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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti Review: 1080p Gaming without a Power Connector
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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
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by Rob Williams on February 24, 2014 in NVIDIA-Based GPU

It’s often hard to get excited about a new $149 graphics card, but NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 750 Ti becomes one of the rare exceptions. For starters, it doesn’t require a power connector, and it has half the TDP requirement of its nearest competitor – all despite promised performance improvements. What more can be said? Read on!

Introduction

I’ve said it before, but it needs to be said again: AMD and NVIDIA are all about impeccable timing. A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from AMD telling me about its upcoming R7 265, which was set to replace the $150 Radeon R7 260X.

The reason for that model’s sudden existence became clear the following day when I received NVIDIA’s new $150 GeForce GTX 750 Ti in the post. Coincidence? Yep – sure.

Based on the introduction of these cards, it’s clear that both are going to compete well against each other – a point further proven by the fact that our results later will in fact show that the 750 Ti is a bit faster than the R7 260X.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti - Overview

I don’t have an R7 265 here to use for the sake of comparison, but at this point, I’m not sure it matters. As of the time of writing, I haven’t been able to find the model on sale anywhere, and we’re nearing the two-week mark from when the card’s embargo lifted. Meanwhile, NVIDIA’s 750 Ti appeared at e-tail not long after its announcement.

The situation surrounding the R7 265 stings a bit, because when I took at look at the R7 260 back in December, I wasn’t told that the card would be unavailable on these shores – but that happens to be the case. Why would I take a look at a graphics card that isn’t available to most of our audience? I wouldn’t – it’d be nonsensical. So now I’m wondering if we’ll see the same thing happen with the R7 265.

Nonetheless – let’s move onto less-aggravating matters, shall we?

NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 750 Ti is being targeted at those who are running lower-end GeForces more than a generation old, such as the 550 Ti. In that comparison, NVIDIA touts its latest card as being 120% faster, and while that’s impressive in itself, moreso to me is the fact that it’s more than twice as fast at half the power draw. The 750 Ti is spec’d at 60W, whereas the 550 Ti was spec’d at 116W. The Radeon R7 260X, which was just $149 as mentioned above, is spec’d at 115W.

As simple as the 750 Ti appears to be on paper, it’s become one of the most-impressive graphics cards I’ve taken a look at in some time. Thanks to its 60W power requirement, it doesn’t require a power connector. That means those who own restrictive OEM PCs don’t need to fuss about not having an available power connector, and those that do have one can simply enjoy the fact that the 750 Ti is laughing at it.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti - Reference Cooler

On the topic of laughing, that was the reaction I had when I first received the 750 Ti and took it out of its box. “Ti”, to me, suggests a beefier-than-normal graphics card, but just look at this. I had figured NVIDIA sent me over an unannounced GeForce GT 720 by accident. But no. We might be looking at a simple card here, but it’s not so simple when put into action.

The reason the 750 Ti’s cooler is so simple is that it’s all that’s needed. This strikes me as humorous because this cooler design cannot be purchased; instead, vendors like EVGA, ASUS, ZOTAC and so forth all offer much beefier-looking coolers, which will seem a little odd given this simple reference cooler prevented the card from exceeding 66°C during our stress-test.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti - Video Connectors

The reference 750 Ti includes dual DVI ports along with a mini-HDMI, but that doesn’t matter too much: As always, vendors can pick and choose what to include. One ASUS model, for example, offers dual DVI ports, a regular-sized HDMI port, and VGA.

NVIDIA GeForce Series Cores Core MHz Memory Mem MHz Mem Bus TDP
GeForce GTX Titan Black 2880 889 6144MB 7000 384-bit 250W
GeForce GTX Titan 2688 837 6144MB 6008 384-bit 250W
GeForce GTX 780 Ti 2880 875 3072MB 7000 384-bit 250W
GeForce GTX 780 2304 863 3072MB 6008 384-bit 250W
GeForce GTX 770 1536 1046 2048MB 7010 256-bit 230W
GeForce GTX 760 1152 980 2048MB 6008 256-bit 170W
GeForce GTX 750 Ti 640 1020 2048MB 5400 128-bit 60W
GeForce GTX 750 512 1020 2048MB 5000 128-bit 55W
GeForce GTX 660 960 980 2048MB 6000 192-bit 140W
GeForce GTX 650 384 1058 1024MB 5000 128-bit 64W

NVIDIA might be focusing on the GTX 750 Ti at the moment, but it’s also launched a non-Ti model as well. As seen in the chart above, that card has 20% of the cores cut, and 100MHz taken off of the memory clock. These small changes decrease the card’s cost from $150 to about $120.

As mentioned above, I don’t have an R7 265 to compare the 750 Ti to, which is unfortunate since it’s a direct match-up. But as also mentioned, that card remains unavailable for purchase, so for our testing, I’m instead going to compare it to the previous $150 AMD card, the Radeon R7 260X (which is now available for $120).

Onward we go.


  • Casecutter

    Rob, very nice write-up. Nice to see the “playable setting” something l’d like to see more at this level of card. Also I’ve never seen a review state the “Vendor Favoritism” to what group (AMD/Nvidia) that assisted in backing the release… kudos! One thing, I know this reasons you work from the i7 (and OC’d), but I believe it should be stated that those Max settings results, especially when it comes to minimum frames from either card would in actuality take a notable hit, to in some cases not offer playable results. Most buying this level card at top would mean working from some i5-4440 at minimum, while plenty of older i3 and Phenom II X4 like 945 Deneb 3.0GHz.

    As to power I’m surprised that the power delta under load wasn’t more, I mean it’s really only 10-12% difference. It’s good but IDK, considering the R7 260X gives you ZeroCore, which in today’s world when most “sleep” their computer that 3-5W drop over days will adds up… more than the 10% when gaming a few times a week.

    Another is the fact that the basic versions that held the $150 price point have evaporated (some say “sold-out” but either way I’d see them as a rare birds anymore) and now all that out ther are the AIB customs with as you put it the “beefier-looking coolers”. The problem with that is Newegg is pricing them at $170-180 now. Sure that perhaps the new-ness factor, let’s hope that price is tempered a little over the next few weeks. Heck with Nvidia work from a 7% smaller die they should be able to be more value oriented than the R7 260X, which today is like $120-130 even one at $110 working a $20 rebate. That 40% difference pays for a lot of electricity.

    Here my thinking you be better off dumping the old and most likely inefficient 300W (or less) PSU for something like the Corsair CX430M 80+ Bronze Modular Active PFC PSU that $30 –AR$20. Then if really entry gaming like a young teen a 260X is acceptable; want really more often higher settings/some AA see about a R7 265 or a good deal on a GTX660. If spending $170 to comprise on power as not buying as PSU is throwing good money after bad. This 750Ti is most sensible if building a HTPC, but it falls a little short on price for any gaming machine/upgrade.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      Thanks for the detailed comment, once again!

      “kudos”

      You deserve the kudos for actually noticing :-)

      “I know this reasons you work from the i7 (and OC’d)”

      I agree. I’ll add a note to the page soon about that, and keep that mention there in future content. I’ve been questioned about the decision to use high-end gear like that, but at the end of the day, the goal is to rid all bottlenecks (as it seems you are completely aware). I actually think we’re reaching a time where the CPU can be more of a bottleneck to a game than some people give credit, so it sounds like the premise for an article down the road.

      “As to power I’m surprised that the power delta under load wasn’t more”

      You’re not alone; basic logic would suggest that with the 260X being a 115W TDP card, and the 750 Ti a 60W one, we’d see more than a 31W delta, but not so. The reason could be that the reported TDPs are inaccurate, or there’s simply something else at play. Admittedly, I report the maximum value spotted during testing (twice over to verify), so we might very well see larger deltas if I were to record the wattage-over-time from a real-world game, and not a benchmark. Of course this would be in a perfect world; in my world I have a Kill-a-Watt.

      “Another is the fact that the basic versions that held the $150 price point have evaporated ”

      Ahh, fantastic =/ I looked at EVGA’s site and all of them have changed to “Auto-notify”. I’ll check with NVIDIA to see if I can get a reason for it, and see if a solution is en route, but I expect them to play coy as usual.

      With AMD’s inflation and now this, the GPU market has truly been put into a blender lately.

      I like your analysis at the end. It’s kind of frustrating just how much constant research people have to do to find the perfect GPU… things seem to change on a daily basis. When this article was pubbed, a $150 Ti was great; things are skewed when it becomes $180. Granted, the cards I see at Newegg are all overclocked, but even so… why on earth would there be stock of those and not the regular variants? Honestly, I find it odd that there’s OC variants of such a card at all… at $150 it’s already a bit overpriced; it just happens to offer unparalleled power consumption which helps negate that premium.

  • Casecutter

    Here’s how I see this, the 750Ti is what comprises the “entry, no 6-pin, plug-n-play market”; no different than the 5670 was back in beginning of 2010… so 4 years ago. Similar for that time 1680x was resolution of the day for the category, the 5670 could give you most titles on medium settings, but at that time it was a $75-80 upgrade with 1Gb GDDR5. In four years it’s at minimum 100% increase, that doesn’t fly!

    Against the 650Ti which MSRP for $150 I suppose it seems good, but that was overtly priced, as that used a 221mm die. Sure it was hard for Nvidia to get that down much more, but now it’s like 33% smaller and can’t provide some relief?

    If we look at what PC Perspective learned in their Upgrade Story we find that they couldn’t or didn’t feel they could provide the best graphic/playable experience most often with low settings, although Grid and Syrim provide medium that was with the best OEM box, a Core Gateway DX4885 with a i5-4440. I think working from that i5 machine or a Phenom II X4 like 945 Deneb 3.0GHz set-ups, and use a R7 250/7750 (no 6-pin), the R7 260X, and then find the best playable. I don’t consider the experience that comes across on the screen any much different between R7 250 and a GTX750Ti, while I’d say the GTX750Ti / R7 260X would basically spar with same settings and FpS. The difference the R7 260X leaves money for a nice Bronze+ PSU and Zerocore. If two twin machines… slept, browsed, and gamed identically over a month what either Kill-a-Watt record as total power used? That’s the story…

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      You certainly remember things are lot better than I do; I curse my horrible memory sometimes. Once a new series comes out I quickly forget about the one before it.

      “Sure it was hard for Nvidia to get that down much more, but now it’s like 33% smaller and can’t provide some relief?”

      I think this comes back to the “Because it can” scenario, where it doesn’t feel compelled to lower its prices because people are paying what it’s asking. It’s better for the bottom-line, after all, to not discount prices when it’s not needed. Unfortunately, such a stance should prove to be a great thing for AMD, it not for the inflation issues. Once those pass, I’m sure NVIDIA will become price-competitive once again out of nowhere, as if nothing happened.

      I hadn’t heard about that PC Per article until now; it’s quite a good angle to tackle a card like this from. Given the way Ryan tested the systems, it’s pretty hard to compare his results to mine. That Gateway machine packs a pretty decent modern Intel quad-core (3.0GHz) with 8GB of 1600 RAM, so that to me shouldn’t prove to be too much of a bottleneck. But despite that, Crysis 3 was benchmarked @ Low, whereas I found Medium to be playable, and likewise, GRID 2 was tested at Medium, whereas I found it to be completely playable with almost maxed-out settings.

      Ryan might have been stuck between a rock and a hard place though, choosing presets that could be run across each setting. I’m not sure that gives the consumer a great idea of what the card could do when manual tweaking is involved, though. The problem with using presets is that certain settings can be applied that can cripple a game. In the case of a game like GRID 2, Ambient Occlusion and Global Illumination are sme real killers; so which would you prefer? GRID 2 @ Medium, or nearly max with 4xAA + GI/AO disabled? The same could be said for Crysis 3; I found Medium to be playable when Water, Shadows were put to Low and AA was disabled, while Ryan chose the Low preset.

      Either way, I don’t have those systems so I can’t claim that the Best Playable I found for this card would carry over perfectly to even that Gateway rig with ample Intel quad-core. It’s an interesting look, nonetheless.