PC gaming does not have to be an expensive hobby at all, especially if you play at Full HD. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti prove this. In this round-up we're comparing no less than 21 of them from 8 manufacturers. These graphics cards allow you to game just fine at Full HD, despite the fact that the cheapest models cost about 100 to 150 dollars.
The GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti are based on Nvidia's GP107 GPU, which is at the time of writing the smallest chip from the Pascal generation. This means that they are the baby brothers of cards such as the GeForce GTX 1080, both in terms of size and performance. Performance-wise, the cards compete with the Radeon RX 460 and RX 570 from AMD. The GP107 consists of 3.3 billion transistors and contrary to the other Pascal chips they are produced on the 14 nm process of Samsung, rather than by TSMC.
The difference between the GTX 1050 and the 1050 Ti is mainly that the non-Ti variant features some disabled cores. The 1050 Ti features all 768 shader units with 48 texture units, whereas the 1050 only features respectively 640 and 40. The clock speeds are higher by default on the 1050: 1354 MHz with a boost of up to 1455 MHz versus 1290 and 1392 MHz on the 1050 Ti. The memory of both cards runs at 1750 MHz by default, however the 1050 Ti features twice as much memory at 4 GB.
Due to the fact that both the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti feature a TDP of 75 watts, all power can be delivered through the PCI-Express slot and no extra PEG plugs are necessary. This makes the cards ideal for upgrading pre-built PCs, which usually do not come with extra power cables. However, some manufacturers do opt for extra power connectors, for example to increase overclocking potential.
An interesting development in this segment that cannot be ignored, is the arrival of technologies for dynamic refresh rates of monitors. Even some dirt cheap monitors offer support for AMD's FreeSync, which causes rendered images to appear on your screen earlier so that problems such as tearing are eliminated. Cheap monitors with G-Sync unfortunately do not exist due to the cost of the required module, and Nvidia unfortunately still does not support FreeSync. The Radeon RX 460 might be slower than the GTX 1050, however the option to combine it with a FreeSync monitor is definitely worth considering if you're shopping at this price point.