Not that long ago we took a long hard look at the PNY 750Ti OC2 and walked away pleasantly surprised by the amount of value that particular model offered. Everything from the ultra-low noise profile, to its low power consumption, to its only minor increase in price left us impressed and made us rethink the entire 750 series. After all if their most expensive ‘flagship’ 750Ti model could impress us with its value, what tricks did PNY’s other cheaper 750’s have up their sleeves? For this reason we have once again gone back to the 750 series and are going to take another in-depth look at it; this time however we are going to look at the other end of the 750 spectrum and take a long hard look at PNY’s entry level, non-Ti, non-overclocked NVidia GeForce 750. Specifically we are going to put their 750 XLR8 1GB under the microscope and see if any of the magic that infuses their 750Ti OC has trickled down to the even more inexpensive models.
As with any 750 series video card, our largest concern about this model has to do with performance. After all, as a base model 750 the PNY 750 XLR8 only has 512 Cuda cores, makes use of a paltry 1GB of memory running at 5,000MHz on a rather narrow 128-bit memory bus. More importantly still, this particular PNY 750 has no factor overclocking applied to it. This means its base clock of 1020 and boost clock of 1085 is completely ‘reference’ levels. This is a combination that has proven to be mediocre at best, and is worrisome – as a lot of the 750Ti OC2’s ‘magic’ came from a mega dose of testosterone in the form of a huge factory overclock.
With that being said, while we fully expect the performance to be in line with what other ‘stock’ NVIDIA GeForce 750’s can offer, sheer performance is only one small part of the equation. For numerous scenarios, noise performance is just as important as sheer pixel pushing speed. Thankfully, PNY has not opted to carry over the reference design heatsink and fan that NVIDIA recommend. Instead they have opted for a fully custom dual slot design that also graces the 750Ti OC 2GB we recently reviewed. Based on previous experience with this custom cooler this single fan based cooling unit should have no problems dissipating the 55 watts the Maxwell ‘750’ core can produce. We say thankfully as NVIDIA may do many things very well but designing low noise, low cost, high performance cooling solutions is not one of them. To be blunt, stock 750 coolers stink. They are loud, obnoxious things that belie the low TDP nature of the next generation Maxwell core. In fact, if it wasn’t for this custom heatsink we would have flushed this review before continuing and considered it an idea that should never see the light of day. Needless to say we do have high hopes for this little GPU cooler that PNY has opted for. We are not exaggerating when we say that it has the potential to make or break the 750 and will play a large role in our final evaluation.
The reason this single fan cooler is so important is because this is a stock 750 video card. As PNY has shown in the past, the Maxwell core usually has a lot of headroom and if this custom cooler can keep temperatures in check, this card has the potential for greatness, or at least great value. In fact with an asking price so low as to be bordering on absurd for a ‘serious’ video card if the overclocking headroom is there, this little brother of the 750Ti OC2 may just possibly surpass that card in the crucial value department. That however is a lot of ‘ifs’, ‘maybes’ and ‘possibly’, but it is a still a lot of potential that needs to be investigated.