Value and Conclusion
|9.6||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. The ASUS GTX 650 Ti Boost DC II OC adds a dual-fan cooler on top of that. GPU clock is up a little bit, by 40 MHz, or 4%, which turned into a meager 1% performance improvement over the GTX 650 Ti Boost reference design. It seems as though the GTX 650 Ti Boost is very good at exploiting clock headroom through the Boost algorithm no matter the base clock. Memory clock is unchanged. Compared to other cards, we see a large 27% improvement over the original 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 5% higher than the HD 7850 and 21% higher than the just-released HD 7790.|
When looking at the maximum OC frequencies only, the result has to be considered disappointing. However, when looking at performance at maximum OC, we see all the GTX 650 Ti Boost cards that we tested so far deliver the same performance at vastly different clocks. In the case of ASUS, their card boosts 20 MHz higher core frequency than the other two cards, which means maximum OC will be reduced by that amount. It looks like NVIDIA's Boost algorithm equalizes things quite a bit. Nevertheless, overclocking provided an easy 10% performance boost, which almost made the overclocked GTX 650 Ti Boost match GTX 660 performance.
The ASUS DirectCU II heatsink is a definite improvement over the NVIDIA reference design cooler. It offers lower temperatures while being much quieter. Idle noise is pretty-much perfect—the card should be inaudible in any system during desktop work. Gaming noise is much improved as well and should deliver a quiet gaming experience. The card is not as quiet as I had hoped for though. Recent ASUS DirectCU II cards had amazing noise levels, so I had my hopes high, but this card's noise levels are just "good." Temperatures are comfortably low, with just 61°C under load, so there would have been lots of headroom to quieten the fan down a bit more without compromising temperatures.
Thanks to a redesigned voltage regulator circuitry, the ASUS GTX 650 Ti Boost DC II consumes about 5% less power during gaming than the NVIDIA reference design, which is a nice improvement, but 5 W really doesn't matter that much.
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. ASUS is asking a very reasonable $10 price increase, so the DC II Boost OC costs $180, which is the same price as the HD 7850 that is a bit slower. It does come with a Bioshock Infinite coupon, which could tip scales in its favor if you are willing to invest some extra time selling the coupon ($20).
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.