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Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Review

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Review

Manufacturer: Nvidia
UK Price (as reviewed):
£144.78 (inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): Approx. $175 (ex Tax)

Just days after AMD decided to plug a gap in the price versus performance scale of its graphics hardware with the Radeon HD 7790 1GB, Nvidia is doing the same with the newly released GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB. Like the new AMD card, the mid-range GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB is designed primarily for gamers playing at 1,920 x 1,080. Its launch comes as little surprise, not just because of recent rumours, but because of the large and long standing gap (in both price and performance) in the company's mid-range product line between the underwhelming £100 GTX 650 Ti 1GB and the dearer GTX 660 2GB.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Review
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Prices for the new card are set to start from around £144, pitching it firmly against AMD's HD 7850 2GB. We've previously recommended the 1GB SKU of the HD 7850 to those sticking solely to 1080p gaming, but AMD has recently informed us that this version of the card is soon to be discontinued, and as 2GB models can be found for close to £140, Nvidia's new card will be well positioned if it can outpace the competition from AMD. Or, at least, it would be, were it not for the fact that GTX 660 2GB cards have fallen quite drastically in price recently, as these can now also be found for a little over £140 themselves.

As with the regular GTX 650 Ti 1GB, the GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB is based on a cut down version of the 28nm Kepler GK106 GPU that's found in the GTX 660 2GB and consists of 2.54 billion transistors. There are either two GPCs divided into two SMs each, or three GPCs divided into two, one and one SM (as pictured), with the end result being a total of 768 stream processors and 64 texture units, with no difference in performance between the different chip layouts.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Review
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That's where the similarities with the original GTX 650 Ti 1GB end, however, as the hack and slash job hasn't been quite so vicious with the new card, meaning that in every other way it's actually the same as a GTX 660 2GB. For starters, Nvidia's new mid-range card comes with 2GB of GDDR5 memory as standard. Also, compared to the normal GTX 650 Ti 1GB, the Boost card has an extra 64-bit memory controller, giving it a 192-bit memory interface and an ROP count of 24, up from 16.

The Boost card's clock speeds have also been brought up to match the GTX 660 2GB, with a 5 percent increase to the core clock speed bringing it up from the GTX 650 Ti 1GB's 925MHz to 980Mhz. The keen eyed among you might also have guessed that Nvidia has added its GPU boost technology to the new card (who said hardware manufacturers weren't good at naming products?). The GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB ships with a guaranteed boost clock of 1,033Mhz, but we saw our sample hitting 1,071MHz in practice. Meanwhile, the memory is now clocked at a nice 6GHz, and this coupled with the extra memory controller increases the memory bandwidth to 144GB/sec, over two thirds more than the GTX 650 Ti 1GB.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Review Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Review
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While card designs will undoubtedly vary between Nvidia's board partners, the dual-slot reference sample measures 240mm in length. In fact, the reference design is essentially identical to that of the GTX 660 2GB, which is unsurprising given the similarities between them. A radial fan on top draws cool air in over the card's heatsink, and exhausts it through the rear I/O panel. The actual PCB is smaller than the length of the cooler, so it's reasonable to expect smaller versions of the card to be released which are more suited to small form factor builds. The card is equipped with a pair of dual-link DVI ports, a DisplayPort and an HDMI output, and, unlike the regular GTX 650 Ti 1GB, a single SLI connection too.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Review Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Review
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The memory chips are split across either side of the PCB, with four left exposed on the rear side. As with the GTX 660 2GB, 1GB of this memory is connected to one memory controller, with the remaining two controllers serving 512MB each. There are three power phases near the far side of the card for the GPU with an extra one for the memory, giving the card a total of 4+1 phase power. The VRMs also receive no direct cooling as they're not covered by the card's relatively small heatsink. Power is supplied through a single top-mounted 6-pin PCI-E connection, and the card has a TDP of 140W, again the same as the GTX 660 2GB.

Specifications

  • Graphics processor Nvidia GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB, 980MHz boosting to 1,033MHz
  • Pipeline 768 stream processors, 64 texture units, 24 ROPs
  • Memory 2GB GDDR5, 6GHz effective
  • Bandwidth 144GB/sec, 192-bit interface
  • Compatibility DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2
  • Outputs/Inputs HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-I, DVI-D
  • Power connections 1 x 6-pin, top-mounted
  • Size 240mm, dual-slot