Monday, July 1, 2013

Nvidia launches the $250 GTX 760, a fine video card at a fair price.



Over the past few months Nvidia has been steadily updating its desktop product lineup. The GTX Titan kicked off the year with a bang and new single-GPU performance records, theGTX 780 offered most of Titan’s performance for $350 less than Nvidia’s halo product, and the GTX 770 is a slightly faster GTX 680 for about the same price.

If the sudden deceleration from “record-breaking graphics card” to “Slightly faster than last year’s model” left you feeling whiplashed, we apologize, but that’s the general shape of things this time around. The GK110 (found in the GTX 780) boosted high-end performance dramatically, but Nvidia’s cards below the $650 price point aren’t moving much.

The GTX 760 is Nvidia’s new midrange card for the $249 price point, and it’s somewhat different from the GTX 660 Ti that it replaces. Specifics on the two are shown below:



There’s a little information that these charts don’t show you. The GTX 660 Ti has 112 TMUs (texture mapping units) but just 24 raster operations pipelines (ROPs). The new GTX 760 has fewer TMUs (96) but more ROPs (32) and thus a significantly higher pixel fill rate (33GP/s as compared to 23.5GP/s for the GTX 660 Ti). The GTX 660 Ti has 17% more cores than the 760, but the 760 has 33% more memory bandwidth and makes up for the core differential with a 7% faster clock speed.

Both the GTX 760 and GTX 660 Ti are based on the GK104 GPU. That chip is built with 1536 cores by default — Nvidia locks out damaged cores when it bins the product for board mounting. This makes it relatively easy for the company to fine-tune the GPU core/TMU/ROP ratio, and I suspect that’s what happened here. The original GTX 660 Ti is still a strong card, but the 760 Ti has had its features tuned to better balance performance and cost.

The price comes down a bit, to $249. Average performance should be quite close to the GTX 660 Ti, with the GTX 760 possibly taking an edge in higher resolutions due to increased memory bandwidth. Benchmarks I did at 1920×1080 with 8x MSAA — all detail levels set to maximum — show the Radeon 7950 consistently outperforming the GTX 760, though the gap is in line with the difference in price. Currently, the Radeon 7950 is selling for $299 — $50 more than the $249 Nvidia card.

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