AMD has enjoyed plenty of room on our pages recently, what with all the talk of Mantle-this and HSA-that. We imagine the folks at NVIDIA have found it all quite bemusing, because for them the graphics card business hasn't changed: it's still primarily about offering higher frame rates for fewer watts in common DirectX-based PC games. Indeed, that's exactly what the green corner's all-new Maxwell architecture is claimed to deliver, starting with the GTX 750 Ti card that should be hitting stores today priced at $150 (or £115 in the UK). At the transistor level, Maxwell is no more efficient than Kepler -- we're still looking at a 28nm fabrication process, which is pretty standard by now. However, NVIDIA says it has figured out much smarter ways of distributing power across its graphics cores, resulting in a doubling of performance-per-watt. What does this mean in practice? Read on and ye shall discover.
In essence, Maxwell's doubling of perf-per-watt should allow you to play top-tier games like Batman: Arkham Origins and Call of Duty: Ghosts at medium settings and 1080p resolution even on the GTX 750 Ti's very modest 60-watt power draw. NVIDIA matches the card up against AMD's R7 260X, which now costs $119, but which consumes nearly twice as much electricity and therefore requires more aggressive cooling. By doing away with big fans, the new GeForce should easily and quietly fit into that mini-ITX rig you've been secretly planning for your living room.
That said, if the 750 Ti is still too premium for your needs, then you should check out the slightly dumbed down GTX 750, which is also out today. Losing the "Ti" suffix means you sacrifice a few CUDA cores, and you'll get a max 1GB of GDDR5 memory, but then you only pay $120 (or £90) and you need just 55 watts to power it. You'll find full tech specs and some official game benchmarks for the cheaper card in the slide deck above.
Oh, and one more thing -- these new cards both support NVIDIA's remarkable G-Sync technology, which our very own eyes have observed making a 40fps game look as silky smooth as a 60fps game, through the clever adjustment of refresh rates. NVIDIA had to do away with SLI support in order to facilitate this feature, but honestly, we think it could be worth it -- it's just a shame that the big screen in your living room may never be able to appreciate the difference, because for the time being it looks like a G-Sync will only be compatible with a few regular-sized PC monitors.