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NVIDIA partners are beginning to roll out their new GTX 750 graphics cards and the new Maxwell architecture they offer. As we discovered during our launch day article, Maxwell GPUs bring a lot of new technologies along with the new architecture. Most notable is the high power efficiency they bring to the table, which allows them to be used in lower end systems that might not have been able to handle the power demands before. Today, we’ll be looking at one of Galaxy’s new Maxwell GPU offerings in the form of their GTX 750 GC 1 GB Dual Fan model. Galaxy has added several of their own unique enhancements when compared to the reference design cards, such as an expanded PCB, proprietary dual-fan cooler, and a factory overclock. It all sounds good on paper… Let’s go find out!
Specifications and Features
Here are the specifications as provided by the Galaxy website. Of note here is the 90 MHz base clock and 104 MHz boost clock factory overclock applied to the card. Most of you know when the card is put under load, the actual boost clock will be substantially higher than the rated specification. In the case of the GTX 750 GC, it comes in at 1267 MHz. Galaxy also opted to add a 6-pin auxiliary power connector to the card. The 1 GB of GDDR5 memory runs at an effective speed of 5000 MHz and sits on a 128 bit bus. The CUDA core count sits a 512.
|Galaxy GTX 750 GC Specifications|
|GPU Engine Specs:|
|Base Clock (MHz)||1110|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||1189|
|Memory Speed||2500 (5000 effective)|
|Standard Memory Config||1024MB|
|Memory Interface Width||128-bit GDDR5|
|Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)||80|
|Bus Support||PCI-E 3.0|
|Certified for Windows 8||Yes|
|SLI Options||Not supported|
|Multi Monitor||4 concurrent displays|
|Maximum Digital Resolution||4096×2160|
|Maximum VGA Resolution||2560×1600|
|Standard Display Connectors||Dual Link DVI x2, HDMI x1, DisplayPort 1.2 x1|
|Audio Input for HDMI||Internal|
|Standard Graphics Card Dimensions:|
|Maximum Graphics Card Power (W)||55W|
|Minimum System Power Requirement (W)||400W|
|Supplementary Power Connectors||One 6-pin|
A quick look at GPU-Z confirms most of what we see above in the specifications table.
As mentioned in the introduction, Galaxy went to great lengths to add their own personality to the GTX 750 GC. These special features are listed below.
Galaxy Special Features
- Custom dual fan cooler – keeps fan noise to a whisper, even during the heaviest gaming.
- Support for 4 simultaneous displays – with triple display Surround gaming.
- Special fan blade design – minimizes turbulence and noise output at higher speeds.
- Factory Overclocked – for increased performance.
Galaxy Custom PCB Design Features
- 6-pin auxiliary power – for increased overclocking headroom.
- Extended PCB – for cleaner signal layout.
- 3+1 phase power supply – for enhanced current stability and higher overclock potential.
The Galaxy GTX 750 GC is also compatible with all the latest NVIDIA features, such as G-Sync, Adaptive V-Sync, GPU Boost 2.0, and ShadowPlay. All below images and descriptions courtesy of Galaxy
G-SYNC –NVIDIA G-SYNC is groundbreaking new display technology that delivers the smoothest and fastest gaming experience ever. G-SYNC’s revolutionary performance is achieved by synchronizing display refresh rates to the GPU in your GeForce GTX-powered PC, eliminating screen tearing and minimizing display stutter and input lag. The result: scenes appear instantly, objects look sharper, and gameplay is super smooth, giving you a stunning visual experience and a serious competitive edge.
NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0 – This innovative technology allows gamers to push PC performance to the maximum with precise controls. GPU Boost 2.0 intelligently monitors work with even more advanced controls like GPU temperature target, overclocking, and overvoltage to ensure that the GPU works at peak performance.
GeForce Experience – The easiest way to optimize your games and keep your drivers up to date, the GeForce Experience application automatically notifies you of new driver releases from NVIDIA. With a single click, you’ll be able to update the driver directly, without leaving your desktop. Plus, it offers exciting features like GeForce ShadowPlay™ that lets you capture and share your greatest gaming moments, automatically.
Two New Anti-aliasing Modes: NVIDIA FXAA and TXAA – Anti-aliasing smooths out “jaggies” (jagged edges) but can be demanding on frame rates. Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing (FXAA) is a new antialiasing technology that produces beautiful, smooth lines with minimal performance impact. And with Kepler™-based GPUs, you can enable FXAA in hundreds of game titles through the NVIDIA Control Panel. The second mode, Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TXAA), is an in-game option that combines Multisample Anti-Aliasing (MSAA), temporal filtering, and post processing for even higher visual fidelity.
NVIDIA PhysX Technolog – Full support for NVIDIA PhysX technology enables a totally new class of physical gaming interaction for a more dynamic and realistic experience with GeForce.
NVIDIA 3D Vision-Ready – NVIDIA 3D Vision brings a fully immersive, stereoscopic 3D experience to the PC. A combination of high-tech wireless glasses and advanced software, 3D Vision transforms hundreds of PC games into full stereoscopic 3D. Get up to 2x monitor and keyboard brightness with NVIDIA 3D LightBoost technology. In addition, you can enjoy 3D movies and 3D digital photographs from 3DVisionLive.com in eye-popping, crystal-clear quality.
NVIDIA Surround with Up To Three Monitors – Nothing is as breathtaking as playing your favorite games across three monitors. At 5760 x 1080, the expanded field of view fully engages peripheral vision and provides for the most immersive experience in racing and flight simulators. Add in a fourth display to keep tabs on chat, email, or web while you’re gaming.
NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync – Nothing is more distracting than framerate stuttering and screen tearing. The first tends to occur when framerates are low, the second when framerates are high. Adaptive V-Sync is a smarter way to render frames. At high framerates, VSync is enabled to eliminate tearing. At low frame rates, it’s disabled to minimize stuttering.
Now that you’ve been properly introduced to the Galaxy GTX 750 GC and what it has to offer, let’s have a closer look.
Packaging and First Look
The Galaxy GTX 750 GC came packaged in an attractive box with a predominantly black, blue, and white theme that includes a spattering of the familiar NVIDIA green. The box has a lot of information regarding the specifications, features, and what it’s capable of doing. You’ll definitely get a good idea of what you’re buying into by simply inspecting the box.
Inside the outer carton, you’ll find another black box that houses the GTX 750 GC and the accessory stack. Sitting at the very top is a thank you card that also explains the registration and support procedures. Removing the top foam pad reveals the accessories and the GTX 750 GC just below. The card is nicely secured in the lower foam bed and further protected with an anti-static bag. As far as the accessories go, we have a user manual, quick installation guide, driver/utility CD, DVI to VGA adapter, and a 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PCI-E power adapter.
All in all, the packaging is well-presented, but most importantly it does a good job of protecting the contents inside.
Here are several pictures of the card taken from different angles. We’ve got a blue and silver theme going on here, which looks pretty good in my opinion. Before we begin dissecting the card for a closer look, enjoy the picture show!
The Galaxy GTX 750 GC Up Close
Galaxy has one-upped the reference design as far as display ports are concerned by adding a second DVI port to the card. The four display connections include a HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-I DL, and DVI-D DL. Using four concurrent displays is possible with this setup. In another break from the reference design, Galaxy opted to add a 6-pin power connector the to card. In theory, this should allow a little more headroom when overclocking and provide a more stable delivery of power.
Unlike most other video card manufacturers, Galaxy doesn’t have a fancy name for its proprietary cooler. They simply call it a Custom Dual Fan Cooler, which in all honesty describes it perfectly! Removing the cooler only requires taking off the four screws located on the back of the card. Once removed, we can see the block and fin assembly is an all aluminum affair with two fans sitting on top. The fans are said to feature specially designed blades that minimize noise and turbulence at higher speeds. I typically like to see a copper heatsink base; but with the low power draw and improved thermal properties the Maxwell GPUs have, this design will more than likely be plenty capable of keeping the GPU core cool… We’ll find out later.
With the cooler removed, we can have a closer look at the PCB. Galaxy went with a custom PCB design that improves upon the reference design in a couple of key areas. The PCB itself was extended a little to allow for a cleaner signal layout. They also added a 3+1 power phase design (3 GPU + 1 Memory), which is up from the reference design’s 2+1.
The 1 GB of onboard memory is provided by the Hynix H5GC2H24BFR-T2C ICs. The memory modules are rated at 1.35 V and an effective speed of 5000 MHz (1250 MHz Quad Pumped). The last picture below is of the NVIDIA GM107 Maxwell GPU core.
Galaxy’s Xtreme Tuner Software
Xtreme Tuner is a full featured desktop GPU overclocking utility that can also perform several other useful functions. Most of what Xtreme Tuning can do is self explanatory by looking at the screenshots below. Some highlights include its ability to adjust GPU and memory clocks, monitor vital statistics in real time, and save up to 10 profiles. You also have control over the cooling fans by using the preloaded fan profiles, which set fan speeds based on temperatures. Let’s not forget voltage adjustment too, where applicable. If you click the “PSU” link at the bottom, you’ll be taken to a screen with a list of real time voltage readings from the power supply.
I settled on a +135 MHz GPU core overclock and a +150 MHz memory overclock, which proved perfectly stable and was able to complete our entire suite of benchmarks. This landed us at a GPU core speed of 1246 MHz base, 1324 MHz boost, and an actual boost clock of 1402 MHz. The memory speed landed at 1403 MHz (5612 MHz Quad Pumped). So, the overclocking experience was quite fruitful indeed. Incidentally, I tried all the GPU overclocking utilities I could think of, and they all maxed out at allowing +135 MHz to the GPU core. The card probably has more overclocking room; but as of right now, I have no avenue to get there. So, consider this your “pushing the limits” section of the review too.
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VI Formula|
|CPU||Intel i7 4770K Haswell|
|Memory||G.SKill TridentX DD3-2666 MHz 2x4GB|
|SSD||Samsung EVO 500 GB SSD|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX1050 Professional Series|
|Video Card||Galaxy GTX 750 GC|
|Cooling||Swiftech Apogee HD CPU Water Block – 360 mm Radiator – MCP35X Pump|
Because the NVIDIA GTX 750 competes directly with the AMD R7 260, we’ll include that in our comparison graphs. We’ll also compare a GTX 750 Ti and an AMD R7-260X. If the pecking order holds true, the Galaxy GTX 750 GC should beat out the AMD R7 260, but fall a bit short of the R7 260X and GTX 750 Ti… we’re about to find out!
We’ll stick to the Overclockers.com GPU test procedure that we’ve been using since the Haswell platform was released. If you’re not familiar with our testing method, click on the link provided for more information. For quick reference, below is the down and dirty version of what we do.
- 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.
Our synthetic tests show the Galaxy GTX 750 GC completely dominating the AMD R7 260. Once it was overclocked, it actually beat out the R7 260X in all the tests except 3DMark 11 and held tight to the GTX 750 Ti too.
Our game tests again show the Galaxy GTX 750 GC easily handling the AMD R7 260. When overclocked, it managed to beat out the R7 260X in every game except Grid 2. In fact, even when not overclocked, it beat the R7 260X in all but a couple of the tests. Even though all the game tests are run at their maximum settings, you’ll also notice a playable 30+ frame rate was achieved on most of the game titles. Overachiever? It sure looks like it!
I think you’ll admit, the Galaxy GTX 750 GC performed quite admirably in our test suite versus the comparison cards. It not only beat up on the R7 260 like it was supposed to, but performed on par with the R7 260X. Certainly nothing to gripe about here.
Temperatures and Power Consumption
Any concerns I had about the cooler being an aluminum block were quickly laid to rest. With the card overclocked and the minimal amount of voltage increase NVIDIA allows applied, the highest temperature I recorded was a mere 58 °C. This is the second Maxwell based GPU I have reviewed, and I can say with confidence they run a lot cooler than their Kepler brethren. With this particular card, just set the fans to auto control and leave it at that. It’ll never get close to the temperature threshold, even when overclocking. Leaving the fans on the auto setting will result in them running right at 40% most of the time. At that speed, they are very quiet and hardly noticeable actually. If you ramp the fan speed up to 100%, they do become audible, but not what I would call annoyingly so. In a nutshell, the Galaxy Dual Fan Cooler does a terrific job of keeping the GPU nice and cool.
As we discovered during our launch day review of the GTX 750 Ti, these cards absolutely sip power. At idle, you’ll see a 100 Watt total system draw. When the card is overclocked, the most the system could generate was 189 Watts during the 3DMark 11 combined test. Pretty impressive stuff!
The Galaxy GTX 750 GC surprised me with its performance and surpassed NVIDIA’s claim of being a faster card than AMD’s R7 260. In fact, it performs more on a level equal to the AMD R7 260X. Galaxy’s Dual Fan Cooler does a great job of keeping the card cool and does so at a minimal noise level. As we mentioned above, Galaxy put their own personality stamp on this card with the extended PCB, an additional power phase, a factory overclock, and their proprietary cooler. All of these add a great deal of value to the card and are key factors in its surprising performance level. As long as we’re talking value, how much will this card set you back? The MSRP is $129.99, but it’s currently available at the Galaxy web store for $119.99. Either way, the price is exactly where it should be, especially when you consider NVIDIA placed the MSRP at $119.99 for the reference design GTX 750.
Wrapping this up, the Galaxy GTX 750 GC is a great low cost, mid-range GPU offering that is most definitely worthy of consideration.The price makes it attractive for price conscious gamers, HTPC builders, or someone looking to upgrade the graphics on a store bought computer. It’s an easy call this time around… Overclockers Approved!