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The GTX 1030 & 1040: The Average Joes are Coming


Itís easy to forget that the bulk of people who buy a GPU, either directly or as part of a system, do not buy something like the GTX 1080 Ti. In fact, most people donít buy ďmid rangeĒ cards like the GTX 1060 either. They are simply too expensive and certainly overkill for the use cases of even most professionals who might be working on more GPU-centric jobs rather than GPU rendering or VR applications.

That doesnít mean we want our affordable GPUs to suck. They might not have to push 4K graphics with incredible AA levels at 100+ frames per second, but we still want them to handle graphics smoothly and allow high-definition video and desktop graphics to work flawlessly.

The Last of the Tens
The Geforce 10-series has been a huge hit for Nvidia. It has provided us with a series of GPUs that give amazing performance levels in exchange for reasonable prices and very little electricity. Itís not an exaggeration to say that these chips have revolutionized laptop graphics, which no longer has to play second fiddle to the desktop anymore.

We have the mid-range GTX 1050 Ti, which is the most-affordable VR-certified GPU and can be picked up for $140 or most often even less. Itís fuelled a whole new generation of mid-range gaming laptops and workstations that donít suck or cost a fortune.

But for a long time there has been nothing under that price cap (apart from the $110 non-Ti 1050) for people who do not want to spend more than $100 on a GPU.

Finally that has changed. The GTX 1030 has been released, with reviews and benchmarks showing up back in July already.

It also has a rumoured bigger brother called the 1040, but everything we know about this card comes from rumours and a possible information leak.

So letís have a look at the card we basically know everything about and then another card that night not even exist.

The GTX 1030 - Budget King?
The GTX 1030 is a Pacal GPU with 384 CUDA cores running at 1468 boost speeds. It has 2GB of 3Ghz RAM in the OEM configuration and supports resolutions of up to 7680x4320 at 60Hz.

It doesnít need external power from your PSU. It only needs a tiny 30W sip of power, which means that even computers with 300W PSUs can easily accommodate one. Itís a 2-slot card as standard, thatís less than seven inches long. So a potential darling of media center users as well.

Itís not a cut-down GPU either. This is new 14nm silicon called the GP108. A tiny 70 square millimeter chip.

It has a similar core count as the older and very popular GTX 750, so we expected it to beat that card. Based on benchmarks by Tomís hardware that was just wishful thinking. The GTX 1030 is somehow significantly slower than the 750 Ti.

Bad news? Well, although the card is slower than the 750 Ti, in practical terms game performance is almost the same. So this is is an entry-level card that manages to play new titles such as Battlefield 1 and Doom 2016 at very playable framerates. It also beats out the 750 in terms of power, noise and of course API features. This is after all a DX12 card.

One thing worth mentioning is that the GTX 1030 is clearly tuned to run eSports titles such as League of Legends and CS:GO with great performance. So we expects a lot of kids will be buying these cards. That level of horsepower also makes the card perfect for entry-level CAD machines or video editing systems.

The GTX 1040 - Is It Even Real?
Thereís no official word of the card that should sit between the 1030 and the 1050. As far as Nvidia is concerned, there is no 1040 and they have no plans to make one.

Except in late August a Polish online store accidentally posted a product listing of a new Lenovo laptop sporting the 1040, according to Liliputing.

If we assume that the 1040 is a real card, then it's hard to guess exactly how it will perform. After all the gap between the 1030 and 1050 isnít all that big. However, the 1030 isnít as fast as the GTX 750. Which means that the 1040 could be the modern product that fills the gap currently held by the 750.