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The Inaugural Maxwell Card - NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti (Part 3)

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The Inaugural Maxwell Card - NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti (Part 3)

A Portent Of Things To Come…

The frame buffer is another part of the story though. The GTX 750 Ti is running with a pair of 64-bit memory controllers for a total 128-bit aggregate memory bus to run its 2GB GDDR5 VRAM. That doesn’t seem like much, but on a mainstream part it can be expensive to double the memory controllers in terms of both cost and power. NVIDIA has therefore decided to improve the internal bandwidth. And to make sure the bandwidth of the 128-bit bus isn’t an issue, the GM107 comes with a hefty 2MB of l2 cache. Compared with the GTX 650 Ti’s 384KB of l2 cache that’s quite a jump, and helps to ensure that the VRAM isn’t such a bottleneck.

The GTX 750 Ti is running with a pair of 64-bit memory controllers

All this talk of efficiency and elegant design solutions is one thing, but how does she actually perform in the real world? Well, we might have to start managing expectations for Maxwell – this isn’t a massive leap forward in graphical performance on a card-for-card basis. The GTX 750 Ti performs at around the same sort of levels as the now-retired GTX 650 Ti Boost. In some benchmarks it’s quicker and in some it’s slower, but generally speaking it’s much of a muchness. These are GPUs retailing at similar price points and it’s essentially a like-for-like replacement.

The future’s small

Without any architectural details, it would be easy to see the benchmarking data and conclude that NVIDIA has been following AMD’s rebrandathon approach to ‘new’ GPUs. If you were just looking at the frame rates, then you might conclude that it was just a GTX 650 Ti Boost with a new sticker.

GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Specifications

It is clearly different, though, when you look at the board itself, the temperatures it hits under load and at the amount of power it’s drawing out of the wall. For a start, this board is tiny – NVIDIA is confident we’ll see some half-height designs – and because it also draws all the power it needs from the PCIE bus, it doesn’t need any external power connectors.

That’s exciting because it means that those poor folk who are sitting on some plain ol’ Pc without the sort of PSU that doesn’t have the capacity or PCIE connector to spare for a modern graphics card now have an upgrade path. The GTX 750 Ti will happily potter along at over 30fps in most modern games at the highest 1080p settings. That means you can drop the settings down a notch and get great gaming performance. Some of the minimum frame rate numbers aren’t looking too healthy, but that could be a result of immature drivers for what is a brand new GPU architecture.

The GTX 750 Ti will happily potter along at over 30fps
in most modern games at the highest 1080p settings.

This all bodes well for the future of the 20nm, second generation Maxwell GPUs that will form the vanguard of the GTX 800 series. If the GTX 680 was an impressively efficient top-end card at the time, then the GTX 880 ought to be something rather cool, quiet and powerful. We’re also hoping for some svelte single-slot 8800Gt tribute acts too.

 

 

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