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MSI GTX 650 Power Edition OC Review

Price: $129.99


Usually new series start off with their high end offerings and then work their way to mid-range and low-end graphics cards, followed by a refresh. The performance of the high performance cards entice customers and set a pace for the series. Most consumers opt for the more affordable cards. NVIDIA has begun filling in the mid- and low-range cards where it previously had a gap. Coming in above the GT 640 and below the GTX 660 is the new GTX 650 up for review here! The GTX 650 is very closely related to the GT 640 as it too is equipped with the new GK107 core. The card has 384 Stream Processors on a 28nm die with 1GB of GDDR5, a step above the GDDR3 of the GT 640. Memory Bus is still 128-bit. The GTX 660 is quite a bit above in terms of performance since it has 960 Stream Processors, to start listing the differences.

MSI has taken the GTX 650 and applied its Power Edition styling to it similar to the MSI HD R7770 reviewed earlier in the year. A higher clock speed, improved PCB components, and a large heat sink that is able to be custom tailored for short length or high airflow suggest that this card should perform and overclock far better than a stock reference offering!


Closer Look:

The MSI GTX 650 box is primarily black, blue, and green. A large golden “P” sits in the center since this is a Power Edition card, meaning it is overclocked and equipped with the customizable TransThermal cooler. MSI provides a three-year warranty to North American customers as shown at the top right. The lower half of the front boldly states the model – GTX 650 Power Edition, and a few specifications: 1GB GDDR5 memory, PCI-E 3.0 connection, and Microsoft DirectX 11 supported. Flipping over to the back side shows some of the features and specifications listed out, with some of the key features listed out in 30 languages. At the top left a badge shows that the MSI Military Class III components are equipped on this card. These DOD certified components include Hi-C Capacitors, Super Ferrite Chokes, and Solid capacitors that aim to increase reliability and efficiency, and run at lower temperatures than standard components. Some of the features include RoHS compliance, full MSI Afterburner software control, and output through Mini HDMI, Dual Link DVI-I, and Dual Link DVI-D. A minimum of 400W is suggested for the power supply. A QR-code sits at the bottom right.









The top and bottom, and left and right sides each match their opposite sides. Each side is nicely decorated and lists the card model, 1GB GDDR5 memory size, PCI-E 3.0 compatibility, and DirectX 11 support. The shorter sides are black, green, and blue like the front while the longer sides are all blue and similar to the top half of the front.



On the front of the box is a flap that can be opened to peer at the graphics card through a window , and read about some of the key features on the Power Edition card including the Military Class III components and TransThermal Design. The TransThermal Design utilizes improved fan impeller design for more airflow — 22.55 CFM versus 18.7 CFM according to MSI. These fans encorporate Dust Free Technology where they spin in reverse for 30 seconds to pull out any dust that has accumulated in the cooler. This feature is quiet nice as one of the big killers in rigs is dust build up suffocating the hardware! The heat sink can be customized into one of three possible modes: the standard single fan mode is how it ships, this form is compact and more efficient than reference designs. The second configuration is Dual Fan Mode where the fan shroud slides back and allows a second fan to fit next to the original. The third is Double Airflow Mode where the second fan stacks on top of the Single Fan Mode. MSI testing shows that either of the two-fan configurations out perform the single. Both operate very closely in temperature and noise so this means that either setup is ideal — the Dual mode is better if the case is long enough to accommodate it whereas Double Mode is better for shorter cases that don't need to use the nearby expansion slots. The inner flap explains that this card is Triple Over-Voltage by MSI Afterburner compatible, this means that the core, memory, and PLL voltage can be increased! The PWM design has been enhanced to deliver more stable power for better overclocking. This card utilizes the Military Class III Components to improve stability, efficiency both thermal and electrical, and lifespan. Components include Hi-C Capacitors, Super Ferrite Chokes, and Solid Capacitors.



The card and accessories are kept in place safely inside by a piece of black foam that has been cut to hold them. Underneath this is a cardboard hatch that holds the CD and manuals. The standard antistatic bag protects the graphics card from ESD and contamination.


Continue onto the next page to see the card unpacked and examined!

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: MSI GTX 650 Power Edition
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Metro 2033
  6. Testing: Batman Arkham City
  7. Testing: Battlefield 3
  8. Testing: Unigine Heaven Benchmark 3.0
  9. Testing: Sid Meier's Civilization V
  10. Testing: DiRT 3
  11. Testing: Mafia II
  12. Testing: 3DMark 11
  13. Testing: Temperatures
  14. Testing: Power Consumption
  15. Conclusion
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