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An Upgrade Story 2: Using the GTX 1050 Ti to convert an OEM PC to a Gaming PC

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Performance Testing

The goal of this little experiment is to prove a couple of things. First, that integrated graphics, even on the higher cost ASUS machine with the Core i7-6700 processor in it, just isn't capable of playing modern games at even the lowest available image quality settings. Second, I want to show that for a low cost (in the land of PC building) you can take these otherwise incapable computers and turn them into surprisingly robust gaming PCs if you target 1080p resolutions and moderate image quality settings.

The games I decided to test this time, besides running 3DMark Sky Diver and Fire Strike to get a baseline, were Dirt Rally, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Doom. All three are “modern” in that they offer impressive visuals for their different game types without being the “Crysis” of the generation (meaning they require more horsepower than they should to run).

Let’s start by looking at results from the 3DMark benchmark. I ran both Sky Diver and Fire Strike, though you’ll see that the Dell machine wasn’t actually able to run the more strenuous test.

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Sky Diver shows a gap between the two machines with integrated graphics only, about 38% in fact. Considering both are marketed as having the same GPU product…that’s disappointing. In the end, it doesn’t really matter though: the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti card simply blows away these scores, netting around 25,000 points each. That is an 8.9x improvement in performance on the Dell machine and a 6.5x improvement on the ASUS!

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The Fire Strike test wouldn’t run at all on the Core i3-6100 system, but it wouldn’t have mattered if it did. The frame rate resulting on the Core i7-6700 was in the single digits before installing the GTX 1050 Ti. On the ASUS M32CD the NVIDIA add-in card results in a 7.5x increase in performance.

Now we’ll dive into the real-world gaming tests. First up, Dirt Rally running at 1920x1080 and the Low quality preset.

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While I again noted a pretty big gap between the Core i7-6700 and Core i3-6100 in integrated only testing, even a frame rate of 34 FPS is going to be tough to handle in a fast paced racing simulator like Dirt Rally. The good news is that with the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, both systems were able to push incredibly high frame rates. The Dell Inspiron suffers a little with the inclusion of the Core i3-6100 dual-core processor compared to the ASUS with the quad-core Core i7-6700, and you can see a significant delta in performance because of it (60%).

Obviously another way to take advantage of this performance advantage after you install the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is to increase quality settings. A frame rate of 173 FPS is great but is mostly unnecessary. Instead, I found that I could easily play Dirt Rally at the Ultra quality preset and still maintain 60+ FPS while getting much better looking imagery as well.

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In Rise of the Tomb Raider, again running at 1080p and the Lowest preset available in the options, the integrated graphics had no chance of making this game run. After installing the MSI GTX 1050 Ti however, the game was not just playable but we same frame rates near the 100 FPS mark again! Both systems see 17x and 9.5x frame rate improvements, respectively!

Again, rather than run at super high frame rates, I would recommend you play the game on the High quality preset to enjoy this iteration of the Tomb Raider franchise with improved visuals and a more than adequate frame rate. This is the flexibility that higher performing discrete graphics can offer.

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Finally, we end our gaming tests with the new Doom title. Again, the difference in experience (if you can even call it that with the integrated graphics) between the Intel and NVIDIA solutions is night and day. On the Dell machine the new GPU gives you an 11x improvement in frame rate while the ASUS system sees a 6.6x change. And once more, I would actually recommend that you switch from the Low preset to the High preset with both configurations, enjoying the game at more than 60 FPS but with much better visuals at 1080p.

November 28, 2016 | 03:12 PM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

Assuming that the OEM pc that someone has can accommodate a discrete GPU, then it's a really cheap way to get a gaming box of some sorts without spending money on either a console or a new gameing rig.
If only the masses could understand this and just how easy and cheap it is to do...

November 28, 2016 | 04:34 PM - Posted by JohnGR

We are all part of the masses. Just in different categories. No one can know everything, or even have a minimum knowledge in every area. Others know the basics on PC configuration, other know how to distinguish the good quality clothes from the bad ones, others how to distinguish the fresh fish from the frozen that someone tries to sell as fresh.

November 28, 2016 | 06:53 PM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

holy tangent batman!

seriously, don't get bogged down in semantics. But since you went there, I'll humor you. The article is about upgrading an OEM machine and my comment is directly related to that.

"...If only the masses could understand this and just how easy and cheap it is to do..."

and since by the very definition of masses:
the main body, bulk, or greater part of anything

this means that the masses does have to include everyone. And in this case, masses means the ones that do not understand just how easy and cheap it is to upgrade an OEM PC.

November 29, 2016 | 03:05 AM - Posted by JohnGR

You are trying too hard.

November 30, 2016 | 07:06 PM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

lol, good talk.

August 20, 2017 | 08:45 PM - Posted by PGHammer (not verified)

Why couldn't it? Unless you have an OEM PC that is an AIO (therefore no PCI-E x16 graphics slot at all), even an x16 1.0 or 2.0 graphics slot can accomodate a GTX 1050Ti (it would be bottlenecked a bit by that older slot design; however, it WOULD still work more than well enough to get the job done. (My own build is based around an MSI H81M-E33 motherboard with a PCI-E 2.0 slot - said slot's previous occupant was a refurbished EVGA GTX550Ti - which is only PCI-E 1.0. So I've gone from being bottlenecked by the GPU itself to being bottlenecked by the slot - which bottleneck would be worse? (Here's a clue - it won't be the latter - and it's provable.)

November 28, 2016 | 06:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It would be nice to know cons of having discrete graphics card like:
- spyware in Nvidia drivers
- increase in power consumption during media playback (especially for AMD GPUs)

Any others?

November 30, 2016 | 07:03 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Lol! "Spyware in Nvidia drivers"

Your a moron.

If you're so worried about Spyware, you shouldn't even be on the internet.

Just keep using your on board video.

December 2, 2016 | 01:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I do not necessarily mind Nvidia using their computers to spy on me but I prefer them to not use mine for their needs.
Would you be ok if Nvidia used 1% of your PC? How about 20% or 50%?

March 30, 2017 | 07:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Would you be ok if the company that produced your cpu was using 1% of your pc for "spyware"?

December 5, 2016 | 09:08 PM - Posted by Joseph Burke (not verified)

All video has drivers, even onboard video so your comment is pointless.

April 4, 2017 | 03:58 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

will gtx 1050ti support in a pre-build pc like dell or lenovo?
processor - corei3, 3.40 ghz
ram - 4+2 gb
60 hz 1080p monitor

November 28, 2016 | 06:56 PM - Posted by Mutation666 (not verified)

Was this sponsored content or just a project you wanted to do? Didn't see any references to it on the YT video, but just weird to market only towards Nvidia when you could have show at least RX460 as a comparison (worse value but is more neutral to have both)

December 5, 2016 | 09:17 PM - Posted by Joe Snow (not verified)

It wasn't meant to be a comparison article. The RX 460 would fall on it's face anyway. The point was that the GTX 1050 Ti is the most powerful card that you can buy that stays under 75W and turns a low end PC into a fair gaming rig.The RX 460 just isn't powerful enough to keep up with the 1050 Ti once you start turning the options up. You say that's not fair, I say it saves AMD from unnecessary embarrassment and I'm sitting here using an AMD A10 based machine right now and have two others with R9 cards in them (one of which is a Phenom II x4) and been a longtime AMD user since the Radeon 9500/9700 series and I wouldn't allow an RX 460 in my A10 system. It's just not powerful enough.

November 28, 2016 | 06:57 PM - Posted by superj (not verified)

Good article, a good real world upgrade for the masses.
Minor nitpick... I think both of those processors have 530 graphics (not 520).

August 20, 2017 | 08:57 PM - Posted by PGHammer (not verified)

The one area that is slowing up folks from purchasing more of the GTX1050Ti has nothing to do with the card's performance - I have had one for the past week (replaced a GTX550Ti) and it's got me back into serious gaming (which I didn't think I COULD do with a G3258 as a CPU; said thinking was proven Absolutely Wrong by this GPU); instead, it is price jackups and stock shortfalls caused by increasing use of low and midrange GPUs for cryptocurrency mining. As far as the Intel530, does it support DX12 feature set 12_0 or 11_1? nVidia Maxwell supports the latter, as do Kepler and Fermi, while Maxwell and later from Big Green both support the former, as do AMD's current GPUs. AMD's big issue is that current draw - especially problematical in terms of OEM PCs - the PSUs of such are mostly weaksauce. That means that with most of the AMD GPU contenders, you have to add a PSU to the sticker - in a word - ouch! Most nVidia GTX1050Ti cards require nothing more than what the slot can feed it - even EVGA - still the customer favorite brand of choice, has a grand total of ONE GTX1050Ti that requires the extra power - the top-tier FTW.

November 28, 2016 | 08:27 PM - Posted by Joe Snow (not verified)

I just did this with a Lenovo H50 with AMD A10 CPU. The onboard R7 graphics weren't cutting in some of my games so I had a few options for upgrading. I could try doing a hybrid crossfire with an R7 240 or 250, which wouldn't have been much better. I could try an RX 460 by itself and ignore the onboard video. Better, but still not as fast as a 1050/1050 Ti. I ultimately went with the fastest OC version of the 1050 Ti I could find without an external power connector, which was the Zotac GTX 1050 Ti OC. Be careful when choosing an overclocked version of these cards. Some will require an additional power connector and some won't. If you choose wrong and then open your case to find that your PSU has no additional connectors, doing a return will be a pain. Of course, if your PSU is strong enough and has at least one six-pin connector, then a GTX 1060 or RX 470 would be a better value.

November 28, 2016 | 10:23 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Maybe DX12 explicit multi-adaptor will allow for you to use the GTX 1050 Ti with the omboard r7 graphics. I thought that there was some Bristol Ridge OEM deals at Costco with the A12 APU.

HP Pavilion 510-p127c Desktop for $499.00(maybe cyber monday pricing throug dec 4 2016). So how deos the A12 9800 compare to the core i3.

"AMD AM4-based PC desktop system spotted in Costco"

November 28, 2016 | 10:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

According to HP the integrated GPU can not be used if a graphics card is installed in the PCIe X16 slot. The HP website willow motherboard specs says so, bummer.

November 28, 2016 | 11:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Great article - price to performance is off the scale here.

November 28, 2016 | 11:56 PM - Posted by nomi (not verified)

That Dell system is beautifully built. Although understandable, it's a pity it comes with only one memory stick; I wonder if the lack of dual channel memory access could partíally explain why it lags so far behind the i5 system from Asus in the Dirt Rally test.

Good article, less "high end" stupidity and more of this please.

November 29, 2016 | 01:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Wonder no more. Having a system with 1 stick of RAM is like adding Nvidia GT 730 to the comparison.

November 29, 2016 | 03:09 AM - Posted by JohnGR

Which one? Because Nvidia is selling THREE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CARDS under that "GT 730" model number. Funny that no one has made an article about that, especially considering that everyone gone bananas with the 3GB GTX 1060 having less cores than the 6GB version.

December 1, 2016 | 07:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


November 29, 2016 | 06:21 AM - Posted by Positron (not verified)

I have tried to propose the 'buy a cheap PC and a low-power GPU for the same price' option to people that plan to get a PlayStation or Xbox. Don't bother. People that want consoles will never be swayed to join the PCMR. Logic will not help. You can lead a n00b to PC, but you can't make them game.

November 29, 2016 | 07:21 AM - Posted by gamerk2 (not verified)

For my dads PC (he plays mainly RPGs, some DA3 and Witcher 3 were unplayable) I upgraded a generic HP (had a i7 2600 non-k CPU) with my old 570 GTX. It worked well enough, but the mobo gave up the ghost in under a year.

Similar thing happened to an old Dell I upgraded. Gave up the ghose within a year and a half.

I'm guessing those generic low-quality OEM motherboards really can't handle the strain of even a mid-range gaming GPU for more then a year or so.

November 29, 2016 | 12:25 PM - Posted by CNote

I wonder if it was a weight issue or just burned out

November 30, 2016 | 02:30 PM - Posted by jessterman21 (not verified)

Probably because it was drawing the max wattage out of the PCIe slot when gaming - where the GTX 1050 Ti wouldn't.

December 2, 2016 | 12:35 AM - Posted by Mike B (not verified)

I've been getting that on my Dell i7 860 after installing an overclocked RX 460 that takes no additional power connector. Tolerated a flaky system for 2 months and then no POST. Clearing the BIOS seems to get them back up and running. Reverting to my old GPU helped.

November 29, 2016 | 10:39 AM - Posted by Subsailor

Good article Ryan! Running before/after benchmarks was very revealing to those readers who aren't familiar with the downsides of integrated graphics. Not me of course, I know it all *wink*

November 30, 2016 | 04:11 AM - Posted by Tette (not verified)

I have a Dell Optiplex 7010 SFF, i has a 240W PSU, can i use one of the new MSI 1050/1050Ti in that computer?

November 30, 2016 | 09:10 AM - Posted by Remy (not verified)

The MSI GTX 1050 TI LP might fit in the 7010 SFF.

November 30, 2016 | 10:52 AM - Posted by Tette (not verified)

Yes i will fit mechanically, hopefully my 240w psu can cope... i have a 77w I5-3740... The I5-6500 used in this article is 65W, I will only use one ssd no spinning rust. Hope fully 240w will do.

Have anyone heard of a more powerful psu for Dell SFF cases?

December 13, 2016 | 01:15 PM - Posted by Tette (not verified)

I have tried that, and int works. Reeeeealy thight fit but it fits. Havent tried any other game than World of tanks @ 1080P

November 30, 2016 | 06:30 AM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

Is this supposed to pass as your 1050 Ti review?

November 30, 2016 | 06:22 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

No, not really.

November 30, 2016 | 12:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

would have been nice to see some 1080P high benchmarks.
consoles typically shoot for 1080p +30fps

November 30, 2016 | 03:18 PM - Posted by Lance Ripplinger (not verified)

Thanks Ryan for this article! I agree with you that this type of thing is important to cover. It is truly amazing how far graphics cards have come. To think that someone can have a cheap OEM system, paired with this video card, and able to play modern titles at very good quality settings. This never used to be possible. I wonder how much improvement the 1050Ti is over the venerable 750Ti?

November 30, 2016 | 08:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Was this set to 1GB of VRAM for the iGPU (or whatever the max is)?

Not that it really matters, since even if it was set lower the results would still not be really playable for those titles.

December 1, 2016 | 08:47 PM - Posted by btdog

I love articles like this.

What would have been really interesting is to find that old 750Ti and compare all three, integrated, 750Ti, 1050Ti. I bet the 750Ti would have been closer to the integrated graphics than the 1050Ti.

December 3, 2016 | 11:11 PM - Posted by HERETIC (not verified)

A 2 to 3 year old refurbished dell might have been a more
realistic (and cheaper) option!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 5, 2016 | 03:34 PM - Posted by toptengamer

Really not too terrible though considering it came with windows (speaking of the $429 model). You're in and out for about $560 to $600. That being said I guess I question a little bit the quality of the parts. This $450 RX 470 build I did with the i3 was pretty ok - although seeing the GTX 1050 Ti at $130 lately I wonder if it would have made a better choice in a $400 build as the i3 bottlenecked the 450 in BF1 pretty hard. Thoughts on the i3 and any potential bottlenecks with the 1050 Ti? I saw your benchmarks but the difference didn't seem that big of a deal from the i3 to the i7 in these particular games.

December 13, 2016 | 04:06 AM - Posted by Rick Magee (not verified)

I have an HP Envy (Model h8-1414) that now runs with AMD Radeon HD 7400 Series that doesn't have enough VRAM to run my favorite Assassin Creed games. So I would like to upgrade it with the Geforce GTX 1050 Ti. What's your opinion on it's success?

December 14, 2016 | 09:25 AM - Posted by rickmagee

I have an HP Envy (Model h8-1414) that now runs with AMD Radeon HD 7400 Series that doesn't have enough VRAM to run my favorite Assassin Creed games. So I would like to upgrade it with the Geforce GTX 1050 Ti. What's your opinion on it's success?

December 17, 2016 | 10:53 AM - Posted by btdog

I just replied to your post in the forum and referenced this article. I think you should be good provided the 1050Ti doesn't need a 6-pin connector.

December 21, 2016 | 08:00 PM - Posted by Ned :) (not verified)

Hi, nice article. My question is, Can I put a new card like this into my 5 year old Dell? Let's say all the obvious stuff is OK, like it fits physically, I get the one that doesn't need external power, it's compatible with my monitor connector, etc.

I just want to know, will there be a motherboard compatibility issue between different DDR number levels, 4 vs 2, etc.? Or is the graphics card completely independent?

Thanks, Ned

December 26, 2016 | 10:47 PM - Posted by mg (not verified)

I have the Inspiron 3650 also, and I know it has a M.2 slot, but I can't find out which type it is. I know the bluetooth and WIFI are being run by it now, but I was wondering if I could pop a SSd into it.

January 16, 2017 | 06:35 AM - Posted by Anonymous2017 (not verified)

Ive got an 8 year old Dell Optiplex 755 Mini Tower.

Ive put the Following parts into it, and it is a Beast (for the price)

- Intel Quad Q9650 (3ghz x 4) - £44 ebay
- Zotac MINI GTX 1050 - £115 new
- 6GB DDR2 800Mhz RAM - In Dual channel Pairs - £19 ebay
- 430 Watt ThermalTake PSU - £45

This PC now plays a 2014 game such as Grid Autosport at ULTRA settings at 45fps - 70fps

Bringing a 2008 PC into 2017 very affordably

January 16, 2017 | 06:37 AM - Posted by Anonymous2017 (not verified)

Thats at 1080p with 4x AA

February 12, 2017 | 10:47 AM - Posted by TasmanEight (not verified)

Hi There,

Will MSI GTX 1050 Ti OC PCI-E 3.0 work on my Medion MS-7728 2.0 motherboard PCI-E x16 slot without any problems and having to install new up to-date bios

I have a 5 years old Medion Akoya P5364 E Model No. MD8319, Windows 10 Pro 64, i7 3770 processor 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, nVidia GT530 with a Medion MS-7728 2.0 motherboard!, I want to upgrade the card to a MSI GTX 1050 Ti OC PCi-x16 3 Graphics Card, will it work on my mothereboard without a new bios update, not sure if new bios update is available anymore.

Medion website dose not have a up to-date Bios!.

Please can anybody assist with my query.

Kindest Regards

March 20, 2017 | 06:58 PM - Posted by Daxit Mahendra (not verified)

I have AMD A10 6800k with HD IGPU 8670D. MotherBoard GA-F2A55M-DS2 (rev. 1.2) PSU 240. i am thinking of buying PALIT GEFORCE GTX 1050 TI STORMX, 4GB GDDR5. Is the PSU enough?

April 4, 2017 | 04:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

will gtx 1050ti mini support in a prebuild pc like lenovo h50s?
processor - core i3, 3.40 ghz.
ram - 4+2 gb.
monitor - 1080p, 60 ghz.
help! help! help!

October 27, 2017 | 12:18 PM - Posted by gazukull (not verified)

Great article! Also, where did all the haters come from?

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