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GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Review: A Budget-Oriented GK106-Based Boss

GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Review: A Budget-Oriented GK106-Based Boss
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Less than one week after AMD's Radeon HD 7790 launch, Nvidia is ready with a GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost. Can the company parlay another GK106-based card into something more balanced than GeForce GTX 650 Ti, ousting the Radeon HD 7850 for less money?

Rare is it that one graphics processor vendor holds onto an important price segment uncontested. However, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 650 Ti was the only compelling $150 card for darned near six months. Similarly, AMD's Radeon HD 7850 locked down the segment right above that, ranging between $175 and $200, depending on how much memory you wanted.

Less than a week ago, though, AMD introduced its Radeon HD 7790 for $150, encroaching on previously uncontested space. Based on a new Bonaire GPU, the first member of AMD's Sea Islands family, it fired a shot across Nvidia's bow. And now Nvidia fires back with the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost, jockeying for attention in the same market as the Radeon HD 7850.

While AMD manufactured a new ASIC for its Radeon HD 7790, Nvidia is recycling the GK106 graphics processor already featured on the GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660, both of which surround the Radeon HD 7850's $175 to $200 price range. It makes sense to employ that same, successful graphics processor to address the hole in Nvidia's line-up, and that's what the company is doing with its latest offering.

Put simply, GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost combines the setup and shader configuration of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 650 Ti with the 660's back-end and 192-bit memory interface. This is a good thing, we think. On several occasions, we've seen the GeForce GTX 650 Ti limited by relatively low memory bandwidth. Although GK106's third asymmetrical GPC is disabled, all of the chip's ROP partitions and 64-bit memory controllers are left intact. The result is four streaming multiprocessors totaling 768 CUDA cores and 64 texture units. Three ROP clusters output up to 24 full-color raster operations per clock, and the aggregate memory interface is 192-bits wide thanks to a trio of 64-bit controllers.

In addition, the new card's core clock is up to 980 MHz, which is 55 MHz more than the GeForce GTX 650 Ti and identical to the 660. As its name indicates, Nvidia enables GPU Boost on this model, claiming that the core typically sees at least 1,033 MHz. Combine that with the same 1,502 MHz GDDR5 memory (yielding 144.2 GB/s of bandwidth) found on GeForce GTX 660, and there's good reason to be optimistic about the balance struck by GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost. In fact, based on its specifications, we're expecting this card to perform more like the GeForce GTX 660 than the 650 Ti. The benchmarks will show whether that's the case, though.

This is GK106's third outing, so there aren't any new features to discuss, really. If you want to know more about this GPU, check out Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 and 660 Review: Kepler at $110 and $230.


GeForce GTX 650 TiGeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost
GeForce GTX 660Radeon HD 7850
Shader Cores
768768960
1,024
Texture Units
6464
80
64
Color ROPs
1624
24
32
Fabrication process
28 nm
28 nm28 nm28 nm
Core/Boost Clock
925 MHz980/1,033 MHz980/1,033 MHz
860 MHz
Memory Clock
1,350 MHz GDDR51,502 MHz GDDR5
1,502 MHz GDDR5
1,200 MHz GDDR5
Memory Bus
128-bit
192-bit
192-bit
256-bit
Memory Bandwidth
86.4 GB/s144.2 GB/s144.2 GB/s153.6 GB/s
Graphics RAM
1 or 2 GB GDDR5
 1 or 2 GB GDDR5
2 GB GDDR5
1 or 2 GB GDDR5
Power Connectors
1 x 6-pin1 x 6-pin
1 x 6-pin1 x 6-pin
Maximum TDP
110 W134 W140 W
130 W
Price
$140 - $180 (Newegg)
1 GB: $150 (MSRP)
2 GB: $170 (MSRP)
$215 - $280 (Newegg)
$180 - $200 (Newegg)


The differences between Nvidia's cards are important, but we're far more interested to know how GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost fares against the Radeon HD 7850.

GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost: The Reference Card

Considering that the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost employs the same GPU and memory interface, we're not surprised that it looks a lot like Nvidia's GeForce GTX 660 reference card. There's not a single feature distinguishing one from the other. The PCB even appears to sport the same traces.

The circuit board plus Nvidia's cooling hardware measures 9.5" x 4.5" x 1.5".

As we saw on the GeForce GTX 660, this card's PCB is only 7" long, with almost 3" of overhang attributable to the fan and shroud. There are GeForce GTX 660 models available with smaller coolers, so it's likely that shortened GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost cards will surface, too.

Four of this model's memory modules are easy to spot, uncovered, on the back of the board.

Nvidia's reference GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost comes equipped with two dual-link DVI ports, one HDMI port, and DisplayPort output, matching the GeForce GTX 660. Both models support up to four monitors at a time.

This card bears the same 134 W as GeForce GTX 660. It likewise requires one six-pin auxiliary power cable.

A single 65 mm fan keeps the card cool, while exhausting heated air out through its I/O bracket. A single SLI header indicates support for dual-card configurations, and simultaneously tells us that three- and four-GPU arrays are not possible.

Display 146 Comments.
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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    Memnarchon , March 26, 2013 6:17 AM
    Souv_90anandtech review is out for 650 ti boost...just faster than 7790 and slower than 7850 in every games tested only except bf3 and Shogunhttp://www.anandtech.com/show/6838 [...] st-review-(wonder why tom's review is swaying more in favour of kepler everytime I see)

    Techpowerup said also that 650ti boost is faster than 7850.
    edit: hardwarecanucks / PCPerspective. A lot of sites agree with Tom's, 7850 and 650ti boost are about the same in performance.

    But the point is that is similar to 7850 while its cheaper. Now that's what I wanted to see when I was saying we need better performance for $$$. Now lets see AMD dropping its prices too so we can have a sweat war between them that profits our wallet :D .
  • 12 Hide
    Henrik Olsson , March 26, 2013 6:41 AM
    from reviews around the web the GTX 650 ti boost is trading blows with the 7850 very well. i just gotta say it took nvidia awhile to get back into the game after AMD lowerd the pricing of there cards. good to see some competion again insted of just going "get the AMD card they are cheaper"
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    barto , March 26, 2013 6:04 AM
    Let the battle begin!
  • 7 Hide
    Souv_90 , March 26, 2013 6:10 AM
    anandtech review is out for 650 ti boost...just faster than 7790 and slower than 7850 in every games tested only except bf3 and Shogun

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6838/nvidia-geforce-gtx-650-ti-boost-review-

    (wonder why tom's review is swaying more in favour of kepler everytime I see)
  • 9 Hide
    EzioAs , March 26, 2013 6:13 AM
    This card pricing seems a little too good that it kinda makes me regret getting the GTX660 just a while ago. Damn it, I hate the Kepler series and their pricing :/ 

    Although I can't say the same about the power consumption and some part in me actually hoped and expected the card would come with a game bundle.
  • 16 Hide
    Memnarchon , March 26, 2013 6:17 AM
    Souv_90anandtech review is out for 650 ti boost...just faster than 7790 and slower than 7850 in every games tested only except bf3 and Shogunhttp://www.anandtech.com/show/6838 [...] st-review-(wonder why tom's review is swaying more in favour of kepler everytime I see)

    Techpowerup said also that 650ti boost is faster than 7850.
    edit: hardwarecanucks / PCPerspective. A lot of sites agree with Tom's, 7850 and 650ti boost are about the same in performance.

    But the point is that is similar to 7850 while its cheaper. Now that's what I wanted to see when I was saying we need better performance for $$$. Now lets see AMD dropping its prices too so we can have a sweat war between them that profits our wallet :D .
  • -4 Hide
    tomfreak , March 26, 2013 6:20 AM
    It looks to me form the chart except the 7900. AMD GCN is are actually far more efficient here. Better compute + better performance/watt. So Nvidia taunting about their 'most efficient GPU' seems got defeated again. I wonder what if AMD make 7900 a 1.5x of 7800.

    I still do not like the idea of Odd memory configuration. 1GB/2GB @ 192bit. The last 512MB from 2GB model is only getting 64bit memory bandwidth. Why cant they offer a a proper 1.5GB version @ middle price $159?

    Tomshardware fail to bench 2GB 7850. I like to see that vs 2GB 650Ti Boost.
  • 2 Hide
    AMDRadeonHD , March 26, 2013 6:27 AM
    it beats the 7790, 192 bit+2gb, so awesome...
  • 3 Hide
    pcperson7 , March 26, 2013 6:40 AM
    Watch out gtx 660!
  • 12 Hide
    Henrik Olsson , March 26, 2013 6:41 AM
    from reviews around the web the GTX 650 ti boost is trading blows with the 7850 very well. i just gotta say it took nvidia awhile to get back into the game after AMD lowerd the pricing of there cards. good to see some competion again insted of just going "get the AMD card they are cheaper"
  • 3 Hide
    de5_Roy , March 26, 2013 6:43 AM
    darn it. i was enjoying reading the review considering i've been waiting to se how this card performs ever since i heard of it. 192bit interface with a cut-down gk106 under $170 and sli - makes gtx 650ti irrelevant and puts a good deal of hurt on the 128bit 7790 in terms of config. i doubt gtx650tiboost can outperform a 7790 in compute tasks but this is a gaming gfx card above all. this seems like a good proposition for budget 1080p gaming, so far.

    now, if amd brings back 7850 1gb, it'd be awesome (i don't buy the 'lack of gddr5 chips' excuse for a second).

    will there be gtx650tiboost sli performance analysis vs 7790 cfx and 7850 1gb cfx? hopefully nvidia has good drivers available because the sub $200 gfx card price war just got heated up.

    edit: imho nvidia is late to the sub $200 gfx card price war. this card shoulda come out instead of gtx 650ti (128bit). amd should be updating with new gcn cards soon while kepler 2.0 seems nowhere in sight. better late(!) than never, i guess..
  • 9 Hide
    CrisisCauser , March 26, 2013 6:43 AM
    The 7850 has a 256-bit bus, not 128-bit. Please fix your chart on page 1.
  • 0 Hide
    zooted , March 26, 2013 6:46 AM
    Nice, I like seeing the battle begin. Just like the batter of 6850/gtx460. I am really looking forward to see what both the 7790 and 650ti boost can do on non-beta drivers.
  • 0 Hide
    FinneousPJ , March 26, 2013 6:59 AM
    I'd say the 7850 is still more worthwhile since it should respond to overclocking better.
  • 6 Hide
    tomfreak , March 26, 2013 7:03 AM
    FinneousPJI'd say the 7850 is still more worthwhile since it should respond to overclocking better.
    it consume less power as well, it give free AAA bundle games. So the value are still better.
  • 0 Hide
    horaciopz , March 26, 2013 7:17 AM
    If it for Bandwidth and memory, still 7850 seems a better buy... I mean, comparing a 1000mhz core clock HD7850 vs a 1000mhz core clock GTX 650ti boots and we will see how the AMD card overcome and as soon as we apply antialising and stuff like that. Also When we overclock memory, the bigger bus width will help a lot on performance. But, we really need about pricing, for 150 bucks this card will have an upper hand against the HD7850 1GB...
  • 3 Hide
    zooted , March 26, 2013 7:19 AM
    I figured amd would release a 7850 ghz addition considering how easily they reach 1ghz+ with out much effort.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , March 26, 2013 7:23 AM
    BigMack70I feel like this has been the general theme of this 6xx/7xxx round between AMD and Nvidia... AMD releases something that's good but fairly conservative, and then Nvidia soon after comes in and just embarrasses them and makes AMD totally change up their pricing structure.I don't really mean that as a knock on AMD's cards/etc, just that I wish AMD would get a little more aggressive with their product launches... it's like they don't expect Nvidia to retaliate and they don't even try to anticipate what's coming.Great to see Nvidia getting more competitive in sub-$200 space where they are typically horrible. Now, if they could just release something to bring competition to the $80-100 space, the consumer will really have a win on their hands... competition at all price points!


    Well, in the $80-100 space, Nvidia at least has GT 640 GDDR5s and probably a few GTX 650s, granted that the GTX 650 Ti's price drop makes them even less relevant.
  • -5 Hide
    Novuake , March 26, 2013 7:25 AM
    This is gonna be a good old graphics battle, its a shame I already own 2 HD7950s. COul have saved some seriosu cash.
  • 4 Hide
    cleeve , March 26, 2013 7:30 AM
    CrisisCauserThe 7850 has a 256-bit bus, not 128-bit. Please fix your chart on page 1.


    Doh! Fixed, thx. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    tuxborg , March 26, 2013 7:32 AM
    What remains of the free market is a wonderful thing.
  • 3 Hide
    blazorthon , March 26, 2013 7:32 AM
    tomfreakIt looks to me form the chart except the 7900. AMD GCN is are actually far more efficient here. Better compute + better performance/watt. So Nvidia taunting about their 'most efficient GPU' seems got defeated again. I wonder what if AMD make 7900 a 1.5x of 7800. I still do not like the idea of Odd memory configuration. 1GB/2GB @ 192bit. The last 512MB from 2GB model is only getting 64bit memory bandwidth. Why cant they offer a a proper 1.5GB version @ middle price $159?Tomshardware fail to bench 2GB 7850. I like to see that vs 2GB 650Ti Boost.


    The memory capacity difference really doesn't matter for this article. The 2GB version of the 7850 doesn't perform any better than the 1GB version, it simply doesn't get slammed in a few VRAM capacity-heavy situations whereas the 7850 1GB does (none of which are in this article anyway).
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