NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2 GB Review 80

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • According to NVIDIA, GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost will sell for $169. A 1 GB version will also be available for $149.
  • Fantastic pricing
  • Good performance
  • Good overclocking potential
  • Up to four active outputs
  • Native full-size HDMI and DisplayPort
  • Support for CUDA and PhysX
  • Adds support for SLI
  • Could be quieter in idle and load
  • No memory/VRM cooling
NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost adds a strong sub-$200 option to the company's lineup. Thanks to the added Boost clock algorithm, and a beefed up 192-bit memory interface, we see massive performance gains compared to the GTX 650 Ti without Boost. When averaging our performance results, we see a large 26% improvement over the GTX 650 Ti, which definitely makes the difference between "slow" and very playable at 1080p. Compared to AMD's lineup, we see a performance that is 3% higher than HD 7850 and 22% higher than the just-released HD 7790.
Overclocking of our sample worked well and provided an easy 10% performance boost, which means that the overclocked GTX 650 Ti Boost almost matches GTX 660 performance. Maximum clocks are similar to what we've seen on the original GTX 650 Ti, but the relative clock increase is smaller because the newer GTX 650 Ti Boost comes with higher clock speeds out of the box.
NVIDIA's reference design cooling solution is adequate, but I would have wished for something a bit more capable. While temperatures are fine, noise is not. Idle noise is kind of high for a card of this performance class, especially when considering idle temperatures of 37°C. It would have been an easy feat for NVIDIA to further quieten down the fan, but the BIOS is configured to never go below 30% fan speed—no matter the temperature. Noise under load is a bit high too, emitting the same noise levels as the GTX 660 Ti that is also much faster. Noise levels are not bad, but the GTX 650 Ti without Boost does much better. Custom designs by board partners will certainly offer improved noise levels.
Power consumption is pretty much exactly where we expected it to be given the results we've seen from other GK104-based GeForce 600 cards. Last week, AMD showed significant improvements in the power consumption department, but they introduced a new GPU design.
Pricing of GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost is fantastic. NVIDIA's recommended pricing for the 2 GB GTX 650 Ti Boost is only $169, which makes the card the most cost-effective solution on the market by a large margin. The next-best option currently available is the HD 7850. It will set you back $180 and is a bit slower. It does come with a Bioshock Infinite coupon, which could even things out if you are willing to invest some extra time selling the coupon ($20). NVIDIA also mentioned that they will offer a 1 GB version of the GTX 650 Ti Boost for $149, which could introduce a new price/performance leader. I am convinced that the performance loss from 2 GB to 1 GB will be negligible at realistic resolutions. What we don't know is whether the 1 GB version runs at the same clocks using a 192-bit memory interface.
Typically, the AMD-NVIDIA dance sees AMD launch a new product and NVIDIA respond with a competitive product that claims a reasonable premium. The new GTX 650 Ti Boost changes that. It's been a while since we've seen NVIDIA play catch up with an AMD product, the Radeon HD 7850 in this case, to then beat it with not just better performance, but also a lower price. It's now on AMD to retrofit its sub-$200 product stack. Want to game at 1080p with a sub-$200 card? Here's your choice.
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