It has been quite some time since NVIDIA lanched the GTX 750 Series based on their latest Maxwell GPU. Almost 6 months to the day in fact. But that doesn’t mean its old news and manufacturers like Zotac are keen to keep it front and centre of their product stack. Today see’s Zotac take a new approach to NVIDIAs midrange GPU with the GTX 750 Zone Edition, a passively cooled version of the Maxwell GPU and we have one for review.
There are no surprises when it comes to the packaging design for the GTX 750 Zone Edition, Zotac use familiar styling for their brand and note some of the key features across the various sides of the box. Inside we get a fairly standard bundle for this class of card which includes documentation, free/trial software information, software disc and a DVI to VGA adapter to assist those with older screens.
The Zotac GTX 750 Zone Edition
As we noted earlier in the review the GTX 750 has been around for a while now and in terms of the base card design there is nothing particularly revolutionary here. We have no SLI or power connectors (the card is powered by the PCIe slot only) and it is a fairly compact black PCB that is used by Zotac on the GTX 750 Zone Edition. The cooler however, that is something different from the norm. Here we have a large passive model which uses a block of aluminium fins, two copper heatpipes and a copper GPU block to dissipate heat. No noise, no moving parts.
Turning round to the outputs we find three on the GTX 750 Zone Edition and those are DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. This allows us to configure multi-screen set-ups, power 4K monitors or pass a signal to our HDTV. DirectX 11 is supported as is 3DVision, PhysX, audio over HDMI and acceleration of HD video. We can also use CUDA (and OpenCL) based software to have our GPU assist the CPU in processing (speeding up file conversions for example) and it is worth noting that Zotac also provide tweaking software to monitor and overclock the card specs. That can be downloaded here.
Speaking of specifications, the GTX 750 Zone Edition has a base clock of 1033MHz, boosting up to 1111MHz and our memory is 1250MHz (Elpida GDDR5). A little boost over the reference. The GTX 750 uses a 128bit memory bus and we have 1GB present. Our core config is 512 processors, 32 TMUs and 16 ROPs. All standard for a GTX 750 based product.
User Experience and Conclusion
Starting with the design of the GTX 750 Zone Edition Zotac have created a nice looking card. Clearly this product was always going to look a bit different to the average GTX 750 but Zotac have created a cooler which looks decent and would fit in nicely to a system with side window. Big chunks of metal are always good. In terms of build quality there is little to fault. The heatsink feels solid, the PCB and soldering are good quality (black PCB always a bonus) and the use of Elpida memory is pretty standard. The outputs too are spot on for the target market and combined with the DVI to VGA adapter most, if not all, consumers should be catered for.
In terms of performance we did note that the comparatively priced Radeon, a R7-260X, tends to get faster framerates in the games we used. That said, the Zotac GTX 750 Zone Edition is never far off and does offer perfectly playable framerates in most recent games with maximum detail at 1920×1080. Then In key online titles such as League of Legends it breezes through the game with flawless performance. For thermal performance the Radeon edges things again, but of course it has a fan cooler and so runs louder. The Zotac balances the silent operation and temperatures nicely, never going over 83c during our gaming. Also worthy of note is that the GTX 750 uses less power when gaming and that there was a bit of headroom available for some limited overclocking, though anyone doing that is advised to have good airflow in their case to maximise clock rates over time.
That brings us to value where the GTX 750 Zone Edition is set to retail for £95 (other regions TBC). Given its unique design and the fact that buying a GTX 750 then applying our own silent cooler would make it much more expensive that seems a fair price point for Zotac and wins it our value award.