Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti

3/20/2014 2:41:42 AM

Nvidia’s new Maxwell architecture makes its debut

For the first time, Nvidia is launching a new GPU architecture in a mass-market product, rather than a top-end one. The GTX 750 Ti costs $179.23, a fraction more than the Radeon R7 260X and $33.19-41.19 less than the GTX 660 and R9 270. Along with the GTX 750, it replaces the GTX 650 Ti and GTX 650 Ti Boost in the GeForce product stack.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti

The new GPU, GM107, was designed with mobile products in mind, and performance per watt is Maxwell’s big selling point. The card has a TDP of just 60W, compared to 115W on AMD’s R7 260X, which requires a 6-pin PCI-E power connection, while the GTX 750 Ti is powered by the PCI-E slot alone.

Maxwell is (for now) manufactured on the same 28nm process as current Kepler cards, so other methods were needed to boost efficiency. Fundamentally, Maxwell still relies on Graphics Processing Clusters (GPCs) divided into Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs), but the SMs have been redesigned.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti

In Maxwell, SMs contain 128 stream processors, compared to 192 in Kepler. Previously, all the stream processors were shared between a large and complex array of schedulers and dispatch units. Now, however, they’re divided into four processing blocks of 32 each, and each block has its own dedicated dispatch and scheduling hardware. This division allows for smaller and simpler scheduling hardware, which decreases power consumption.

These scheduling improvements, coupled with the simpler, more parallel power-of-two layout, improves workload balancing and core utilisation, so cores spend less time doing nothing but drawing power. There are also more instructions issued per clock, and fewer stalls in the pipeline, and Nvidia claims that a Maxwell SM offers around 90 per cent of the performance of the Kepler one, despite consuming less power, being significantly smaller and having a third of the stream processors.

The L2 cache size has dramatically increased too. Even in the tiny GM107 chip, it’s 2MB in size, which is even larger than that of the GK110 GPU in the GTX 780 Ti. This boosts efficiency by reducing calls to the main video memory. The GPU has two 64-bit memory controllers connected to 2GB of GDDR5 memory, which is clocked at 5.4GHz (effective) for a memory bandwidth of 86.4GB/sec. Core clock speed, meanwhile, is at 1,020MHz, and Boost 2 is also supported. A boost clock of 1,085MHz is quoted, but ours stayed at 1,150MHz under load Nvidia’s tiny reference card has a basic cooler on the right-hand side, which effectively makes it a dual-slot card, but there’s only a single-slot backplate, meaning that we could see true single-slot third-party cards. The card doesn’t support SLI, however, so you won’t find a bridge for it.


Fortunately,  Nvidia’s G-Sync technology is supported, provided you opt for a card with a DisplayPort output. Finally, the on-board video encoder and decoder (which comes with its own efficiency improvements), brings support for ShadowPlay and streaming to Nvidia Shield.


In our standard 1080p tests, the GTX 750 Ti achieves minimum frame rates of 22fps in Battlefield 4 and 23fps in Crysis 3, which aren’t playable. However, dropping these demanding games to their next best presets enables the GTX 750 Ti to achieve smoother and playable minimums of 35fps and 34fps respectively, with minimal sacrifices to visual quality. In Battlefield 4, this results in performance on a par with the R7 260X, but in Crysis 3, it’s enough to be noticeably smoother than both the R7 260X and GTX 650 Ti, which can’t maintain 30fps.

BioShock Infinite and Skyrim are easier to run, and the GTX 750 Ti manages smooth frame rates at the best possible settings at 1080p. Each of the four cards tested is able to do the same, but the GTX 750 Ti excels in BioShock Infinite, where it’s 25 per cent quicker than the R7 260X.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti


We hit the highest core clock speed possible in EVGA Precision X when overclocking – 1,155MHz. Under load, the card consistently boosted to an incredible 1,285MHz. We also overclocked the memory by 22 per cent to 1.65GHz (6.6GHz effective). These are fantastic overclocks given the reliance on PCI-E power. At these frequencies, the card surpasses the GTX 660 in BioShock Infinite and maintains borderline playable frame rates using Very High settings in Crysis 3.

The power consumption figures really put everything into perspective. The GTX 750 Ti has the lowest overall system power consumption, and is especially strong against the R7 260X, which consumes 50W more, despite producing slower frame rates in every benchmark. Better yet, it’s even more efficient when overclocked, as performance increases far more than power consumption. The card’s efficiency benefits it elsewhere too – even with its no-thrills cooler, it remained cool and very quiet throughout testing.


The GeForce GTX 750 Ti isn’t the most exciting GPU in terms of gaming performance, but you can still expect to play modern games at 1080p with High settings, which isn’t bad for just $179.23 inc VAT, although of course, it limits future proofing too. It’s price/performance ratio is decent enough, but if you can afford it, the R9 270X will perform better, giving you enough headroom to push all your games to their maximum settings at 1080p.

Maximum settings aside, however, the GeForce GTX 750 Ti is easily the fastest card available that doesn’t require an external PCI-E power connector, and would therefore make a fantastic upgrade for an aging off-the-shelf PC, or an ultra-small form factor build, without needing to worry about power draw,. We’re now eagerly waiting to see what the rest of the Maxwell parts have in store.


·         Graphics processor Nvidia: GeForce GTX 750 Tl, 1,020MHz (boosting to 1,085 MHz)

·         Pipeline: 640 stream processors, 16 ROPs

·         Memory: 2GB GDDR5, 5.4 GHz effective

·         Bandwidth: 86.4GB/sec

·         Compatibility: DirectX11.2, OpenGL 4.4

·         Outputs/Inputs: DVI-I, DVI-D, mini-HDMI

·         Power connections : None

·         Size: 147mm long, dual-slot


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