Should you buy a laptop with Nvidia’s 1050, or possibly save some money with the older 970m graphics? I’m going to benchmark two laptops in a number of games to see the performance differences between them to help you decide if it’s worth getting the newer 1050.
I’ve previously compared the 970m against the 1050 Ti and found that they were fairly close together with the 1050 Ti coming out ahead, and as I’ve previously compared the 1050 with the 1050 Ti I was interested to see how the 970m compares with the 1050. The two laptops that I’m testing here are fairly similar in terms of specs, but there are some important differences. Firstly the laptop with the 970M has an older 6700HQ CPU, while the laptop with the 1050 has the newer 7700HQ.
I’ve previously compared these two CPUs, and although I noted that the difference wasn’t much, there is a difference so some of the performance difference here will be due to this, so keep that in mind. Both laptops also have 16GB of DDR4 memory, but the 970M laptop runs at 2,133MHz, while the 7700HQ runs at 2,400MHz, so again a small difference to be aware of. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to get any more similar laptops, so this is the best I can do, and in most of these games at higher settings the CPU isn’t the bottleneck anyway so this should still allow us to see the performance differences between the two graphics cards.
The final main difference between the two laptops is of course that one is running an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, while the other laptop has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970m from the previous generation. The specs between these two graphics cards are slightly different, and we can see here that the 1050 has less cuda cores but with higher base and boost clock speeds, and more memory. With that in mind let’s take a look at our benchmarks and find out how each of these cards perform! We’ll cover both real world gaming benchmarks, as well as the results of some benchmarking tools.
All games were tested with a 1080p resolution using all available setting presets, no manual overclocking was performed for any of these tests, and G-Sync was disabled. Rise of the Tomb Raider was tested using Direct X 12, and the 970M is performing around 18% better than the 1050 over all tests using the built in benchmark tool. Watchdogs 2 is a fairly resource intensive game, and in my opinion doesn’t really need a high frame rate to enjoy, I think at high settings or lower the game runs well enough, and over all tests the 970M is running 16% better than the 1050.
In the Witcher 3 there’s the smallest difference out of all games tested at just over 1% of an improvement with the 970m, there’s really not much of a difference at all in this game. On the other end of the spectrum PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was tested with the latest 1.0 version using the replay feature. There’s a much larger difference between the two here, I’ve also noticed this in my other comparisons too, and in any case the performance can vary quite a lot based on what’s going on in game, so take these results with a grain of salt. Ghost Recon is another resource intensive game, and probably not something I’d want to play on either option, although the 970M is providing a 16% performance boost, and the only option able to average over 60 FPS, although only at the lowest setting.
Shadow of War with the built in benchmark didn’t show too much of a difference at all setting levels, with the 970M running around 6% better than the 1050, with low settings required to get 60 FPS on either option. Battlefield 1 is running fairly well at all setting levels, I found it fairly playable even at higher settings on both options, and we’re seeing an 18% boost to performance with the 970M over the 1050. Finally Doom is another game that usually performs pretty well regardless of graphics power, and again I didn’t have any issues even at higher settings, and we’re seeing a 12% increase using the 970M over the 1050. (Review Nvidia 1050 Ti vs 1060 Max-Q)
Before we get into the benchmarking tools I’ll just quickly note that so far the performance improvement over the games tested is a 18.6% increase for the 970M, not too bad. Although many of these games aren’t what you’d typically play on these graphics cards, they’re what I had available at the time and should still show you the performance difference between the two in terms of an overall percentage.
Now onto the benchmarking tools, and while usually these results generally show a much bigger difference than we see in games, we’re actually seeing lower increases than in the gaming tests. First we’ll check the Unigine benchmarks. Heaven benchmark shows a similar increase to what we saw in the games, while the valley benchmark results are much closer together, and here are the results from the newer superposition benchmark with the 1080p tests.
Finally I’ve tested the Fire Strike benchmark from 3DMark, which showed a similar increase. On average from these benchmark tools the 970M is performing 14% better than the 1050 (review 970M vs 1060), a smaller difference compared to the real world gaming tests, which is the first time I’ve ever had this in one of my comparisons, which makes me wonder if there’s something between the two generations graphics causing it. When we combine both the gaming and benchmark tool results we get a 17% percent improvement with 970M over the 1050. Overall I don’t think the results are that surprising, there’s a nice little performance boost with the 970M despite it being from the last generation.
Although the 1050 does a fairly good job for a lower end card, the 970M isn’t really a low end option from last generation, so if anything I think it helps outline how much of an improvement Nvidia’s 10 series was. If you’re picking between the 970M or 1050 for your next laptop, the 970M does perform better, and as it will likely only be available in older laptops, you might be able to get some good deals and save some money. Also sorry for not including more less demanding games, I started testing with more of these recently but I’d already sent the 1050 laptop back a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t able to include them, I get that you probably wouldn’t run many of these games on these graphics cards, but I think this still gives you an idea of the performance differences to expect.
I hope that these benchmarks have shown you the real world differences in performance between the Nvidia 1050 and older 970M laptop graphics cards, and helped you choose between them.
Let me know down in the comments which graphics card you’d prefer in your laptop and why, and leave a share the post if you found the information useful.