NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Card Review

NVIDIA is launching the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost today. This video card is priced in the $149-$169 price range, and should give the $150 price segment another shakedown. Does it compare to the Radeon HD 7790, or is it on the level of the more expensive Radeon HD 7850? We will find out in today's latest games, you may be surprised.


It's a busy week for gamers looking at new video card options in the $150 price range. It’s been only four days since the competition launched its new AMD Radeon HD 7790 video card with an MSRP of $149 for 1GB models. This video card boosted AMD’s performance at $150 by 30% in games compared to the prior Radeon HD 7770.

We evaluated the new Radeon HD 7790 using a retail ASUS Radeon HD 7790 DirectCU II OC video card, which had a slight out-of-box overclock. We found the new Radeon HD 7790 to be a capable video card of finally matching, and even besting in some games, the performance of NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 650 Ti. The GeForce GTX 650 Ti was already sitting at a higher performance profile than the Radeon HD 7770, and the HD7790 brought AMD up to that level finally. However, we mentioned in the conclusion that the Radeon HD 7790 was riding the fence on performance. It wouldn’t take much from NVIDIA to swing the gate back to their favor.

We gave the Radeon HD 7790 a HardOCP Enthusiast Silver award for bringing performance from AMD up to the competition, and providing a solid gameplay experience in today’s games. What we have to show you today, supersedes the Radeon HD 7790 for sure, in several ways. Today, NVIDIA’s new GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost is the second video card to raise the bar at the $150 price segment, and it’s raising it much higher than the Radeon HD 7790 did.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost

First let’s talk price, this is one of the most exciting features of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost. There will be 1GB and 2GB models, but the standard default configuration is 2GB on most cards. The 1GB models will MSRP for $149, exactly the same price as the 1GB Radeon HD 7790’s. The 2GB models will MSRP for $169, only $20 more.

This is important to note, because at these prices you’d think the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost was geared to kick the Radeon HD 7790’s butt. However, what you are going to find out, is that it gets even better than that, in fact, we are talking competition with the Radeon HD 7850. The Radeon HD 7850 starts, at the lowest price right now for 1GB models, at $179, and for 2GB models starts at $185 and goes upward above $200.

That means, even the 2GB GeForce GTX 650 Ti is cheaper than the 1GB Radeon HD 7850. This will become important to keep in the back of your mind as you look through the performance on the gameplay pages.

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You can look at the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost like a cut down GeForce GTX 660, it shares the same memory configuration, with one SMX unit removed. In fact GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost is a GK106 variant. There are four SMX units, there are 768 CUDA Cores, the base clock runs at 980MHz, and as the name suggest this video card has GPU Boost. GPU Boost is at 1033MHz, though it will run higher in actual games. There is 2GB of RAM on board on a 192-bit memory bus at 6GHz.

New to the GTX 650 Ti is also SLI support. The original GeForce GTX 650 Ti did not support SLI, this one does. Only one 6-pin power connector is required, and the TDP is 140W. Things are best expressed in a side-by-side comparison table, so we created one for you. Finally, you will find all of NVIDIA’s technologies supported on the GTX 650 Ti such as Adaptive V-Sync, TXAA, PhysX, 3D Vision, GPU Boost and SLI.

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Above you can get a better picture of how the specifications compare. The GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost contains 2,540M transistors; this is the same as the GTX 650 Ti, and more than the Radeon HD 7790, but less than the Radeon HD 7850. On engine clock, the new GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost supports GPU Boost, which means it will run between 980MHz at its base, to 1033MHz and possibly even higher in the real-world. Higher it went, and we’ll show you the actual speed on the overclocking page. It contains the same CUDA core count as the GTX 650 Ti. However, it does gain more ROPs. Compared to the Radeon HD 7790, the GTX 650 Ti Boost has more ROPs and texture units. It matches the HD 7850 on texture units, but the 7850 has more ROPs.

The original GTX 650 Ti has a 128-bit memory bus, just like the new Radeon HD 7790. The GTX 650 Ti Boost has a 192-bit memory bus, and the HD 7850 has a 256-bit memory bus. Memory bandwidth is 144GB/sec on the GTX 650 Ti Boost versus 86GB/sec on the GTX 650 Ti. The new GTX 650 Ti Boost also has a huge leg up on memory bandwidth compared to the new Radeon HD 7790.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Pictures

Today we have a reference GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost to evaluate for you. We were hoping to have a retail video card, but it unfortunately did not arrive in time. We will have retail video card reviews in the future. For now, this reference video card gives us a good baseline of performance with standard cooling and clock speeds. Even at this stock performance, you are about to see a smack down. It makes us excited about what customized video cards might be able to deliver.

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The most outstanding visual feature of this card is that the printed circuit board (PCB) is a lot shorter than the entire heatsink and fan assembly. This is a short video card. The PCB measures only 7 inches long, and to the edge of the heatsink shroud is 9.75 inches. Therefore, we should see some short video cards with custom models, and possibly even some longer models with custom PCBs. The model we have today has 2GB of RAM on board. These are common 6GHz memory chips found on many of NVIDIA’s video cards.

From top to bottom the GeForce GTX lineup now consists of:

GeForce GTX 690


GeForce GTX 680

GeForce GTX 670

GeForce GTX 660 Ti

GeForce GTX 660

GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST

GeForce GTX 650 Ti

GeForce GTX 650

GeForce GT 640

GeForce GT 630

GeForce GT 620

GeForce GT 610