Nvidia Slips Volta NVENC Into GeForce GTX 1650 Instead Of Turing NVENC

For reasons unknown to us, Nvidia's latest GeForce GTX 1650 (full review here) entry-level gaming graphics card is packing the old Volta NVENC (Nvidia encoder) instead of the latest Turing NVENC.

(Image credit: Nvidia)

In case you're not familiar with NVENC, it's basically a proprietary encoder that's inherent to Nvidia graphics cards that allow them to execute video encoding workloads. The objective is to offload the video encoding task from the processor to free up resources. The Nvidia NVENC encoder is popular with users of streaming, capturing and encoding programs like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), Wirecast, Bandicam, HandBrake or Adobe Premiere.

Starting from Kepler and continuing to Turing, each graphics card microarchitecture from Nvidia brought along its own version of the NVENC. It's common assumption that if a graphics card is based on a certain microarchitecture, it would logically feature the respective iteration of that encoder. However, the GeForce GTX 1650 seems to be the black sheep of the GeForce GTX 16-series family.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 GeForce GTX 1650GeForce GTX 1660GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
Architecture (GPU)Turing (TU117)Turing (TU116)Turing (TU116)
CUDA Cores89614081536
Tensor CoresN/AN/AN/A
Texture Units568896
Base Clock Rate1485 MHz1530 MHz1500 MHz
GPU Boost Rate1665 MHz1785 MHz1770 MHz
Memory Capacity4GB GDDR56GB GDDR56GB GDDR6
Memory Clock8 Gbps8 Gbps12 Gbps
Memory Bus128-bit192-bit192-bit
Memory Bandwidth128 GB/s192 GB/s288 GB/s
L2 Cache1MB1.5MB1.5MB
Transistor Count4.7 billion6.6 billion6.6 billion
Die Size200 mm²284 mm²284 mm²
SLI SupportNoNoNo
Nvidia Encoder (NVENC)VoltaTuringTuring

According to Nvidia's official specifications, the GeForce GTX 1650 employs the Volta NVENC instead of the Turing NVENC. Nvidia's decision makes no sense at all especially when the GeForce GTX 1660 and GTX 1660 Ti both feature the Turing NVENC. A possible explanation could be that Nvidia is trying to minimize costs to maximize the profits on the GeForce GTX 1650.

Nvidia states that the Volta NVENC's performance is right in the alley of the Pascal NVENC. However, the Turing NVENC is up to 15 percent more efficient than the Volta NVENC and also brings a few improvements to combat artifacting. It isn't a huge deal-breaker if you don't plan on using the NVENC feature on the GeForce GTX 1650. But then again, if you're paying for a next-generation graphics card, you would expect it to come with the latest features.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.