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NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Review

ccokeman    -   February 18, 2014
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NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Conclusion:

As a new low power consuming product targeted at the user rocking a computer that is absent a discrete video card, the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 are perfect upgrades for that user base. You know the ones I am talking about; the ones who pick up that $400 special buy at any one of the big box retailers that come equipped with the latest integrated graphics solution that touts a great gaming experience. We know it's not true, but what can you do? In the past dropping in a low power overhead discrete graphics card really did not do a lot for gaming if you wanted to use anything higher than low to medium settings at resolutions below 1080p. The GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 solve that problem and more. No longer do you have to buy both a power supply and discrete video card to get to the 1080p gaming promised land.

This first offering of NVIDIA's 28nm Maxwell architecture features a low TDP of less than 75 watts. What this means for the consumer is that an external power connection is no longer needed when upgrading the video card, essentially saving what can add up to a considerable additional expense. The small size of the reference GTX 750 Ti shows that yes, good things do come in small packages when it comes to the sub-$150 segment of the market. This miniature size is perfect for use in small form factor builds where a traditional discrete card would not have been an option.

When you look at the performance delivered in-game, the GTX 750 Ti and MSI GTX 750 Gaming have trouble when pushing the settings to levels cards such as the GTX 760 and R9 270 can run at over 30 FPS. However, when you use NVIDIA's GeForce Experience application to tune the settings, both cards deliver great visual quality at greater than 30 FPS. Pretty impressive when you think about it, as you should see a 2x boost in gaming performance over the previous generation GTX 650 Ti.

Boosting performance even further is possible by overclocking the core and memory speeds. Both the reference card and MSI's factory overclocked GTX 750 Gaming offered up robust overclocking on both the CPU and memory bus. NVIDIA's GTX 750 Ti maxed out the core clock speed on each of the overclocking utilities I tried, reaching a 1286MHz boost clock speed. MSI's GTX 750 Gaming was even more impressive, hitting 1353MHz on the core. Literally the highest clock speed I have seen on any of the cards I have looked at to date. Memory overclocking was equally as robust on both the reference GTX 750 Ti and the MSI GTX 750 Gaming, reaching speeds of 1677MHz on the reference card and 1510MHz on the GTX 750 Gaming. Pretty impressive again, I would have to say.

Overclocking adds heat to the equation and can be a limiting factor in the ultimate clock speed if not adequately managed. NVIDIA did its work here with a core that really stays cool even with what amounts to a heat sink smaller than what Intel ships with its current processors. It's small yet effective at what it does. Looking at the results delivered by the Twin Frozr cooling on the MSI GTX 750 Gaming shows that the thermal load is easily dissipated when using a robust cooling solution. A 39 °C result was wholly unexpected from the MSI GTX 750 Gaming, but the pair just work well together.

The reference card does not feature the robust improvements in the PCB and component selection we see with MSI's offering. MSI includes all the goodies with this card as it does with its entire product stack. Military Class IV construction using Super Ferrite chokes, Solid Caps, and Tantalum filled Hi-c capacitors that meet MIL-STD-810G. MSI equips the GTX 750 Gaming with its Twin Frozr cooling to round out the feature set to provide a card that will run quieter, more efficiently, and cooler long term.

Ultimately at this point in time what you get when you buy an NVIDIA discrete video card is an ecosystem of features targeted at the gamer. G-Sync is a new technology that synchronizes the frame rate of the monitor and graphics card for improved image quality, eliminating tearing and stuttering. As the monitors mature, the GTX 750 will support its use when equipped with a DisplayPort 1.2 port on the card. NVIDIA GameWorks is a team of 300 engineers that work with game developers to implement and innovate the technologies we enjoy in the latest games. ShadowPlay was introduced with the Kepler line to take advantage of the built in H.264 encoder.

Now with Maxwell and the GTX 750 and GTX 750 Ti, we get a new NVENC block that delivers faster encode "(6-8X real-time for H.264 vs. 4x real-time for Kepler) and 8-10X faster decode" to ensure that when using ShadowPlay to record that last 20 minutes of intense gaming there will be little hardware overhead since it does not use the GPU's CUDA cores. You can use GameStream to stream your games to an NVIDIA SHIELD. It's not just a video card any longer.

Overall I have to say that this latest offering hits the mark with a target price of $149 for the GTX 750 Ti 2GB, with a 1GB card to be offered later this month at $139. The GTX 750 will list a target price of $119. MSI's GTX 750 Gaming version should see a small up charge for the added feature set. All in all the gaming performance is there at 1080p with medium to high settings, allowing you to take advantage of the rest of the NVIDIA ecosystem.

***Edit*** Pricing on MSI's N750 TF 1GD5/OC is selling for $124.99 after a $10 mail in rebate. ALong with that deal you get a free copy of AC-Liberation HD with the purchase!

 

Pros:

  • Budget Performance
  • Small form factor ready
  • No power connection needed
  • Overclocking
  • GameStream
  • ShadowPlay
  • GameWorks
  • G-Sync ready
  • Lower power usage

 

Cons:

  • None


 

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