Power Consumption and Conclusions
If there is a concern about the GTX 650 Ti BOOST it falls in the area of power consumption. In nearly every way the latest offering from NVIDIA is nearly identical to the GTX 660 card, and power is no different with total wattage draw only differing by two in our testing. Compared to the original GTX 650 Ti, the GTX 650 Ti BOOST uses 50 watts more (!!) while also using 40 watts more than the new HD 7790 and 10+ watts more than the HD 7850.
While 10-50 watts isn't that big of a deal for consumers and DIY gamers, it can mean a lot for system vendors that depend on certain TDPs to meet goals for small form factor PCs like size and noise.
The new GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST is a big step forward over the original GTX 650 Ti; so much in fact that I think saddling it with the GTX 650 brand is a disservice to it. In reality the GTX 650 Ti BOOST more closely matches performance and specifications to the GTX 660 and I would guess that NVIDIA internally went through some debates on calling this card the "GTX 660 SE" or something like that. I do worry that many users will automatically dismiss the BOOST version of the GTX 650 Ti simply because of the pre-conditioning done on the first GTX 650 Ti.
The majority of our tested games have the new NVIDIA GTX 650 Ti BOOST running faster than the new AMD HD 7790 and that includes Battlefield 3, Far Cry 3, Crysis 3 and even Skyrim. In those games we also found the BOOST card to perform at about the same level of the more expensive Radeon HD 7850 2GB card as well which was a nice surprise. Only in Sleeping Dogs and DiRT 3 did the HD 7790 have a chance to keep with the GTX 650 Ti BOOST.
For gamers looking to upgrade an integrated or aging discrete solution with a target monitor resolution of 1920×1080, the new GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST makes a lot of sense. You can't quite run everything at maximum settings but for the price, $170 or under, you can run even Battlefield 3 at Ultra settings comfortably.
Pricing and Availability
The pricing comparison below paints an interesting picture around the GTX 650 Ti BOOST.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB – $169
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 1GB OC – $169
- AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB – $184
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB – $149
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 2GB – $229
At $169, the GTX 650 Ti BOOST competes directly against the new Radeon HD 7790 and wins handily in the most demanding games we tested them in. In most cases, the GTX 650 Ti BOOST is also as fast as the Radeon HD 7850 that sells for about $20 more! While AMD was hoping the Sea Islands HD 7790 GPU would be the real market shake up product this spring it appears that NVIDIA has one-upped them with the GTX 650 Ti BOOST.
The GTX 650 Ti BOOST will participate in the currently running NVIDIA bundle campaign that will give buyers $75 in credit to use in three different free-to-play games ($25 in each game). HD 7790 buyers will pick up a free copy of Bioshock Infinite so it is also personal preference on which software package is the most compelling.
It should go without saying that anyone that is reading this and was considering a basic GTX 650 Ti, you should no longer be doing that. For only $20 more you can get a significantly faster GPU in addition to twice the frame buffer, SLI support and GPU Boost integration.
In a week when nothing was really expected in the world graphics card releases, we saw two new sub-$200 options from AMD and NVIDIA that both changed market lineups. The Radeon HD 7790 offers a new piece of silicon and the first Sea Islands offering to consumers but despite the technological changes, it is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST that shakes things up in terms of raw gaming performance. At $169, the BOOST card is one of, if not THE, best card for the money.
It would not surprise me to see some price adjustments from AMD almost immediately considering the HD 7790 hasn't made it to market yet. If the HD 7790 falls from $159/169 to $149 or even lower, it will still be a highly competitive option for low cost gamers. In truth, even with the introduction of the BOOST there are TONS of other great options within the same $50 of the GPU market. I just happen to think NVIDIA's GTX 650 Ti BOOST is the best.
Our video review of the GTX 650 Ti BOOST and Radeon HD 7790.