Budget graphics cards group test: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti
If you want a card for single-screen gaming that doesn’t empty your bank account, this is the one
Nvidia’s graphics card ranges are infamously busy, but over the last couple of years the firm has been introducing Ti-branded cards in order to add ever more products to its rosters. These cards are often stand-out parts, and that’s no different with the GTX 650 Ti.
Despite its name, this card is architecturally very different from the standard GTX 650. For starters, it’s built with 2.5 billion transistors – almost double the number included in the standard card, and more than any other GPU in this test.
It’s got 768 stream processors, which is so many that Nvidia has had to use four SMX units rather than the two it uses for its lesser cards, and they’re clocked at a respectable 928MHz. The GTX 650 Ti is available in either 1GB of 2GB configurations and, in either case, the GDDR5 memory is clocked at 5,400MHz.
The only thing missing is Turbo Boost, which dynamically overclocks the card’s core to give a little extra power – a feature only included on the GTX 650 Ti Boost.
It’s a potent specification that paid dividends in our benchmarks. The 650 Ti’s 44fps result in Crysis at Medium quality and full HD resolution is the best on test, and it’s also ahead of its rival in Battlefield 3 and DiRT 3 – in those tests it scored 60fps and 122fps; the Radeon HD 7790 scored 55fps and 119fps.
Only in one games test did the Nvidia card fall behind the competition. The GTX 650 Ti’s Bioshock Infinite average of 55fps is good, but it’s two frames slower than the AMD Radeon HD 7790.
The Nvidia card is also a little slower in theoretical tests. In 3DMark’s Cloud Gate benchmark the GTX 650 Ti scored 21,259 in Gaming and 11,660 in the Overall test, with the Radeon HD 7790 scoring 21,924 and 11,969 in the same benchmarks. It’s a small gap and, if anything, it illustrates the increased efficiency with which the Nvidia card deploys its power.
We’ve no complaints about the GTX 650 Ti in our thermal and power benchmarks. Its top temperature of 70°C is in the middle ground in this test. Our rig’s idle power draw of 45W falls is less than every AMD card here and, while the GTX 650 Ti’s peak power draw of 143W is the highest here, it’s only a single watt greedier than the Radeon HD 7790.
The GTX 650 Ti is a powerful card, and that means it requires a chunky cooler. That means single-height cards are thin on the ground, with most 650 Tis taking up two motherboard slots. Passive options aren’t available either, and the card will require one six-pin power connector – so make sure your PSU’s up to scratch. There’s one saving grace, though, and it’s the 146mm PCB – short enough to fit into modestly sized machines.
There’s plenty to like about this mid-range card, with its modest size, good thermals and efficient power requirements all playing their part, but the main draw is undoubtedly gaming performance. The GTX 650 Ti is quicker than its main rival in three out of our four games benchmarks, and it’s almost £10 cheaper to boot. If you want a card for single-screen gaming that doesn’t empty your bank account, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti is the product to buy.