NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Review

ccokeman - 2014-02-03 16:11:48 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: February 18, 2014
Price: GTX 750 Ti $149 , GTX 750 $119

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Introduction:

This launch brings us a new architecture from NVIDIA code named Maxwell. Why start at the low end of the spectrum instead of dropping a bomb with a high end card that is going to deliver even more in terms of performance than what two of the highest performing cards on the market (the GTX 780 Ti and GTX Titan) are delivering right now? Because the mainstream market is populated with PCs running integrated graphics that can see huge gaming performance improvements with a discrete video card that requires nothing more of the end user than to purchase the card and install it.

Wait, don't you need a new power supply when putting in a discrete video card? Not with this implementation of Maxwell or GM107. The goal was to target this burgeoning market of PCs with a power efficient card that can run all of the current games at 1080p, but do it in a low power envelope on a reduced form factor video card. That means that yes, Johnny, you can keep that 300 watt power supply that came in your PC and not have to increase your spending to get a 10x boost in gaming performance. It's a win-win for that consumer base, really. NVIDIA learned a lot when it was working on its Tegra program and integrated some of the power management learnings into Maxwell.

The big push is power efficiency along with improved performance. Getting the consumer to buy is the big thing, but with price points of $149 for the GTX 750 Ti and $119 for the GTX 750, the price to performance ratio is there. We can talk about the performance all day and see where it takes us, but first let's dig into the cards from NVIDIA and MSI to see what they offer and see how they perform by comparison. It could prove interesting.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Closer Look:

This first version of Maxwell for the consumer is the full implementation of GM107 used on the GTX 750 Ti. Baseline specifications include 1.87 billion transistors, one Graphics Processing Cluster, five SM modules, 640 CUDA cores, 40 Texture units, 16 ROPs, and 2GB of GDDR5 memory rated to run at 1350MHz through a 128-bit bus. It's what happens deeper down in the architecture where the changes impact performance and power efficiency. The new Streaming Multiprocessor model is called SMM, and it features an SM that instead of using 192 CUDA cores per SM (like seen in Kepler) breaks that up into four processing blocks. These four more efficient processing blocks in an SM deliver about 90% of the performance of the Kepler SM, while being significantly smaller allows more SM per core. That's more almost as fast, more efficient processors delivering higher performance. This implementation uses a larger L2 cache to minimize write outs to the GDDR5, preserving some bandwidth margin to remove that potential bottleneck for the operation. Ultimately this drives up power efficiency by 4x over four years with a 2x boost in raw gaming performance. All in all, a 55 to 60 watt envelope.


The first card I will look at today is the reference model GTX 750 Ti from NVIDIA. Looking at it for the first time I was a little skeptical of the performance this mini me-sized video card, with the even smaller heat sink looking suspect as well. At 5.7 inches in length, the reference GTX 750 Ti should fit in pretty much any chassis out on the market today to deliver 1080p performance on a budget. The height of the cooling solution makes this a two slot card that uses a one slot I/O bracket. Things that stand out as missing right away are the lack of an SLI Bridge connection and the PCIe power connection. If you caught that here's your cookie. This card requires neither due to the fact it has a 60 watt TDP and the target market for the card is such that buying a pair of GTX 750 Tis would increase the spending and power needs to a point that a more capable card and power supply would be the best option.


Display connectivity on the reference GTX 750 Ti consists of a pair of Dual Link DVI Ports and a single Mini HDMI port. In the future a DisplayPort 1.2 port will be standard on the GTX 750 Ti for use with G-Sync enabled monitors. The back end of the card has a spot on the PCB for a 6-pin PCIe power connection. You can see the four Hynix memory ICs surrounding the GPU socket, but not much else to talk about. The heat sink is held on with just four spring loaded screws; remove them and we get access to the GM107 core.


The cooling solution employed on the reference GTX 750 Ti is small to fit the needs of the core. It is a solid chuck of aluminum that looks much like what you would see coming out of the box of any current retail Intel processor. Surprisingly it does the job of cooling the core quite well. The small fan again is a surprise as it really is not the high speed pinwheel it looks like.


Both the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 are based on NVIDIA's GM107 Maxwell core. The GTX 750 Ti uses the full implementation of the GM107 core with 1.87 Billion transistors, one Graphics Processing Cluster, five Streaming Multiprocessors, 640 CUDA cores, 40 Texture units, and 16 ROPs. You can differentiate the cores visually by looking at the markings. The full GTX 750 Ti core has the marking GM107-400-A2, while the core used on the GTX 750 is marked GM107-300-A2. Base clock speeds on the GTX 750 Ti are a 1020MHz base clock with a GPU 2.0 boost clock of 1085MHz. Memory bandwidth comes through the 2GB of GDDR5 Hynix memory running through a 128-bit bus. The shared 2MB of L2 cache helps prevent memory bottlenecks at 1080p resolutions. SK Hynix H5GC2H24BFR-T2C modules are rated to run a 1250MHz using 1.35v and 1500MHz using 1.5v.


When you buy an NVIDIA card you get a whole ecosystem of support and opportunities to enjoy your gaming. Not only do you get the benefits of NVIDIA's GameWorks system that employs 300 game engineers to innovate and bring to the world gaming enhancements seen in the latest games, you get access to technologies like GameStream technology that allows you to stream games from your NVIDIA card to an NVIDIA SHIELD gaming device that can then be connected to your television in console mode for big screen gaming. You can also use ShadowPlay to save the last 20 minutes of your gaming sequences to either play back for your friends locally or upload directly to Twitch.tv or YouTube. When using ShadowPlay you take advantage of the built-in hardware encoder that uses dedicated hardware to keep from impacting the CUDA cores during gaming. There really is a minimal performance hit that you only see in benchmarks.


Having looked at a lot of NVIDIA's small form factor line up over the years, I am excited to see what this core implementation can deliver in terms of gaming performance. If it truly does deliver 1080p at medium to high settings in current games, that kind of performance curve gets it close to the level of performance delivered by the first Fermi-based card, the GTX 480. The GTX 750 Ti will take the place of the GTX 650 Ti in NVIDIA's product stack to drive performance in this form factor with a more efficient part.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Introduction:

MSI's GTX 750 Gaming comes packaged in a box that is meant to stand out in the crowd. The front panel lists the model of the GPU contained inside against the back drop of a tribal dragon. The shield on the front shows that this card is part of the MSI Gaming series developed for and targeted at gamers. An OC label shows that this card is a factory overclocked version that has enhanced clock speeds to deliver higher performance. The back side of the package is more detail oriented, showing the stand out features including Military Class IV build methodology, Twin Frozr Cooling, and both MSI's Own Gaming APP along with its Predator Game recording software. Internally the GTX 750 Gaming is held in a foam lined enclosure to prevent any damage during transport. Accessories include the installation manual driver disk and how to use the Hybrid BIOS feature that supports UEFI or standard boot cycles.















Measuring 9.5 inches long, the MSI GTX 750 Gaming features a full size Twin Frozr cooling solution to manage the thermal load from the more power efficient Maxwell-based GM107 core. The PCB alone accounts for around eight inches of this length. Fitting in a small form factor chassis should still present little difficulty when used with Mini-ITX systems in cases like the Fractal Node or BitFenix Prodigy. The card features the red and black theme used on MSI's Gaming series motherboards that mesh well with not only its own motherboards, but gaming centric motherboards from other manufacturers. The card is designed to be used in motherboards supporting the PCIe 3.0 standard, but is backwards compatible. The cooling solution is a two slot design using large propeller blade fans to push air through the direct contact dual heat pipe-based heat sink. The heat pipes pass out of the bottom to keep a clean look up top.


Display connectivity on the MSI GTX 750 Gaming consists of a single Dual Link DVI port, a single D-Sub port, and an HDMI output. Later cards will most likely come equipped with a DisplayPort 1.2 port to add G-Sync functionality to the card. The rear end of the card is open, allowing airflow out from under the shroud. The MSI logo is upside down in this view, but when installed in the chassis the logo is upright so you can show off which card you are running.


A couple of things are absent on these newest Maxwell-based video cards. The GTX 750, including the GTX 750 Gaming from MSI, have a 55 watt TDP, meaning no additional power is required to supply the cards' power needs. It gets all it needs from the 75 watts delivered from the PCIe slot. The PCB supports the use of a 6-pin PCIe power connector, but it is not mounted to the PCB. Just in front of where you traditionally have the 6-pin connector is a small switch. No, this is not a magical overclocking friendly BIOS switch, but a way to enable the Hybrid BIOS on this card. Hybrid? Position one supports booting from a legacy BIOS, while position two enables booting from a UEFI or legacy BIOS for faster start up or resume times. Also missing is an SLI Bridge connection. In all probability this implementation of GM107 as the full implementation will not see use in a multi GPU format.


The Twin Frozr cooling solution comes off by removing the four screws surrounding the GPU socket. Once removed, the PCB and Military Class IV components are visible. MSI's Military Class IV components include Super Ferrite Chokes that run 35 °Celsius cooler, have a 30% higher current capacity, and bring a 20% improvement in power efficiency to the table for improved power stability. Solid Aluminum Capacitors provide lower ESR and an increased ten-year lifespan. Tantalum filled low profile Hi-c Caps operate with a power efficiency rating of up to 93%. All combined you get a cooler running, more efficient, longer lasting design.


MSI's Twin Frozr cooling solution is a direct contact heat pipe design that uses a pair of heat pipes, one 8mm and one 6mm, to carry the thermal load from the GM107 core to the aluminum fin array. Once there the 100mm propeller blade fans push airflow through the array. Each fin has diverters to make the airflow stay in the fin array longer improving cooling efficiency.


A pair of 100mm Power Logic PLD10010S12HH propeller blade fans are used to provide the airflow through the cooling solution. These fans feature dust removal technology to minimize dust intrusion over time. As far as noise levels are concerned this solution is dead silent when the card manages the fan speed, but are audible once you ramp them up inside the chassis.


Both the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 are based on GM107, but the GTX 750 uses a core that features fewer CUDA cores (512), texture units (32), and Streaming Multiprocessors (four instead of five) used on the full implementation of GM107. Base clock speeds differ on the GTX 750 that has a 1020MHz base clock with a GPU 2.0 boost clock of 1085MHz. MSI has on this model tweaked it up a bit to deliver a base clock of 1085MHz and a boost clock that jumps up to 1163MHz, an additional 75MHz over the factory boost clock. Memory bandwidth comes through the 1GB of GDDR5 Hynix memory running through a 128-bit bus. The shared 2MB of L2 cache helps prevent memory bottlenecks at 1080p resolutions. SK Hynix H5GC2H24BFR-T2C modules are rated to run at 1250MHz using 1.35v and 1500MHz using 1.5v.


Much like all of its Gaming series cards, MSI builds in the power supply and cooling solutions that allow not only the mainstream gamer, but the hardcore overclocker the room to push the performance envelope though its design philosophy.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Specifications:

GTX 750 Ti
MSI GTX 750 Gaming
Graphics Processing Clusters
Streaming Multiprocessors
CUDA Cores
Texture Units
ROP Units
Base Clock
Boost Clock
Memory Clock (Data rate)
L2 Cache Size
Total Video Memory
2048MB GDDR5
1024MB GDDR5
Memory Interface
Total Memory Bandwidth
86.4 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear)
40.8 GigaTexels/sec
Fabrication Process
28 nm
28 nm
Transistor Count
1.87 Billion
1.87 Billion
2 x Dual-Link DVI 1 x mini-HDMI
1 x Dual-Link DVI, 1x VGA
 1 x mini-HDMI
Form Factor
2 Slots
2 Slots
Power Connectors
Recommended Power Supply
300 watts
300 watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP)
60 watts
55 watts
Thermal Threshold
95 °C
95 °C


NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Features:

MSI GTX 750 Gaming Features:

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Testing of the NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti and MSI GTX 750 Gaming will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 334.69 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 14.1 Beta 1.6 beta drivers. The results generated in my testing were reached by utilizing the latest FCAT tools to illustrate the true picture of the gaming experience. To do so will require a second PC setup to capture the data stream generated by the compared video cards.


Testing Setup:

FCAT Capture Setup:


Comparison Video Cards:





Normally low end cards are just that. They are power limited and feature less robust power control systems since they are designed to run as is in a low powered machine. No one told this to NVIDIA when it dropped Maxwell on us. Both the tiny little reference-based GTX 750 Ti card and MSI's GTX 750 Gaming deliver incredibly impressive overclocking results for a card that does not use an added power source. The GTX 750 Ti has a factory boost clock speed of 1085MHz. By maxing out the sliders on any of the available utilities I was able to push that to 1285MHz on the core; a speed that it would maintain for hours. This represents a 200MHz bump or 19% boost in clock speed on the core. Memory overclocking on the GTX 750 Ti was even more robust, showing a 328MHz or an almost 24% boost in clock speed. Any higher and performance would start to suffer. Those kinds of overclocking results are really impressive for a reference card with a 60 watt TDP.

As good of an overclock as the GTX 750 Ti had it would be tough to top, but MSI's GTX 750 Gaming was able to push the core clock speed up to 1353MHz or roughly 16% over the factory boost clock of 1163MHz. Memory overclocking was not as robust as on the GTX 750 Ti, but I still saw a boost of 260MHz or just over 20% higher than the 1250MHz baseline memory clock speed. To run those speeds I did run the cooling fan to 100% on both cards. Noise was really not a concern and the cooling was exceptional, especially on the MSI GTX 750 Gaming with its Twin Frozr design. Overclocking on Maxwell?Check. It's got some teeth.




Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were rerun until they passed a full hour of testing.



  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Splinter Cell Blacklist
  3. BioShock Infinite
  4. Crysis 3
  5. Far Cry 3
  6. Battlefield 4
  7. Assassin's Creed IV
  8. Batman: Arkham Origins
  9. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  10. 3DMark


  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro: Last Light is the followup to the extremely popular game Metro 2033. Developed by 4A games and published by Deepsilver, this game uses the 4A game engine. In this game set a year after the missile strike on the Dark Ones you continue on as Artyom as he digs deeper into the bowels of the Metro.

















With the settings used, Metro: Last Light is just under the threshold of smooth gameplay. However, skewing the settings down a little bit can bring that result right on up and over 30FPS.


FCAT Results:

Looking at the frame time chart, the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 are delivering frame times in the 30 to 53ms range with the settings used. Not exactly a smooth gameplay scenario, but playable. The stratification of the cards performance on the percentile charts shows clearly where the performance expectation should be. There is nothing out of the ordinary here.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist is the sixth installment in this franchise. Released in mid August 2013 in the US, it is published and distributed by Ubisoft. This game is built around the Unreal 2.5 game engine and uses Havok Physics. A new feature in this third person perspective game is a new game mechanic called Killing in Motion.



















In this game the GTX 750 Ti and MSI GTX 750 Gaming deliver 40 FPS or better in a fairly smooth gaming experience.


FCAT Results:

The frame times are under 30ms with both the GTX 750 Ti and the MSI GTX 750 Gaming in this game test. Variances range from 7 to 10ms from the GTX 750 Ti and MSI GTX 750 Gaming. The frame variance outliers drive the overall FPS down at little at the 95% range.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

BioShock Infinite, much like the first two installments of the franchise, is a first-person shooter known for its strong story and atmosphere. This third installment of the franchise no longer takes place in the underwater world of Rapture, but in the could city of Columbia. Utilizing many of the gameplay characteristics of the original games, BioShock Infinite has garnered critical acclaim. Taking the player through a maze of outdoor and indoor scenarios, the action is not constrained by territory. Developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games, this iteration uses the Unreal 3 game engine.



















In BioShock Infinite, there is no doubt you can enjoy an entirely smooth gameplay experience when using the GTX 750 Ti or MSI's GTX 750 Gaming when you are looking at between 53 and 47 FPS, depending on the card used.


FCAT Results:

Outside of a few fliers, the frame time variances for this pair of entry level Maxwell architecture-based cards deliver smooth game play in BioShock Infinite. Looking at the Percentile chart, we see that the GTX 750 Gaming has a few more spikes that drive the 95th percentile FPS down a bit.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

This third installment of the Crysis franchise, developed by Crytek and distributed by Electronic Arts, uses the CryEngine 3 game engine and requires a DirectX 11 ready video card and operating system due to its demanding graphics engine.



















Using the same settings I use on more capable cards shows that Crysis 3 will bring these entry level cards down below 30 FPS. By using NVIDIA's GeForce Experience tool you can tailor the settings to more closely match the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750's capabilities.


FCAT Results:

The frame time chart illustrates graphically how we got to the frame rates above. As the FPS delivered drops the frame times variance rises. Here we see spikes of up and over 70ms on the GTX 750 Gaming and over 60ms on the GTX 750 Ti. Something not wholly unexpected with the settings used. Again there are options to remedy the lower FPS yet still run medium to high settings.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Far Cry 3 is the latest iteration in the Far Cry series. Released in the US in early December 2012, it uses the Dunia 2 game engine and is published and developed by Ubisoft. This action-adventure, first-person shooter offers both single player and multi-player modes.



















At 1920x1080 both of these Maxwell architecture offerings are delivering 38 to 40 FPS in this game. You see a margin over the HD 7790 of between 5 and 7 FPS.


FCAT Results:

While the frame time chart looks kind of rough, if you take a look at the legend the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 Gaming are delivering variance in the 3 to 4ms range during the test runs. The percentile chart just validates the fact that we will see fairly smooth gameplay at this resolution with the chosen settings.

1920x1080 5760x1080

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Battlefield  4 is a first-person shooter developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. Battlefield 4 uses the Frostbite 3 game engine as a step up from the Frostbite 2 engine used in BF3. As the successor to Battlefield franchise the graphics are improved. Following a set release cycle Battlefield 4 was released for the PC in North America in October 2013 supporting DirectX 11 and now after multiple patches AMD's Mantle API.





















These two Maxwell-based cards are delivering right at 30FPS or better using the Ultra preset in game. All from a pair of cards using only the 75 watts pulled from the PCIe slot it resides in.


FCAT Results:

As you might expect the GTX 750 Ti is delivering better frame time variance in this game. The GTX 750 Gaming has a few more outliers, but nowhere near what we see with the HD 7790.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a "historical action-adventure open world video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft." Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag was released for PC in November of 2013 and uses the AnvilNext game engine. Set in the Caribbean, it follows the adventures of Edward Kenway over land and sea.





















Using high end settings I still see FPS results of around 24 to 25FPS from each of the GTX 750 variants. Dropping the settings down slightly gets you to 30FPS.


FCAT Results:

While gameplay is not entirely smooth using the test settings, it is smooth enough to play if the action does not get too intense. Frame times variances for the two GTX 750 cards are around the 35 to 50 ms range, with a 15ms swing from highest to lowest.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Batman: Arkham Origins is the third installment of the Batman: Arkham series released in October 2013. This action-adventure game based on DC Comics' Batman super hero was developed by Warner Bros. Games Montréal and released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Batman: Arkham Origins continues to use the Unreal 3 game engine.

















In Batman: Arkham Origins, the GTX 750 Ti delivers almost 30 FPS with high end settings, while the GTX 750 falls a little short of 26FPS without overclocking or simply dropping the anti-aliasing level.


FCAT Results:

Looking at the both the percentile and frame time charts, the frame time curve is almost flat in the 35 to 45ms range overall.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. This was the first DX 11 benchmark to allow testing of DX 11 features. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes – Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.



















On an initial look the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 do not present a pretty picture, but when you look at the fact the cards use no external power connection the FPS delivered with NVIDIA's new Maxwell architecture and GTX 750 series is pretty exciting.


FCAT Results:

Looking through the percentile and frame time charts, there is nothing out of the ordinary with each card delivering a consistent level of performance commensurate with its specifications. Each cards frame time results are mirrored from one card to the next and are stratified by performance from highest to lowest.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

3DMark: The just-released version of Futuremark's popular 3DMark suite is designed to let a wider range of the user base make a comparative analysis of the gaming prowess of their systems from entry level PCs to notebooks and extreme gaming PCs.



















When compared to the HD 7790, the GTX 750 Ti is slightly faster while the GTX 750 is slightly slower. Overclocking shows significant gains in the scoring across all three tests.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine's Heaven Benchmark Version 4.0, with MSI's Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1080 using 8xAA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a 20-minute cooldown, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.






















When you look at the cooling results, it's important to remember that the GTX 750 Ti core has a 60 watt TDP while the GTX 750 comes in at 55 watts. The absolutely tiny heat sink used on the reference GTX 750 Ti keeps the temperatures at a modest 63 °C under load at stock speeds, and 56 °C when overclocked. When you add non-stock cooling, such as we have on the GTX 750 Gaming, the load temperatures are lower than some high ends cards' idle temperatures at 39 °C, running a massive overclock under load.

NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti & MSI GTX 750 Gaming Testing:

Power consumption of the system will be measured at both idle and loaded states, taking into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use Unigine's Heaven Benchmark version 4.0 to put a load onto the GPU using the settings below. A 15-minute load test will be used to heat up the GPU, with the highest power usage recorded as the final result. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system with the lowest recorded power usage as the final result.


















Across the comparison field you can see the impact of differing architectures and how it relates to the power profiles used. Idle consumption is impacted by the amount of fans and how the card responds to the power saving algorithms employed by each card. Under load the Maxwell-based cards show the lowest power consumption as expected throughout the testing. MSI's GTX 750 Gaming shows a bump of 11 watts under load with 260MHz+ bumps in both the core and memory clock speeds. The GTX 750 Ti shows a six watt jump in power consumption under load when overclocked to equally impressive heights.

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!