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With two new graphics cards in the lab, we'll analyze their performance one card at a time. First up is the GeForce GTX 650.
The GK107-based GeForce GTX 650, at $110, does battle with AMD's Radeon HD 7750. It's about as fast as the similarly-priced competition on average, and notably faster than the GeForce GTS 450.
We were frankly a little surprised to see the GeForce GTX 550 Ti do better. But, at $120, it's too close to the $130 Radeon HD 7770, which is clearly superior.
In any case, we'd happily endorse the $110 GeForce GTX 650 as an alternative to AMD's Radeon HD 7750, which also retains its recommendation. Now, let's look at the GeForce GTX 660.
Nvidia's new retail GeForce GTX 660 delivers impressive performance for $230, and it easily outperforms the $210 Radeon HD 7850, falling just shy of the $260 Radeon HD 7870. It earns a recommendation between AMD's competing price points.
In addition, we've seen that the GeForce GTX 660's overclocking headroom allows it to approach the performance of a pricier GeForce GTX 660 Ti at its stock clock rates. It remains to be seen how retail cards compare.
As an aside, we're showing the Radeon HD 7870 slightly behind the GeForce GTX 660 Ti in this chart. Our GeForce GTX 660 Ti launch coverage saw the Radeon a few points ahead, and we noted that the situation could change based on the games, settings, and resolutions measured. On average, these cards perform very similarly, no matter how you break things down.
Interestingly, both Nvidia and AMD have serviced the $150 to $200 segment with previous-generation cards like the Radeon HD 6870 and GeForce GTX 560, and we wonder if we'll ever see a crippled GeForce GTX 660 or Radeon HD 7850 to take over the same price point.
It's clear that a $110 GeForce GTX 650 and $230 GeForce GTX 660 are strong additions to Nvidia's portfolio. Based on the company's track record with 600-series cards so far (aside from the GeForce GTX 680, that is), we have no reason to believe supply will be problematic. We're happy to see Kepler-based mainstream cards, both of which are able to game at 1920x1080, fill in more of the pricing band.