Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Budget Gaming Redefined

Welcome everyone! This post is about two exciting new Graphics Processing Unit, The NVIDIA GTX 750Ti and AMD HD 260X. Both the cards perform closely and they are cheap and require very low power thus paving the way to build Gaming Computers at a very low cost. These two cards are fairly powerful so they can manage to run most of the modern titles with a bit tune up and even after that the graphics seems pretty appealing. The another plus point of these cards is if you have a system that does not have a dedicated GPU and you can't play games on it just invest a little on any of these cards, you will be able to play games on your existing system, that system might have an old Phenom II processor or an Intel Core i3!

So let's talk about the 750Ti first.

First thing about this card is it is entirely a new architecture. The earlier cards of Nvidia 6 series and 7 series ( Like GTX 680 or GTX 780 ) are Kepler based but this 750Ti is based on the new Maxwell architecture. The previous SMX has been replaced with a new SM (Streaming Multiprocessor). According to Nvidia, the improvements are mainly in "control logic partitioning, workload balancing, clock-gating granularity, compiler-based scheduling, and number of instructions issued per clock cycle". Apart from the geeky part what this architecture is providing is much more performance per watt comparing to the older generation.As a result cooler needed for the card is much more smaller and power needed for the card is also lower. For me the most exciting thing about this card is it draws very low power so a low end PSU like Corsair VS450W can be used to build a budget gaming system and this card can run all the games in full HD resolution with a little bit of quality sacrifice like you might need to turn off the Multi-sampling AA or something like that. 

Nvidia 750Ti Reference

Asus GTX 750Ti

Now Time for some in-depth specification:

Graphics Processor : GM 107
Architecture : Maxwell
Streaming Multiprocessors : 5
GPCs: 1
Shader Cores/CUDA Cores : 640
Texture Units : 40
ROPs : 16
Manufacturing Process : 28nm
Transistor Count : 1.87Billion
Die Size : 148mm Square

Base Clock : 1020MHz ( Reference )
                      1085MHz ( MSI GTX 750Ti Gaming OC )
                      1033MHz ( Gigabyte GTX 750Ti Windforce OC )
                      1033MHz ( Zotac GTX 750Ti )
                      1072MHz ( Asus GTX750Ti-OC-2DG5 )
                      1189MHz ( EVGA GTX750Ti FTW )
                      1202MHz ( PNY GTX 750Ti OC )
                      1110MHz ( Galaxy 750Ti GC )
Boost Clock : 1085MHz ( Reference )
                        1163MHz ( MSI GTX 750Ti Gaming OC )
                        1111MHz ( Gigabyte GTX 750Ti Windforce OC )
                        1111MHz ( Zotac GTX 750Ti )
                        1150MHz ( Asus GTX750Ti-OC-2DG5 )
                        1268MHz ( EVGA GTX750Ti FTW )
                        1281MHz ( PNY GTX 750Ti OC )
                        1189MHz ( Galaxy 750Ti GC )

Memory Type : GDDR5
Memory Clock : 1350MHz (5400Mbps)
Memory Bandwidth : 86.4GB/s
Graphics Memory : 1GB/2GB
Memory Interface Width: 128bit

Compute Performance : 1305.6GFLOPs
Compute Capability : 5.0
BTC Mining : 128.7MHash/s
LTC Mining : 245KHash/s
LuxMark 2.0 Score : 943 
Pixel Fillrate : 16.3 GPixel/s
Texture Fill rate : 54.1GTexel/s

DirectX: 11 
OpenGL : 4.4
PCI Express : 3.0
Shader Model : 5.0
Nvidia GameStream
GPU Boost 2.0
3D Vision
Adaptive VSync

Nvidia Surround

Mutli Monitor : 4 Displays
Maximum Digital Resolution : 4K (4096*2160)

Slot : Double Slot

PEG : None on the reference card. Third party cards have/might have a single 6 pin connector.

Maximum TDP : 60W. Third party overclocked cards might have higher TDP.

Max GPU Temperature : 95degree Celsius 

Price : $150-160

Let's look at some  benchmarking. All the benchmarks are at 1920*1080 resolution, graphics options were adjusted for good performance. For Crysis 3 the frame rate is fairly low, if we turn off the AA the game will be fairly playable.

This card also performs well in software like Auto-cad and Maya.

Overclocking : As the reference card is limited to 75W power as it does not have any PCI E power connector, it has to take its power directly from PCI express port. But third party vendors are adding 6 pin power connector and overclocking the card further.

So its pretty sure that for a $150-160 card it is a pretty solid performing card. And this performance is from a 60W card! Incredible! So, 750Ti is definitely a recommendation for budget build.

Now the AMD 260X

AMD's 260X is another viable option when it comes to budget gaming build.  260X fits perfectly for the desktops that needs a responsive system with a good graphics and gaming with a little bit of quality sacrifice. Overall it is slightly slower than the GTX750Ti, but it costs lower than that so it is a pretty good deal.

AMD 260X Reference
Sapphire 260X

Some in-depth specification 

Graphics Processor : Bonaire
Shader Unit : 896
ROP's : 16
Texture Unit : 56
Manufacturing Process : 28nm
Transistor Count : 2.08Billion
Die Size 160mm Square

Core Clock : 1100MHz ( Reference )
                      1188MHz ( Asus R7 260X DCU-II OC )
                      1160MHz ( Club 3D R7 260X RoyalKing )
                      1188MHz ( Gigabyte R7 260X Windforce 2X OC )
                      1175MHz ( MSI R7 260X OC )            
                      1150MHz ( Sapphire R7 260X OC )          
                      1100MHz ( XFX R7 260X Black Edition )

Memory Clock : 1625MHz ( Reference )
                             1750MHz ( Asus R7 260X DCU-II OC )
                             1650MHz ( Club 3D R7 260X RoyalKing )
                             1625MHz ( Gigabyte R7 260X Windforce 2X OC )
                             1625MHz ( MSI R7 260X OC )
                             1650MHz ( Sapphire R7 260X OC )
                             1625MHz ( XFX R7 260X Black Edition )

Memory Type : GDDR5
Memory Size :  1GB/2GB
Memory Bandwidth : 104GB/s
Memory Clock : 6500MHz ( Up-to 7000MHz on Third Party)
Memory Interface Width : 128Bit

Pixel Fill Rate : 17.6GPixels/s
Texture Fill Rate : 61.6GTexel/s
Compute Performance : 1971GFLOPS
BTC Mining : 262.8MHash/s
LTC Mining : 206KHash/s
LuxMark 2.0 Score : 1148

DirectX : 11.2
PCI Express 3.0
Shader Model 5.0 
OpenCL : 1.2
OpenGL : 4.3
AMD Eyefinity
AMD TrueAudio
AMD ZeroCore
AMD PowerTune
AMD App Acceleration

Maximum Digital Resolution : 4K

Slots : Dual

PEG : One 6 Pin power connector.

TDP : 95W (Overclocked edition might have higher TDP up-to 120W)

Maximum Operating Temperature : 95 Degree Celsius

Price : $140

Now lets look at some benchmarking. All the bench markings are at full HD resolution with graphics adjusted for better performance. In Far Cry 3 if the AA is turned off or set to a lower level the game will be nicely playable.

Both of these cards are not that high end to bottleneck any of the AMD's low end quad core processors like Athlon 760K or Intel's low end Core i3 3rd/4th generation so for lower budget system they are pretty nicely fitted. So for a budget build both of them are highly recommended.

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