I really enjoy working with budget cards. I like to see what a user can get for the lowest possible amount, yet still be able to play modern games at reasonable frame rates and quality settings. It is a challenge to get all of the compromises on price, power, and performance right. The sub-$200 US market is jam packed with quality parts from both sides, though AMD so far has consistently had a better price/performance ratio with their 28 nm based parts. So does the Asus STRIX GTX 750 Ti hit all of its marks?
In terms of efficiency there is no other card that can really match what the GTX 750 Ti does. This card does not require an external power plug, which makes it perfect for pre-built computers that may not have the 6 pin PCI-E power connection. It is also a good candidate for any older computer that may not have a PSU that can provide a steady stream of juice to higher end cards. At full load I only saw 163 watts at the plug. A 250 watt power supply could handle this card, along with a higher end Intel i7 processor on a Z97 motherboard. This is certainly something that the old R9 280X cannot claim!
Compare the size of the XFX R9 285 and the STRIX. The STRIX is a pretty tiny card, but with recent price cuts the R9 285 is poised to be yet another competitor.
The STRIX design excels at being quiet. With an open test bed, I never heard the fans spool up at load. At idle, the fans did not spin at all. The temperature at idle is a bit higher than other solutions, but those others do not stop their fans. At load, the STRIX design provides very good results with only 59C showing on the GPU monitoring program.
Overclocking was simple and provided good results. It was relatively easy to get the clocks up as high as the GPU overclocking software allows. It would have been nice to get some more memory speed out of the solution, but alas we are stuck with 5600 in this particular implementation.
The only real negative with the Asus STRIX GTX 750 Ti is the price. At $159 US it costs the same as most R9 270s. (Available at BHPhoto.com for $159 and at Amazon.com for $159.) R9 270Xs on special also match that $159 US. While the 270X pulls more power, it provides a lot more performance across the board. For a few dollars more a user can get a R9 280 that has significantly more performance than the GTX 750 Ti. The sub-$200 market is so incredibly compressed when it comes to products and their pricing, it makes for a tough decision for anyone wanting to maximize their budget.
So with that potential limitation in mind, is the Asus STRIX GTX 750 Ti worth the money? It really depends on the implementation that it is being applied to. If a user has a pre-built machine that does not have a larger power supply or the necessary cables, then it is an easy sell. It provides enough performance to make most games run fine at 1080P without eating up a lot of power. It is very simple just to insert this card and go and not have to worry about excess cabling.
The XFX card is more traditional by providing two DVI outputs. The STRIX has potentially better airflow due to the larger exhaust.
Asus has created a very interesting card for the price point it is aimed at. The card is just as silent as it is promised to be. It has adequate performance combined with a solid overclock out of the box. At $159 US, it is a bit more expensive than we would like, but the majority of that pricing consideration comes directly from NVIDIA. They are typically quite slow to respond to price cuts from AMD and their entire lineup typically costs more than the comparable AMD parts. NVIDIA does not see this as an issue, as they seem to be actually gaining marketshare from AMD, even with higher prices.
The card hits all of its marks and does so without breaking the bank. It is not a terribly exciting card and it will not blow a user away with outstanding performance for that price. What it does provide is a very quiet solution that sips power, yet provides enough performance for most gaming scenarios at 1080P. It is a very good card, but a user really needs to consider all those other cards around that price plus focus sharply on their exact needs. There is certainly a place for the Asus STRIX GTX 750 Ti but, if power limitations are not part of the equation, then you can find better deals out there for not much more money.