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Nvidia GTX 650 Ti Boost Review

 
The current line of Nvidia’s Kepler based GPUs has been nothing short of impressive, to say the least. I don’t think I can recall another time in my PC gaming life where power and performance came at not only such a low cost, but also lower power consumption.
 
This last year has seen an all-out war between Nvidia and AMD with their GPUs. “You made 1080p PC gaming affordable? Now I’m going to make 1080p PC gaming affordable. You did with less power consumption? Now I’m going to do it with less power consumption. You released a super mega GPU for home gamers? Me too!” You know what I like to think of this war as? An awesome time for us gamers on the receiving end. Competition always brings out everyone’s A game, and that’s what we are seeing right here, right now.
 

*These board shots are reference only; partner boards will vary*
*These board shots are reference only; partner boards will vary*

 
Affordable high-end PC gaming now sees another entry in the form of the GTX 650 Ti Boost GPU. Taking the GTX 650 Ti and bumping it up even further, the Boost gives you:
 
Graphics Processing Clusters – 2 or 3
Streaming Multiprocessors – 4
CUDA Cores – 768
Texture Units – 64
ROP Units – 24
Base Clock – 980 MHz
Boost Clock – 1033 MHz
Memory Clock (Data rate) – 6008 MHz
L2 Cache Size – 384K
Total Video Memory – 2048MB GDDR5
Memory Interface – 192-bit
Total Memory Bandwidth – 144.2 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear) – 62.7 GigaTexels/sec
Fabrication Process – 28 nm
Transistor Count – 2.54 Billion
Connectors – 2 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI 1 x DisplayPort
Form Factor – Dual Slot
Power Connectors – One 6-pin
Recommended Power Supply – 450 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP) – 134 Watts
Thermal Threshold2 – 98° C
 
As you can see, the Boost pumps things up to nearly the capacity of the GTX 660, the card I am currently running, but at a fraction of the cost. While my GPU (660 SC 2GB) currently retails for $224 (not bad at all for what it can do), the 650 ti Boost retails for as low as $149 (1 GB) and up to $169 (2 GB). That’s cheaper than some of my daughter’s baby toys.
 
So what exactly does a performance GPU for under $200 get you? Without getting too embroiled in numbers and specs, it gets you:
 
– A 30-40% increase in speed over the 650 Ti
– 60% more memory bandwidth than the 650 Ti
– 6x the speed over 9600 GT, 3x over GTX 550 Ti
– 12% faster than Radeon 7850 testing 10 games (BF3, AC III, Crysis 3, BL2, StarCraft 2, FC3, Batman: AC, Skyrim, BlOps2, F1: 2012)
 
And in layman’s terms, you get the ability to play the games below in the following settings (give or take your setup, of course):
 
– Far Cry 3 (Max Settings, 1920×1080, 8xAA/16xAF) 28.7 FPS
– Crysis 3 (High Preset, 1920×1080, 4xSMAA/16xAF) 31.7 FPS
– Batman: Arkham City (Very High Settings, 1920×1080, 4xAA/16xAF) 88 FPS
– Assassin’s Creed 3 (Very High Settings, 1920×1080, Very HighAA/16xAF) 38.9 FPS
– Battlefield 3 (Ultra Settings, 1920×1080, 4xAA/16xAF) 48.7 FPS
– Max Payne 3 (Very High Settings, 1920×1080, 4xAA/16xAF) 34.3 FPS
– F1: 2012 (Ultra Settings, 1920×1080, 4xAA/16xAF) 80 FPS
– Just Cause 2 (Concrete Jungle, 1920×1080, 4xAA/16xAF) 58.3
– Skyrim (Ultra Indoors, 1920×1080, 4xAA/16xAF) 72.3 FPS
– Borderlands 2 (Max Settings, Low PhysX, 1920×1080, 8xAA/16xAF) 105.9 FPS
 
I ran my own tests with the the same games and was able to achieve some slightly better results (again, your results will vary given your setup). I also ran a number of benchmarks with 3DMark Vantage. For those of you familiar with the program, I ran the demo version with the three tests: Ice Storm, Cloud Gate, and Fire Strike. Each test got increasingly more intense, with Ice Storm getting a great score (76228), Cloud Gate getting a considerable lower score (4874), and Fire Storm nearly melting my system and nearly unwatchable (4183). I won’t bore you with details, but let me put it to you this way; Fire Storm ran at an average of 8 FPS. So this basically means the best of the best of the best would probably not work with a 650 Ti Boost, but then again, that should come as no surprise, right? If you want the best, get a Titan or a GTX 690.
 
For the rest of us that might not have a grand to drop on a GPU, the 650 Ti Boost is more than worth the ultra-low price tag. If you’re currently running an integrated graphics card or an older generation card (like a GTX 260), then this should be a no brainer. In fact, for this price, the 650 Ti Boost, wouldn’t even be a bad card to have dedicated solely to PhysX. That’s the situation I’m in right now. I have a GTX 660 and since I can’t SLI the two cards (other than via hacking), I popped the 650 Ti Boost in after my tests alongside my existing card and dedicated it PhysX and another monitor. It makes a pretty significant difference compared to having PhysX running from the CPU. I’m able to do a bit more with games like Batman: Arkham City and Mirror’s Edge, for instance.
 
GeForce_GTX_650_Ti_BOOST_F
 
It really comes down to this; if you’re a hardcore PC gamer tech nut-type, then you probably don’t need to read this. You already know what you’re going to get, and chances are, you’ve already got it. You’re probably the person rocking multiple GTX 690s via SLI and a multiple monitor setup. But what about the person who is just starting to dabble in PC gaming? The person who grew up playing mainly console games, but has a halfway capable PC that can run these current games; maybe not at the optimal settings, but at least they run at low to medium settings? What about those folks that can’t afford anything more than $300?
 
For you folks, you’ve got a LOT of choices just from Nvidia’s line of GPUs. You can choose from anything between the GTX 650, 650 Ti, 660, 660 Ti, and now the 650 Ti Boost. For the performance that you get with the prices that you’re paying, it’s hard to find a better value than the 650 Ti Boost. It’s affordable, powerful, quiet, and doesn’t eat up a ton of power. Also, with the ability to SLI (which the 650 was not able to do), you’d be able to do some pretty beefy things at a fraction of the cost of some of the higher end cards.
 
In my case, I’m sticking with my 660, but that 650 Ti Boost is going straight into my “Steambox” that I’m building for my living room whenever it’s ready to go. In the meantime, it’ll be dedicated to PhysX.
 
For more information including detailed specs, please check out the GTX 650 Ti Boost site.
 
BENCHMARKS
 
SYSTEM
– Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 970 @ 3.2GHz
– NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST
– 18GB DDR3 RAM
– Windows 8
 
Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
Render: Direct3D11
Mode: 1920×1067 8xAA windowed
Quality: Ultra
Tessellation: Extreme
 
RESULTS
FPS: 23.3
Score: 586
Min FPS: 11.8
Max FPS: 50.8
 
Tomb Raider
All settings max
Avg. 45.9 FPS
 
3DMark Vantage (Demo)
– Ice Storm (76228)
– Cloud Gate (4874)
– Fire Strike (4183)
 
DiRT 3
All settings max
Min. FPS – 42.5
Max. FPS – 55.2
Avg. FPS – 52.3