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Nvidia launches midrange GPUs with Maxwell architecture

The chipmaker's Maxwell graphics architecture is twice as energy-efficient and 50 percent faster than its predecessor, Kepler.

Nvidia's new GPUs, the GeForce GTX 750 Ti and the GeForce GTX 750, are twice as efficient and have a 135 percent boost in performance per core.
Nvidia on Tuesday gave gamers a hint of what's to come with its new Maxwell architecture.

The graphics chipmaker unveiled its updated GeForce GTX 750i and GeForce GTX 750 graphics processing units (GPUs), which are aimed at the midrange graphics market. The chips are 50 percent faster than their predecessor -- Kepler -- and twice as energy efficient, thanks to the inclusion of Maxwell. The graphics chips are the first time the architecture has hit the market.

The low power consumption of the chips means users don't need special power connectors for them. They also run quietly, which allows them to be used in smaller PCs.

Nvidia is traditionally known for making GPUs found in computers and game consoles, but that business faces an uncertain future as the PC market struggles. Last year, PC shipments posted their worst-ever drop of 10 percent, according to Gartner. In the fourth quarter alone, PC shipments slid 6.9 percent year over year.

Despite the weakness of the computer market, Nvidia has managed to post strong GPU sales. The release of its newest chips based on Maxwell should help it even more as PC gamers upgrade their systems.

In particular, the gamers buying mid-range graphics that the GeForce GTX 750i and GTX 750 fall into typically upgrade their machines every four years, Nvidia said. Currently, Nvidia's GeForce 550 Ti -- based on Fermi, the architecture from 2010 that preceded Kepler -- is the most popular GPU in its class, according to Steam data. That means those gamers could be looking to upgrade their systems with the Maxwell chip.

While Maxwell is much better than Kepler, it's an even bigger bump over Fermi. The new chips are four times as power efficient as Fermi GPUs and twice as fast.