manual, Driver Disc

OUR VERDICT

The GTX 1050 could be the perfect card for converting a low-end PC into a competent gaming machine, and this board from Palit is a strong no-frills example at a good price. However, you should consider a 1050 Ti if you can afford it.