Nvidia's GeForce GTX 750 Ti Reference Card
If you’re building a graphics card, dropping a low-power GPU onto it gives you some options. You don’t get shoehorned into a dual-slot, actively-cooled beast of a board. For its reference design, Nvidia chose a PCB less than six inches long—it pretty much ends with the PCI Express slot connector. There’s a single-slot I/O bracket with two dual-link DVI connectors and a mini-HDMI output. However, Nvidia covers the GM107 processor with an orb-style heat sink and fan that eat up two slots worth of space, so you still have to budget accordingly.
The card’s 60 W ceiling is easily satisfied by a 16-lane PCI Express slot, which is rated for up to 75 W. That means you won’t find an auxiliary power connector on the PCB (even if there are holes for one). We’ve long been fans of cards fitting this profile because of how flexible they are. Previously, AMD’s Radeon HD 7750 was your best bet for upgrading an old decrepit box with too-little power output or not enough connectors for a decent add-in board. Now the GeForce GTX 750 Ti is gunning for that position.
Nvidia's GK106-based GeForce GTX 660 is the card we're recommending around the $200 mark; AMD's Radeon R9 270 is just too pricey in comparison. This board from Gigabyte, overclocked from the factory, is a favorite.
Unfortunately, there’s also no SLI bridge connector. True to Nvidia’s mainstream approach, the $150 price point is right about where you lose the option to sling two boards together for higher performance. This is a competitive disadvantage; AMD’s alternatives in the same price range allow CrossFire configurations. It’s probable that Nvidia could achieve SLI over PCI Express, but the company says it doesn’t see much demand from enthusiasts looking to link $150 cards. If you feel differently, speak up. We’d be curious to see if a couple of GM107s could beat a GeForce GTX 770, for sure.
Nvidia plans to offer two versions of the GeForce GTX 750 Ti—one with 1 GB of GDDR5, priced at $140, and available later in February, and a 2 GB model that should be selling for $150 by the time you read this. Moreover, there will be a GeForce GTX 750 that ships later in the month at a price point of $120.
The initial round of partner boards includes a mix of cards eating up one and two expansion brackets, but they’re all dual-slot designs. Down the road, though, we’re told to expect dual-slot passively-cooled solutions. Single-slot configurations are also possible, though nobody seems certain that a low-profile fan can yield a pleasant experience.