Back in June of this year, we took a look at the ASUS STRIX GTX 780 and found it to have plenty of unique features with an eye on silent gaming. In an effort to offer a STRIX branded video card at a price level affordable by the masses, ASUS has brought to market their newly released STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition, which we’ll be taking a look at today. Even though the GTX 750 Ti GPU is considered one of NVIDIA’s mid-range offerings, that didn’t stop ASUS from adding many of their unique features to this card. Armed with a factory overclock, the DirectCU II cooler, and a host of other features, it provides a great first impression. Let’s take it for a spin and find out just how well it performs!
Specifications and Features
Here are the specifications as provided by the ASUS website. Right from the start, we can see the factory overclock is 104 MHz over the reference design cards. The reported boost clock is 1202 MHz, but the actual boost clock comes in at 1280 MHz when the GPU is under load. The 2 GB of onboard GDDR5 stays consistent with the reference design. The Maxwell based GPU used on the GTX 750 Ti series of cards promises great power efficiency, low power consumption, and performance that surpasses its Kepler predecessors.
|ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition Specifications|
|Model Number||STRIX GTX750TI-OC-2GD5|
||NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti (Maxwell)|
|Bus Standard||PCI Express 3.0|
|Memory||2048 MB (2 GB) GDDR5|
||1350 MHz (5400 MHz Effective)|
|GPU Base Clock
|GPU Boost Clock||1202 MHz|
||1X Dual-Link DVI-I
|Recommended PSU||400 Watt|
|Dimension||7.7 X 4.8 X 1.5 Inches|
A quick glance at GPU-Z reveals a few more specifications not mentioned above. The card features 640 Unified Shaders, 16 ROPs, and 40 TMUs. The 2 GB of GDDR5 memory sits on a 128-bit bus and provides up to 86.4 GB/s of bandwidth.
So, what does the word Strix actually mean? Here is how ASUS explains it…
“Taken from the ancient Roman and Greek word for owl, Strix means the keenest hearing and sharpest eyesight. Strix means feeling your environment so that you detect and react to the slightest movement. Strix means survival on the very edge of instinct. Strix is in your blood, as it is in ours.”
ASUS performed some in-house testing using a couple modern game titles; and to no one’s surprise, the results show a substantial increase in performance when compared to the reference design cards.
One of the main features on the STRIX family of video cards is 0dB fan technology. Relying on the DirectCU II cooler’s ability to work semi-passively, the fans will remain off until the GPU temperature reaches a set level. Most modern games will get the GPU warm enough to trigger the fans on, but light usage scenarios will benefit from silent operation (think HTPC and productivity usage).
The ASUS Super Alloy Power components find their way to the STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition, just as you see on their higher-end video cards. These components promise reduced power loss, a longer life span, and cooler operation than reference design components.
GPU Tweak and GPU Tweak Streaming are the two utilities ASUS bundles with their enthusiast level video cards. GPU Tweak is a feature-rich desktop overclocking utility with complete monitoring and fan control capabilities. GPU Tweak Streaming can be used to share game play over the internet in real time. More on these utilities later.
The retail box does a nice job of explaining the high level features the STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition offers. The box front has the familiar “claw” marks, model name, and a picture of the DirectCU II cooler commonly found on ASUS packaging. The back of the box gives a more detailed list of the features mentioned above, along with a break down of the I/O area. The box sides are home to additional branding and a multilingual list of system requirements.
Inside the outer carton is another white box that houses the video card, user manual, and the support CD. There aren’t any other accessories in the box, but none are really needed in this case. No adapter cable is included because the card does not require a power lead from your PSU, and DVI-to-VGA adapters are quickly becoming unnecessary these days. Inside the white box, you’ll find the video card well protected in a foam bed and wrapped in an anti-static bag. All in all, you’ll find the packaging to be informative and able to protect the card from damage during transportation.
With the STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition removed from the packaging, we get our first look at how the card looks aesthetically. Before we get to taking the card apart, enjoy a few glamor shots!
The ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition Up Close
Beginning with a look at the I/O area, we see the card has one each of a DVI-I DL, HDMI, and DisplayPort connections. With the DirectCU II cooler removed, we observed the two copper heatpipes perfectly centered on the GPU core, and the TIM making excellent contact with its target area. The rest of the cooling block and fin stack area are made from aluminum with each heatpipe passing through the block and curling their way through the fin stack. Given the low power draw of Maxwell GPUs, the cooler looks more than adequate for the task at hand.
The plastic shroud houses the two fans, which are branded Everflow T12801SH and are 75 mm in size. There are four rubber pads affixed to the inside of the shroud to prevent any annoying vibrations… nice touch there.
With the DirectCU II cooler out of the way, we expose the bare PCB. A couple things worth noting here are that GTX 750 Ti based video cards do not support SLI and do not require a 6-pin power lead from the PSU. Other manufacturers have added a 6-pin power lead; but in my opinion, that detracts from what this series of card is all about. It’s meant to be a low power consumption card that provides an easy upgrade path for those with older systems and smaller wattage power supplies. ASUS chose to stick with those principles here, which resulted in the same 3-phase power design and no PCI-E power connector just like the reference design. However, as we mentioned in the features section above, the actual power components ASUS uses are an upgrade from those found on the NVIDIA reference card.
I was glad to see ASUS use SKHynix memory on the card as we typically find it overclocks a bit better than the Samsungs and Elpidas of the world. In the case of this card, the SKHynix H5GC4H24MFR-T2C modules are used. We’ll find out how well they overclock later in the review. The last picture below is of the NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti GPU core (GM107-400-A2).
ASUS GPU Tweak and GPU Tweak Software
GPU Tweak is ASUS’ answer to desktop GPU overclocking, monitoring, and a lot more. The available overclocking options are dependent on the actual video card you have installed, but GPU Tweak provides an easy to navigate interface for the options your graphics card supports. In addition to the overclocking options, GPU Tweak allows complete monitoring, fan control, and several other useful items. The slideshow below will take you through the various screens and available options GPU Tweak provides.
Late last year, ASUS introduced GPU Tweak Streaming to their GPU software portfolio. In a nutshell, GPU Tweak Streaming allows you to stream desktop activity over the internet and include a webcam image, scrolling text, and a picture of your choosing into the stream. Depending on your available upload speed, you can stream up to 1080p quality or as low as 360p.
Overclocking for Stability
Even though there are no additional power phases or PCI-E power connectors than what’s found on the reference design cards, the STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition overclocked just as well as the EVGA GTX 750 Ti FTW that has one additional power phase and a 6-pin PCI-E connector. That’s pretty impressive! For a 24/7 stable overclock, we landed at 1250 MHz GPU and 1550 MHz memory (6200 MHz effective). That equates to a 11% overclock on the GPU and a 13% overclock on the memory side. With the GPU set to 1250 MHz, GPU-Z reported a boost clock of 1328 MHz; but the actual boost clock was 1406 MHz when the GPU was under full load. So, for the purpose of our benchmark testing, we’ll leave it right here until we get to the “Pushing the Limits” section.
|Test System Components|
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VI Formula|
|CPU||Intel i7 4770K Haswell|
|Memory||G.SKill TridentX DD3-2400 MHz 2x8GB @ 1866 MHz 9-9-9-24|
|SSD||Samsung EVO 500 GB SSD|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX1050 Professional Series|
|Video Card||ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition – NVIDIA Driver 340.52|
|Cooling||Swiftech Apogee HD CPU Water Block – 360 mm Radiator – MCP35X Pump|
We’ve got a good selection of comparison cards to include in our charts, so let’s get to it! We’ll adhere to the Overclockers.com GPU test procedure that’s been in place since the Haswell platform was released. If you’re not yet familiar with our methodology, then click on the link provided for additional information. For quick reference, below is the down and dirty version of what we do.
Minimum System Requirements
- i7 4770K @ 4 GHz
- Dual Channel DDR3-1866 9-9-9-24
- GPU @ stock and overclocked
- Monitor capable of 1920×1080
- 3DMark Vantage – DirectX 10 benchmark running at 1280X1024 – Performance preset.
- 3DMark 11 – DirectX 11 benchmark running at 1280X720 – Performance preset.
- 3DMark Fire Strike – DirectX 11 benchmark running 1920X1080 – Standard test (not extreme).
- Unigine Heaven (HWBot version) – DX11 Benchmark – Extreme setting.
- Batman: Arkham Origins – 1920X1080, 8x MSAA, PhysX off, V-Sync off, The rest set to on or DX11 enhanced.
- Battlefield 4 – 1920X1080, Ultra Preset, V-Sync off.
- Bioshock Infinite – 1920X1080, Ultra DX11 preset, DOF on.
- Crysis 3 – 1920X1080, Very high settings, 16x AF, 8x MSAA, V-Sync off.
- Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – 1920X1080, Maximum preset.
- Grid 2 – 1920X1080, 8x MSAA, Intel specific options off, Everything else set to highest available option.
- Metro Last Light – 1920X1080, DX11 preset, SSAA on, Tessellation very high, PhysX off.
The synthetic testing shows a common theme we’ll see throughout the benchmark testing. The comparison EVGA GTX 750 Ti is factory overclocked a bit higher than today’s ASUS sample, so you’ll see it performing just a tad better. When compared to the AMD counterparts, the R7 260 and R7 260X fall quite a bit behind in most cases, just as we’d expect. The AMD R9 270 and R9 270X will dominate these benchmark runs, but the overclocked ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition comes pretty close to the R9 270 in some tests.
Moving along to our game benchmarks, nothing really changes as far as the pecking order goes. The ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition performed exactly as expected when compared to the other cards in our charts. Again, we see it hold pretty tight to the R9 270 in a couple of these tests when overclocked.
Power Consumption and Temperatures
Power consumption and temperatures are where the Maxwell GPUs really shine. Fully overclocked and under load, I never saw power consumption reach 200 watts. Keep in mind, the wattage numbers are total system power draw. Dare I say, a 400 watt PSU might even be overkill for a system using this video card. HWBot Heaven and 3DMark Fire Strike are used to monitor power consumption, and the highest recorded usage is reflected in the below chart.
On the temperature side of things, those numbers are equally impressive. Leaving the fan on auto control and the GPU overclocked, the DirectCU II cooler and its 0dB fan technology kept the GPU under 60 °C at all times. Depending on the game or benchmark, the fan can take quite a while to start up, which is a testament to its effectiveness as a passive heatsink. HWBot Heaven is used to monitor temperatures, and the highest recorded value is reflected in the below chart.
Pushing the Limits
I was able to complete a suicide run of 3DMark Fire Strike with the GPU set to 1280 MHz, which resulted in an actual boost clock of 1424 MHz. The memory overclocked an additional 50 MHz, which landed us at 1600 MHz (6400 MHz effective). All told, that gave us just under an additional 100 points for a score when compared the previous overclocked results… not too shabby!
The GTX 750 Ti series of graphics cards is very appealing for those looking for low power consumption, great mid-range performance, and an affordable price. ASUS certainly did a nice job of providing all that and more with the SRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition. The 0dB fan technology works great at keeping the card completely silent when under low to moderate work loads. Even when the fan ramps up, it’s still extremely quiet. Another bonus is the ability of this card to work in an aging system that might not have a PSU with a lot of power or lacks a PCI-E power cable.
The STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition proved to be a winner on the overclocking front. The SKHynix memory overclocked nicely, even without any additional voltage available. The GPU overclocked very well too, even without additional power phases or a 6-pin power cable. I was actually quite impressed with how well it overclocked.
The ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition should hit eTailers very soon with a MSRP of $169.99. That price puts it right in line with other similar offerings from various manufacturers.
If you’re looking for a mid-range graphics card that offers a lot of flexibility, runs cool and quiet, and won’t break the bank, then you should definitely keep this ASUS offering at the top of your list.