NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650Ti Boost Reviewccokeman - March 26, 2013
Category: Video Cards
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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650Ti Boost Introduction:
Last year NVIDIA delivered the GTX 650Ti to provide a product for gamers that wanted to play the latest games but did not necessarily want to break the bank to do it. For that there is the GTX 690 and just released GTX Titan. The GTX 650Ti, meanwhile, proved to be capable of playing the latest DirectX 11 games with some of the eye candy on at a really attractive $150 price point. This made it an attractive upgrade path for those users stuck in older hardware not capable of meeting the needs of games running in a DX 11 environment. NVIDIA's product stack covered pretty much every price/performance point from the top to the bottom, yet there seems to be room in between the GTX 650Ti and the GTX 660 for a new player in the game: the GTX 650Ti Boost.
Instead of using the GK107 core like the GTX 650Ti, the GTX 650Ti Boost (confused yet?) is based on the GK106 core that supports a boost clock. That alone is going to boost (pun intended) the performance of the GTX 650Ti Boost to a higher level. Additionally NVIDIA added another gigabyte of VRAM for a total on board of 2GB running through a wider bus for increased memory bandwidth. SLI functionality was added so that in the future doubling your FPS is just another GTX 650 Ti Boost away. All to deliver a card that will play the latest games using high settings at 1080p resolutions with playable frame rates. Something last year's offering struggles to do. What good is a video card that can't give you to the FPS and eye candy for the price you need?
After AMD just launched the HD 7790 that flat outperformed the GTX 650Ti, is the GTX 650Ti Boost the solution to that problem? And at the right price point? We shall see.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650Ti Boost Closer Look:
Although NVIDIA's board partners each have their own non-reference boards available, we will be looking at the reference GTX 650Ti Boost. Comparing the GTX 650Ti Boost to the GTX 650Ti visually you get the sense that NVIDIA stepped up its game and used a larger PCB to house the power circuitry and additional gigabyte of VRAM on the card. Face on the GTX 650Ti Boost looks identical to the GTX 670 minus the additional SLI connection. From the back side the similarities continue with the short PCB and extended shrouding for the blower style fan. Measuring 9.5 inches in length the GTX 650Ti Boost will fit in a vast majority of chassis on the market. The PCB alone measures 6.75 inches so the non-reference cards will offer up even fewer challenges in smaller form factor PCs. The GTX 650Ti Boost supports the PCIe 3.0 standard with backwards compatibility for use in older hardware. Along the top of the card we see the now familiar GeForce GTX logo in NVIDIA green that shouts this is a gaming card.
Display connectivity includes a pair of Dual Link DVI ports, a single full size DisplayPort connection, and an HDMI 1.4a port that combine to support surround in a 3+1 configuration. All of the thermal load generated by the GK106 core and 2GB of memory is pushed out the venting on the mounting bracket. Traditionally this solution ends up with noise concerns but NVIDIA manages to keep this in check. The back end of the GTX 650Ti Boost is sealed up forcing all of the intake air through the heat sink on the core and out the vent.
SLI support is available on the GTX 650Ti Boost where it was not on the GTX 650Ti. Up to two GTX 650Ti Boost cards can be combined in an SLI configuration to significantly increase game play FPS and/or the visual quality settings used. A single PCIe 6-pin power connection is used to supply the additional power to the card. Total board power is 134 watts; well within the scope of the minimum power supply requirement of 450 watts.
The cooling solution employed on this card is again eerily similar to that used on the GTX 670 albeit with a smaller copper block in the base of the heat sink. The heat sink is a square block using a copper/aluminum base and aluminum fin array to discharge the thermal load from the GPU core. Along the top and sides of the heat sink are strips that seal off the open spaces between the heat sink and shroud to force as much of the airflow generated by the blower style fan through the heat sink instead of around it. Without a heat sink on it the power supply circuit uses the airflow through the shroud to cool the components.
NVIDIA's GTX 650Ti Boost is based on the GK106 Kepler core. This 2.54 billion transistor, 28nm core is equipped with four streaming multiprocessors each with 192 CUDA cores spread out between either two or three Graphics Processing Clusters, 64 texture units, 24 ROP units, 384KB of shared L2 cache and 2GB of GDDR5 memory running through a 3x64-bit (192-bit) bus. The GTX 650Ti did not support a Boost clock, which is a change here with the GTX 650Ti Boost. Clock speeds see an increase from 925MHz to a 980MHz base on the core with a boost clock of up to 1033MHz when kept within the temperature and power limits of the core. An increase in the frame buffer size from 1GB to 2GB with an increase in speed from an effective 5400MHz to 6008MHz are also points of difference on the GTX 650Ti Boost. That's not where the differences end with increases in the L2 cache size, ROPs, and memory bus width. For this card NVIDIA has chosen to go with Samsung K4G20325FD-FC03 VRAM rated at 1500MHz (6000MHz effective).
Reference versions are good, solid performing cards but some times we want a little more. Fortunately NVIDIA's board partners have have that need covered right out of the gate with some non reference versions that offer improved cooling and power circuits, not to mention having a lot more visual appeal. ASUS, MSI, EVGA, Galaxy, and Zotac are some of the players with offerings.
Knowing what AMD just delivered for consumers it ought to prove interesting to see just where NVIDIA places its next bet to urge consumers to step up to the latest graphics card in the sub $200 range.