NVIDIA's Maxwell turns 10, powering the GeForce GTX 900 Series and the Nintendo Switch

Before Pascal and the groundbreaking GeForce GTX 10 Series, NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture presented a massive leap forward for performance and efficiency.

1 minute & 53 seconds read time

Ten years ago, NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture debuted in February 2014 with the GeForce GTX 750 Series - introducing an 'all-new design for the Streaming Multiprocessor (SM)' on a cutting-edge (for the time) 28nm process.

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The first GPUs to adopt the new architecture were designed primarily for efficiency, with the GM107 chip seen in the GeForce GTX 750 and GTX 750 Ti bringing massive efficiency gains compared to the previous Kepler architecture.

The Maxwell architecture is also in the NVIDIA Tegra X1 SOC for mobile devices, which pairs Maxwell-based graphics with ARM CPU clusters. In addition to appearing in NVIDIA's Android-based Shield TV hardware, the Tegra X1 (or a custom version) would eventually make its way into the Nintendo Switch.

Even though PC gamers have long since moved on from Maxwell, where NVIDIA's architectures have progressed to Pascal, Turning, Ampere, and now Ada Lovelace - there are over 140 million Nintendo Switch gamers out there still playing games on NVIDIA's now decade-old efficient GPU hardware.

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The Nintendo Switch successor, running on NVIDIA Ampere hardware, is expected to launch in early 2025.

For PC gamers, the Maxwell generation fully arrived with the GeForce GTX 970 and GeForce GTX 980 in September 2014, though not without some controversy. The GeForce GTX 970 had only 3.5GB of GDDR5 memory instead of the 4GB advertised. A communication error ended with a class action lawsuit, and NVIDIA gave GeForce GTX 970 owners $30 as compensation.

Maxwell also saw the introduction of the $999 GeForce GTX TITAN X in 2015, with impressive performance, 12GB of GDDR5 memory, and a whopping 3072 CUDA Cores, viewed as unobtainable by most. Of course, ten years later, the non-flagship GeForce RTX 4080 SUPER now carries a $999 price tag.

For enthusiasts, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti was a PC gaming beast when it debuted in mid-2015, paving the way for the next impressive update in 2016 in the form of the groundbreaking Pascal-powered GeForce GTX 10 Series.

Check out our reviews of the following Maxwell GPUs for a fun trip down memory lane.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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