It's no reach to say the Maxwell-driven GeForce GTX 750 Ti GPU sets the foundation for Nvidia's graphics products for the next two years. The existing Kepler architecture has been overhauled and simplified to such an extent that energy efficiency is, quite literally, off the scale.
Nvidia is liberally playing on this power-efficient theme by launching mainstream GPUs equipped with low-end TDPs. The GTX 750 Ti, for example, uses a maximum of 60W, but has enough gaming clout to run modern titles at high-quality settings alongside a 1080p resolution.
Add-in board (AIB) partners can take one of two routes with the GTX 750 Ti. Per the reference design, small cards, without the six-pin power connector, make implicit sense in small-form-factor systems. These start at around £105. The other tack is to conveniently disregard Nvidia's design philosophy and launch retail cards that are geared towards performance, with all the concomitant benefits such as elaborate cooling, larger PCBs, and extra power regulation.
EVGA, a firm with roots firmly entrenched in the enthusiast community, opts for performance over form factor. The company retails four GTX 750 Tis, evenly split between single- and dual-fan cooling, and the range is headlined by the GTX 750 Ti FTW with ACX Cooling.
The FTW boosts to an average 1,268MHz under gaming load. It's marginally faster than the single-fan GTX Ti Superclocked, and considerably quicker than the base Ti.
EVGA, repeating previous practices, misses a trick in not overclocking the memory on this premium model. The quartet all chime in at the default 5,400MHz, and considering this mainstream card is already hamstrung to some extent by a 128-bit memory bus, overclocking this parameter is key to higher performance. The company says that qualifying faster-than-default memory is difficult because multiple vendors are often used for the GPU's framebuffer.
The ACX cooler is a proven solution and it's repurposed here in the usual dual-fan form. Like many GTX 750 Tis, the use of a high-end cooler on a small PCB means a small brace is required on the rear to stop the ACX from overhanging. The PCB measures 170mm while the overall card is 220mm long.
ACX uses a dual heatpipe-based heatsink that envelops the card, and going by previous experience, temperatures should be nice and low. This isn't the same as the premium ACX cooler as, understandably, it's a stripped-down version of the one found on the GTX 780 and slightly different to the GTX 760's. Underneath, Samsung provides the 2GB of GDDR5 memory, also present on other competitor boards, while EVGA employs a four-phase power supply - with three allocated to the GPU and one to the RAM.
EVGA adds a six-pin PCIe connector to the near side (shown above), which is necessary for the card to function, though, much like the Asus and Gigabyte cards, we see this as a redundant feature on the energy-sipping GTX 750 Ti, though EVGA says it includes the connector because this is the card most geared towards the enthusiast who is likely to increase clocks and voltage.
EVGA's black IO bracket matches the cooler and PCB. This, arguably, is the best-looking GTX 750 Ti out there, and we appreciate that, whilst there are only three outputs - GTX 750 Ti can drive four - the HDMI and DisplayPort are of the full-size variety.
The overclocked and custom-cooled nature of this card translates to a £130 retail price in the UK, compared with £115 for lesser-overclocked models from competitors. EVGA mitigates some of this additional premium by equipping the FTW/ACX with a three-year warranty, which is transferrable, and bundles a gaming trio of Deadfall Adventures, Painkiller Hell and Damnation and Rise of the Triad.