MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE Video Card Review

Today we evaluate MSI's high-end GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST line with the flagship overclocked Gaming Edition MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE. With falling prices on AMD Radeon video cards we will compare it to the AMD Radeon HD 7850 to see which will emerge as the victor in the sub-$200 price price range.

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Gameplay Summary

Metro: Last Light : In Metro: Last Light, the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC was playable at 1920x1080 with Quality set to Very High and Tessellation set to Very High. The AMD Radeon HD 7850 was also playable at 1920x1080 but required reducing Tessellation to Normal. Overclocking the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC did not result in an improvement in game play.

Tomb Raider : In Tomb Raider, the AMD Radeon HD 7850 and MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC were playable at 1920x1080 with FXAA and all in game option set to maximum values excluding TressFX. Overclocking the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC resulted in a frame rate increase but did not allow a higher level of game play settings to be utilized.

Crysis 3 : In Crysis 3, the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC was playable at 1920x1080 with 2X SMAA, 16X AF and system spec set to high. The AMD Radeon HD 7850 was playable at the same settings, except for system spec was reduced to medium. Overclocking the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC increased performance but did not allow the very high system spec option to be selected.

Far Cry 3 : In Far Cry 3, the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC and AMD Radeon HD 7850 was playable at 1920x1080 at the ultra presets with SSAO and Enhanced Alpha to Coverage enabled. Overclocking the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC provided enough of a performance boost to upgrade ambient occlusion to HDAO.

Hitman: Absolution : In Hitman, the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC was playable at 1920x1080 with 2X MSAA and all other game options set to maximum levels. The AMD Radeon HD 7850 was able to improve upon that by being playable at 2560x1600 with FXAA and all other game options set to maximum levels. Overclocking the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC provided a slight performance increase but did not allow a higher level of graphics settings to be configured.


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Overclocking

We have evaluated so far three brand name retail GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST video cards to date. We've looked at the GALAXY GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST and the ASUS GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST DirectCU II OC and now we have evaluated the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE. We are able to state that the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC ships with the best factory overclock that has been tested by us.

Based on our previous experiences, we did not have much hope for a high overclock, but we were ultimately successful in pushing the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE to the highest (by a very small margin) stable overclock that we have seen on this class of video card. We ended up with a final observed GPU clock of 1228MHz, a 65MHz increase over factory overclock and nearly 200MHz over the minimum boost speed provided by the stock GPU. We were also able to increase memory 200MHz to a 6.2GHz GDDR5 effective rate.

This overclock translated into slightly better performance, and the occasional small bump in game play settings, but since it was coming from such a big factory overclock, there wasn't much room left in the GPU. We are completely impressed by this overclock, and the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE wins so far in overclocking results, and out-of-box performance.

Power and Temperature

The MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE drew 252W of total system wattage from the wall under full load, which came in under the AMD Radeon HD 7850 at 260W. From a temperature perspective, the cooler performed well at stock and overclocked speeds and kept it at a reasonable 60 degrees Celsius under full load and holding steady at the same temperature during overclocking. The fans stayed quiet at all times during the evaluation. Overclocking the card resulted in an additional 15W of power usage with still 60c temperatures. That means the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE is not only faster than the AMD Radeon HD 7850, but also more efficient in power and temperature.


The Bottom Line

The MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE can be found for $174.99 after a $10 MIR. This price is in-line with other NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST based video cards. That means that the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE does not demand a price premium over other GTX 650 Ti BOOST based video cards. This is good news then, as the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE is one of the fastest GTX 650 Ti BOOST based video card out-of-the-box, and achieved the highest overclock we've experienced yet.

The AMD Radeon HD 7850 with 2GB of GDDR5 (with prices from $150 to the exact same price of the card evaluated today) has been falling in price over the past few months, bringing it to price parity with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST based video cards. Prior to those price changes, the AMD Radeon HD 7790 based video cards were the direct comparison cards based upon price, and were routinely frog stomped by its Kepler based opponent. Overall, Radeon HD 7850 is a much better competitor, performance wise, to the GeForce GTX 650 TI BOOST. It's a lot better than the Radeon HD 7790, which was just killed by the GTX 650 Ti BOOST. However, even though it is better competition, it still comes out under-performing the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE. We experienced higher and better gameplay settings with the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE that resulted in a better gameplay experience.

At the end of the day, the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC provides the highest factory overclock of any NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST card that we have strapped to our review bench thus far and is priced on par with stock clocked GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST video cards. That makes the MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE a fantastic value for your hard earned dollars. If you are trying to decide between the AMD Radeon HD 7850 or a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST based video card, we'd opt for the GTX 650 Ti BOOST. The MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE would be a perfect selection for the best gameplay under $200.

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MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE

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