NVIDIA Gives GeForce GTX 650 A Boost!
Last week AMD attacked the mainstream desktop video card market with the release of the AMD Radeon HD 7790 'Bonaire' GPU series in the $149-$159 price range. NVIDIA has never been a company to roll over when a new video card is launched by its only competitor in this market, so it shouldn't come as a shock to learn that NVIDIA has updated the GeForce GTX 650 Ti video card that was released in October 2012. NVIDIA took the GeForce GTX 650 Ti's GK106 'Kepler' GPU and tweaked it a bit to get even more performance from it.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost has a clock speed of 980MHz on the core that is able to boost to 1033MHz and has either 1024MB or 2048MB of GDDR5 memory that runs at 1502MHz (6008MHz effective). These are the same exact clock speeds at the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 and both cards feature GPU boost! Both the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 and GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost share the same GK106 GPU, but the GeForce GTX 650 Ti has just four SMX units, providing 768 CUDA Cores whereas the GeForce GTX 660 has five SMX units and 960 CUDA cores.
One of the key enhancements on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost is the memory. The new GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost video card ships with three 64-bit memory controllers (192-bit bus), 384K L2 cache, and 24 ROP units. This means the card has 144.2 GB/s of memory bandwidth, which is 60% more memory bandwidth than the GeForce GTX 650 Ti. Lastly, NVIDIA has enabled 2-way SLI on the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost! This is great for those that want a multi-GPU upgrade path as SLI was not supported on the GeForce GTX 650 Ti.
At the end of the day the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti is basically an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 video card with one SMX unit disabled. The end result is a card that is six times faster than the GeForce 9600 GT video card from 2008 and 40% faster than the GeForce GTX 650 Ti that was just released in October 2012.
|GTX 660||GTX 650 Ti Boost||GTX 650 Ti|
|Memory Clock||6008MMHz GDDR5||6008MHz GDDR5||5400Hz GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||192-bit||192-bit||128-bit|
|Memory Bandwidth||144.2 GB/s||144.2-bit||86.4 GB/s|
|FP64||1/24 FP32||1/24 FP32||1/24 FP32|
|Manufacturing Process||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm|
|Current Suggested Price
||$199||$149 / $169||$129|
Here is a quick chart that breaks down the key specifications for you along with pricing for those that like to see everything in a table. Notice that the GeForce GTX 650 Ti price is dropping to $129 and that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost starts at $149 for 1GB cards and $169 for 2GB cards. You can expect factory overclocked cards to run about $10-$20 more for each variant.
NVIDIA sent us over the official GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost reference card and EVGA hooked us up with the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SuperClocked video card! EVGA informed us that they will be launching two cards initially:
- EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST - $169.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SuperClocked - $179.99
We have the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (Part Number 02G-P4-3658-KR), so it retails for $10 more than the reference card, but is overclocked up to 1072MHz on the core and boosts to 1137MHz. EVGA didn't overclock the memory and left it at 1502MHz (6008MHz effective).
Both cards are dual-slot cards that measure 9.5" in length. Both cards feature identical PCBs (part number 180-12030-1002-B01), so the only real difference is in the GPU cooler. Under the black fan shroud we found that EVGA is using a heatsink with one large copper heatpipe and the NVIDIA reference design has a vapor chamber cooler with no heatpipes.
Flipping the cards over we can see the GPU cooler shrouds differ on the cards like we noted before, but the PCB layout revisions are the same. The black PCB measures just 6.875" in length, so if you wanted to watercool your video card, the card would under seven inches in length with a full coverage GPU water block!
Both cards are using Samsung GDDR5 IC's that are marked K4G20325FD-FC03. According to the Samsung website these specific IC's are rated to run at 6.0Gbps (0.3ns) at 1.55V.
When it comes to video outputs, EVGA kept the reference design connectors on the card. This means you have a pair of DVI connectors, the bottom is a DVI-I while the top is DVI-D. You also have Display Port and HDMI video connections on the left side of the card. EVGA did modify the exhaust bracket to include more exhaust ports in the bracket, which is said to reduce air noise and improve airflow for better cooling.
The new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST video cards have a single SLI interconnect/bridge, which means they are 2-way SLI ready! This is a feature that we like to see as it gives $150-$200 video card purchases an upgrade path.
Both the NVIDIA reference card and EVGA retail card use a single 6-pin PCI-e power connector on the GeForce GTX 650 Ti. It is suggested that you have a minimum 450W or greater PSU with at least 24 Amps on the +12V rail. Getting to this power connector is easy as it is located on the top edge of the card.
Now that you know what the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST is and seen a couple examples of it, we can dive into benchmarking and overclocking!
Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.
Video Cards & Drivers used for testing:
- AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta 3
- NVIDIA GeForce 314.21
Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform
The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with BIOS 0305 that came out on 12/25/2012. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1866MHz quad channel memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-27 1T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD was run with firmware version 2.25.
|The Intel X79 Test Platform|
Intel Core i7-3960X
ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
16GB Corsair 1866MHz
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Reference Card GPU-Z Information:
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SC GPU-Z Information:
Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios. It is the sequel to the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. The game was released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The PC and Onlive version was released on November 22, 2011.
Batman: Arkham City uses the Unreal Engine 3 game engine with PhysX. For benchmark testing of Batman: Arkham City we disabled PhysX to keep it fair and ran the game in DirectX 11 mode with 8x MSAA enabled and all the image quality features cranked up. You can see all of the exact settings in the screen captures above.
Battlefield 3 (BF3) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America on October 25, 2011 and in Europe on October 28, 2011. It does not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista as the game only supports DirectX 10 and 11. It is a direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release and the PC download is exclusive to EA's Origin platform, through which PC users also authenticate when connecting to the game.
Battlefield 3 debuts the new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions. Unlike previous iterations, the new version can also support dense urban areas. Battlefield 3 uses a new type of character animation technology called ANT. ANT technology is used in EA Sports games, such as FIFA, but for Battlefield 3 is adapted to create a more realistic soldier, with the ability to transition into cover and turn the head before the body.
Benchmark Results: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 TI BOOST in stock form was 23.4% faster than the Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 Dual-X OC at 1920x1080 in Battlefield 3. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST costs $169.99 and the Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X runs $159.99, so for $10 more dollars you get a major performance increase.
Here are the GPU-Z details of the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost when running Battlefield 3 for about half an hour. Notice the temperature topped out at 80C and the 1413MB of the 2048MB frame buffer was being used at 1920x1080. If you plan on gaming at 1920x1080 we highly suggest getting a 2GB video card as 1GB cards aren't enough these days once you crank up the graphics.
Borderlands 2 is a space western first-person role-playing shooter video game that was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the sequel to 2009's Borderlands and was released for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms. Borderlands 2 was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games on September 18, 2012 in North America.
Borderlands 2 runs on a heavily modified version of Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3. We tested Borderlands 2 with vSync and depth of field disabled. We increased the general image quality settings and turned on 16x AF. PhysX effects were set to low to keep things fair as possible between AMD and NVIDIA cards. FXAA was enabled.
Benchmark Results: The EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SC was faster than an AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz edition graphics cards in Borderlands 2 and it smoked the Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC video card by 45.5%. The EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SC was also 49.8% faster than the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti SSC video card, which is impressive.
Dirt: Showdown is a video game published and developed by Codemasters for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was released in May 2012 in Europe and in June in North America. It is part of the Colin McRae Rally game series.
Dirt: Showdown removes several of the gameplay modes featured Dirt 3, and introduces new ones. Gameplay modes can be classified as Racing, Demolition, Hoonigan or Party. We ran the built in Benchmark at Ultra settings to get a true feel of what this engine has to offer!
It is very important to note that Global Illumination and Advanced Lighting have massive performance penalties when enabled, something not seen in other titles in the Dirt series. We disabled this setting.
Benchmark Results: The EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST was 29% faster than the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti SSC and 1.7% faster than the Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC video card at 1920x1080 in Dirt Showdown.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 is an open world first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is the sequel to 2008's Far Cry 2. The game was released on December 4th, 2012 for North America. Far Cry 3 is set on a tropical island found somewhere at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. After a vacation goes awry, player character Jason Brody has to save his kidnapped friends and escape from the islands and their unhinged inhabitants.
Far Cry 3 uses the Dunia Engine 2 game engine with Havok physics. The graphics are excellent and the game really pushes the limits of what one can expect from mainstream graphics cards. We set game title to 8x MSAA Anti-Aliasing and ultra quality settings.
Benchmark Results: We run Far Cry 3 with the Ultra image quality settings, so the 1GB cards will have their frame buffer filled to the max at 1920x1080. The EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SC was able to run at 26.7 FPS with these tough settings, which made it 64.8% faster than the Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 Dual-X OC video card. There is just a $10 difference between the cards and for that price difference, the performance difference is huge.
Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in the Ukraine. The game is played from the perspective of a character named Artyom. The story takes place in post-apocalyptic Moscow, mostly inside the metro station where the player's character was raised (he was born before the war, in an unharmed city), but occasionally the player has to go above ground on certain missions and scavenge for valuables.
This is another extremely demanding game. Image quality settings were raised to 'Very High' quality with 4x AA and 16x AF. We turned off PhysX and DOF (Depth of Field) for benchmarking.
Benchmark Results: TheEVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SC was 21% faster than the Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC in Metro 2033 with the DOF disabled at 1920x1080. Seeing a $179.99 video card running this tough benchmark above 30 FPS at 19x10 just goes to show you how much performance you can get on a budget these days! The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 video card back in 2010 cost $350 and had about the same performance as this card, so that is pretty nice.
Sleeping Dogs is a 2012 open world action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games in conjunction with Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix. The game was released on August 14, 2012, for Microsoft Windows. The game uses the Havok physics engine.
We used the Adrenaline Sleeping Dogs Benchmark tool to benchmark this game title to make sure the benchmarking was consistent. We tested with 'High' quality setting at 1280x1024 and 1920x1024 resolutions.
Benchmark Results: The EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SC was 26.5% faster than the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti SSC video card and 10.7% faster than the Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC in Sleeping Dogs with the 'High' preset at 1920x1080.
On March 5th, 2013 Square Enix released Tomb Raider, billed as a reboot of the franchise. In Tomb Raider, the player is confronted with a much younger Lara Croft who is shipwrecked and finds herself stranded on a mysterious island rife with danger, both natural and human. In contrast to the earlier games Croft is portrayed as vulnerable, acting out of necessity, desperation and sheer survival rather than for a greater cause or personal gain.
The game has been built on Crystal Dynamics's game engine called the "Crystal Engine" and the graphics look fantastic. AMD and Crystal Dyanmic's worked on a new technology called TressFX Hair, which AMD describes as “the world’s first in-game implementation of a real-time, per-strand hair physics system” for this game title. We set the image quality to ultimate for benchmarking, but we disabled TressFX Hair under the advanced tab to be fair to NVIDIA graphics cards that don't support the feature.
Benchmark Results: With 'Ultra' image quality settings and TressFX Hair disabled we found the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SC video card in the lead! It was found to be 39% faster than the Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 Dual-X OC at 1920x1080.
3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
We ran 3DMark11 with both the performance and extreme presets to see how our hardware will run.
3DMark11 Performance Benchmark Results:
Benchmark Results: The Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 Dual-X OC scored P6086 3DMarks and that was able to beat the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 TI BOOST reference cards P5945 3DMarks, but not the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SC's score of P6275 3DMarks. It is very close between these mainstream cards, which is a bit odd as the real games showed a rather large difference most the time.
3DMark11 Extreme Benchmark Results:
Benchmark Results: 3DMark11 with the Extreme Preset uses more of the video cards memory and runs at a higher resolution, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST cards start to pull away here. The EVGA GeForce GTX 650 TI BOOST SC finished with X2088, which isn't too far off that of the AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz edition card!
For testing power consumption, we took our test system and plugged it into a Kill-A-Watt power meter. For idle numbers, we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 15 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers we measured the peak wattage used by the system while four game titles at 1920x1080 by averaging the peak results recorded the highest Wattage seen on the meter for the gaming results.
Power Consumption Results: All of the current generation cards idle fairly close to the same as our system pulled between 96-101 Watts at the wall with any of the cards when at idle. In gaming we start to see the cards true colors and that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST cards do use more power in the games than the AMD Radeon HD 7790 cards. So, one of the downsides to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti is that is is a little less energy efficient when gaming and at idle all the cards are very similar. While ~44 Watts more power is a fair bit more power, does the gaming performance of the card make up for it?
Temperature & Noise Testing
Temperatures are important to enthusiasts and gamers, so we took a bit of time and did some temperature testing on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost (GK106) video cards that we have today.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Reference Card GPU-Z Information:
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SC GPU-Z Information:
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost reference card had idle temperature of 29C in a room that was 22.0C (72F). The EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SuperClocked card idled at 33C and the fan was spinning about 100RPM faster, which meant that it was hotter, but we couldn't hear a difference between the two. It was here that we noticed the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SC card uses a different GPU heatsink and a features different fan profile in the vBIOS.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Reference Card GPU-Z Information:
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SC GPU-Z Information:
When it comes to load results the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost reference card peaked at 76C and the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SuperClocked video card peaked at 80C! Once again take a look at the fan speeds. The reference card topped out at around 1700 RPM and the EVGA card went all the way up to 2040 RPM, so there is both a noise and temperature difference here.
For sound testing we use an Extech sound level meter with ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 36dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with 'A' frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.
When it comes to noise levels the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SC was louder than the reference card when at load, but was a bit quieter at idle. Maybe that fancy exhaust bracket with all the extra exhaust holes in it does make a bit of a difference when it comes to fan noise!
Overclocking The GeForce 650 Ti Boost GPU
We installed the EVGA Precision X 4.0.0 software utility to overclock both the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Superclocked video card. We didn't overclock the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost since we had the retail version by EVGA available for testing.
EVGA Precision X v4.0.0 does not let you adjust the temp target, but you can adjust the power target, GPU Clock Offset and the Memory clock offset within a certain range.
After spending an afternoon overclocking the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SC we were able to adjust the GPU clock offset by 92MHz and the memory clock offset by 200MHz. We also bumped up the power target to 110% and left the fan on auto.
With the GPU offset increased by +92 MHz we found the card often boosting up to 1306.5MHz on the core, which is impressive for a sub $170 mainstream gaming desktop graphics card. The 2GB of GDDR5 memory was running at 1603.1MHz (6412.4 MHz Effective).
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Superclocked w/ 1072MHz Core & 1502MHz Memory:
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Superclocked w/ 1164MHz Core & 1602MHz Memory:
With this overclock we were able to hit ~P6631 on 3DMark 11 with the performance preset, which is a nice increase from ~P6275! This is a around a 356 point increase in our score, which is a 5.7% improvement in performance over the cards already overclocked speeds!
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost video card uses the GK106 'Kepler' GPU and it looks like it has some overclocking headroom and it was very easy to tap into the overhead thanks to EVGA Precision X!
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB video card launched in October 2012 with a $149 suggested retail price. Here we are just five months later and we have the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 1GB for $149. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST is a far better gaming graphics card at this price point and it just goes to show power of eliminating the memory bottleneck and the higher clocks speeds of NVIDIA GPU Boost technology. Owners of the original GeForce GTX 650 Ti video card won't be happy when they read this, but if you've been waiting for something sweet to come out in the $150-$170 price range, you should have finally found it! We also like that NVIDIA included 2-way SLI support on the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST as we like to see multi-GPU support on all $150+ video cards.
We found it interesting that NVIDIA is launching the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB video cards first with cards being available for sale this morning. In early April, NVIDIA expects board partners to begin shipping 1GB versions of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST. AMD announced the Radeon HD 7790 video cards last week, but 1GB versions will be available in early April and 2GB versions will be available in late April. It looks like AMD was able to announce their new $150 video card first, but NVIDIA was able to beat them when it comes to performance and availability.
NVIDIA also has dropped the price on a number of video cards with the launch of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST, so starting today the suggest e-tail pricing (SEP) will be:
- $109 - GeForce GTX 650
- $129 - GeForce GTX 650 Ti
- $149 - GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 1GB
- $169 - GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB
- $199 - GeForce GTX 660
That is just the suggested online prices, so expect to find them even lower when rebates or propmotions are taking place. For example, right now you can buy an MSI GeForce GTX 650 1GB for $114 shipped after rebate.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST was a strong video card out of the retail box, but we were happy to find that it still had a little overclocking headroom available for enthusiasts to still have fun. We were able to overclock the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST high enough to hit 1306MHz when gaming and that is pretty impressive.
The only downside to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST is that it uses more power than the other cards at this price point. Idle is where your discrete graphics cards sits most the time and the power consumption is good, but when gaming it is around 40 Watts higher than what we see on the Radeon HD 7790, which is this cards main rival. You have to keep in mind that the TDP on this card is 134 Watts though, so the power numbers are where we'd expect them to be for a card of this power.
At the end of the day the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST is a great graphics card that starts at $149. It's basically a GeForce GTX 660 with fewer cores! This card looks like it will dominate the $149-$169 price range and might even cause AMD to adjust some prices in the near future. When companies get into price battles over your hard earned money it means you get more bang for your buck!
Legit Bottom Line: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST is basically a GeForce GTX 660 with one SMX unit disabled for $30 less money. The performance of the card is impressive, GPU temperatures are solid and it has some overclocking headroom available!