The GTX 750 Ti arrives as Energy-efficient 28nm Maxwell
Last week, AMD paper-launched the $149 R7 265 video card to increase the performance in their lineup between the $109 to $129 overclocked HD 7770s/7790/R7 260 models and the $199 and up R7 270X models. Today, Nvidia is releasing its own “sweet-spot” $149 GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB based on its own entry-level “GM107” 28nm (first generation) Maxwell DX11 architecture. Immediately, Nvidia’s partners will also begin shipping overclocked and reference GTX 750 Ti’s as well as a $139 1GB GeForce GTX 750 Ti version.
Nvidia is also releasing a more basic $119 1GB GTX 750 to compete on price directly with the entry-level AMD cards that will no doubt be popular with OEMs as its TDP is below 60W. There is also a third Nvidia GTX released today, the new Kepler 2880 CUDA core TITAN Black which is basically a GTX 780 Ti with Double Precision (DP) and 6GB of vRAM to replace the original GTX TITAN for $1000.
Maxwell Architecture and Power Efficiency
We are going to give our full attention today to the new Maxwell architecture and to dissecting the performance of the 60W TDP $149 2GB GTX 750 Ti using 21 modern games at 1920×1080 and even at 2560×1600. After we saw Nvidia’s suggestion that the new card is somewhat comparable to a GTX 480, we are going to compare the GTX 750 Ti’s stock and overclocked performance at 60W TDP with the 240W TDP GTX 480. The GTX 480 is Nvidia’s Fermi flagship of less than 4 years ago. We are also going to look at price to performance as we compare the (at launch) $149 GTX 650 Ti which the GTX 750 Ti replaces, and also against competing AMD cards.
Look to the next page for a more detailed look at Maxwell architecture and its refinements over Kepler. What is important to realize is that the GM107 GTX 750 Ti is a more powerful GPU than the $149 GK106 GTX 650 Ti that it replaces, but it only requires about half the power and a little more than 25% more die area on the same 28nm process. A GTX 750 Ti does not require more power than what a standard 75W PCIe rail can provide – no external power cable is needed!
The main point to consider is that AMD has already refreshed their low end and there is very little power savings while Nvidia has just positioned new architecture that uses nearly half the power to provide similar performance. This also means that many OEM PCs that use a 300W PSU can now be easily upgraded with a decent video card to play at 1920×1080. An overclocked GTX 750 Ti can now fit inside the power envelope of a much weaker GT 640 or a HD 7750. And it is worlds better performance-wise than any integrated graphics for playing modern games.
Pricing and Product stack
The GTX 650 Ti (GK106) which launched at $149 has today been replaced by the (GM107) $139/$149 1GB/2GB GTX 750 Ti to go against the newly repriced $129 R7 260X. The soon-to-be-released to market, $149 R7 265 will either be positioned against the GTX 750 Ti if it can hold its price, or against the GTX 660 if it becomes popular for Altcoin crypto-currency mining.
The GTX 650 (GK107) will continue to hold the low end against the HD 7770/7790/R7 260/250.
- $109-129 – GeForce GTX 650 (positioned vs. HD 7770/250)
- $139 – GeForce GTX 750 Ti 1GB(positioned vs. HD 7770 GHz OC editions and HD 7790/R7 260)
- $149 – GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB (positioned vs. R7 260X and R7 265)
- $179-$199 – GeForce GTX 660 (positioned vs. overclocked HD 7850/R7 265 & R7 270)
- $249 – GeForce GTX 760 (positioned vs. HD 7870/R7 270X now)
AMD Pricing and Crypto-currency mining
It is possible that there may be issues with AMD’s being able to hold pricing on the R7 265 at $149 since it is basically either a faster Pitcarin HD 7850-2GB or a cut down R9 270 which already commands a premium and sells for up to $200 at US etailers due to its ability to mine alternate crypto-currency like LiteCoin. The R7 265 also has a board power of 150W, well above the 60W of the GTX 750 Ti so only price and performance may be considered.
The R7 260X is not a desired mining card in about the same performance class as an overclocked HD 7790, and it has already had its price adjusted downward to around $129 at Newegg while the overclocked HD 7770s and HD 7790s still sit in the $110-120 range along with the 260-nonX We recommended the PowerColor R9 270X which launched originally at $199 as a good value, while now it easily commands a $40-100 price premium due to its popularity as a miner and due to the demand for mining cards. Because of mining demands, the R9 270X is in the same $250 price range as the faster GTX 760.
We haven’t yet tested Maxwell architecture for crypto-mining, but SiSoft’s latest Sandra “GPGPU Crypto” benchmark indicates that Maxwell scores far higher than Kepler, perhaps due to more registers per SM.
The GTX 750 Ti Under NDA
We received a reference GTX 750 Ti video card from Nvidia under NDA, and for the past week, we have been comparing it to the Sapphire factory overclocked Vapor-X HD 7770, as well as to Nvidia’s last generation, the GTX 650 Ti which it replaces, and to AMD’s faster and more expensive ($200 plus) R7 270X. We will also compare the new GTX 750 Ti to the GTX 480 to get an overall idea of the new GTX 750 Ti performance stock and overclocked compared with the Fermi flagship of less than 4 years ago. And of course, we will try to give ABT’s “Big Picture” which will place the GTX 750 Ti into a performance hierarchy all the way up to the R9 290X and the GTX 780 Ti.
We will use our Core i7-4770K at 4.0GHz which equalizes very well to our previous Ivy Bridge benches with Core i7-3770K at 4.5GHz. We use 4x2GB of super-fast Kingston HyperX “Predator” DDR3 at 2800MHz in an ECS flagship Z87 “Golden” motherboard.
Let’s look at the architecture of Maxwell in greater detail before we run the benches: