EVGA GeForce GTX 1650 SC ULTRA Review: TU117 Revisited
The EVGA GeForce GTX 1650 SC ULTRA
Can This Overclocked Card Take the GTX 1650 to the Next Level?
The GTX 1650 launched at the end of April as the lowest-cost Turing option at $149, with board partners offering versions ranging up to high-end factory overclocked models such as the $179.99 MSI GAMING X from our initial review. For its part the EVGA SC ULTRA card we have for your inspection today is a more affordable but equally capable GTX 1650 option, matching the 1860 MHz Boost clock of the MSI GAMING X (and adding a metal backplate) while selling for $10 less at $169.99.
We pushed the card a bit further with an additional overclock to the TU117 core to see how much – if any – ground we could make up on the more powerful GTX 1660. How did we fare? Read on to find out!
- Part Number: 04G-P4-1057-KR
- NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU
- 896 CUDA Cores
- 1860 MHz Boost Clock
- 104.2GT/s Texture Fill Rate
- 4096 MB, 128 bit GDDR5
- 8000 MHz (effective)
- 128 GB/s Memory Bandwidth
- Cooling: Dual-Fan
- PCIe 3.0
- DisplayPort, DisplayPort, HDMI
- Resolution & Refresh
- Max Monitors Supported: 3
- 240 Hz Max Refresh Rate
- Max Digital : 7680×4320
- Height: 4.38in – 111.15mm
- Length: 7.96in – 202.1mm
- Width: Dual Slot
- Operating System Support
- Windows 10 64bit
- Windows 7 64bit
- Minimum of a 300 Watt power supply.
- An available 6-pin PCIe power connector
- Total Power Draw : 85 Watts
- Product Warranty: 3 years
“The EVGA GeForce GTX 1650 pushes the latest Turing architecture to new price points and keeps performance stronger than ever for this category of card. With EVGA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics Cards you get the best gaming experience with next generation graphics performance, ice cold cooling, and advanced overclocking features with the all new EVGA Precision X1 software.”
The EVGA GTX 1650 SC ULTRA Card
EVGA has opted for a dual-fan, dual-slot cooler design with this compact graphics card, which should provide ample cooling for a GPU that has a total power draw of just 85W even with its 195 MHz factory overclock (1860 MHz Boost vs. the stock 1665 MHz). Memory is at the default 8 Gbps, and you can view the rest of the specifications from this TU117 GPU from the chart in our previous GTX 1650 review.
A 6-pin power connector is required, though a mere 300W power supply requirement is listed so just about any system that can hold it should be able to support it. The card is listed at 111.15 mm high and 202.1 mm in length, and its dual-slot design makes it more compatible with mini-ITX enclosures than the shorter (189.89 mm) but thicker 2.75-slot design of EVGA’s identically-clocked EVGA XC GAMING variant.
Using the latest version of EVGA’s Precision X1 software I set to work finding how much higher this already overclocked GPU could go, and while the factory 195 MHz is already pretty substantial the OC Scanner is an easy way to find a safe additional overclock.
When I ran it the first time without changing any of the default settings I ended up with a score of +68, which would put the actual overclock somewhere between 60 and 75 MHz as Turing uses 15 MHz clock speed increments. Moving the power limit to its max 106% (and the GPU temp limit to its max 90 C) produced a score of +77. Feeling adventurous I set the core to a +90 MHz overclock, though NVIDIA’s Boost will rely more on available power and thermal conditions for the top frequency under load.
While I saw clocks as high as 2085 MHz under any sustained loads it eventually dropped down to 2055 MHz and eventually 2040 MHz, where it seemed to settle.
Gaming Performance – 1920x1080
As mentioned above it wouldn’t accomplish much to compare this EVGA card at default clocks to the MSI GAMING X from our first review as they both have a 1860 MHz Boost out of the box, so with a +90 MHz overclock and aggressive fan profile set using the Precision X1 software we benchmarked the GTX 1650 SC ULTRA at 1080p using a few DX12 and DX11 games.
When comparing the further-overclocked EVGA results to the MSI card we see that this additional GPU core OC did indeed boost performance, though the extra couple of FPS doesn’t change the GTX 1650’s position on the charts very much.
Going back to the RTX 2060 review I’ve found that hitting 2 GHz with Turing is easy, but getting sustained clocks above about 2055 MHz would require more than a quick overclock with no voltage adjustment. And 2040 – 2055 MHz is exactly where the Boost clocks topped out during game benchmarking.
It is possible that better results could be reached with some higher memory clocks as well, but both of these GTX 1650 cards are already pushing what it possible from this entry-level Turing GPU with its 896 CUDA cores, which is significant drop from the next card up the lineup – the GTX 1660 – with its 1408 CUDA core count.
Power consumption was barely impacted by this overclock, with total power draw under load moving from 146.9W to just 149.2W at the +90 MHz / 106% power limit settings used in this review. As to thermals and noise, the SC ULTRA’s dual-fan cooler was quite effective with the highest load temps only hitting 60 C (22 C ambient) and noise levels topping out at 35.5 dBA.
With the GTX 1650 SC ULTRA from EVGA we are likely seeing the practical limit of GTX 1650 gaming performance, at least without any more extreme overclocking techniques. This is our second look at the GTX 1650, and both cards have been high-end SKUs featuring the same 1860 MHz factory Boost clock and 6-pin power connectors that suggest further headroom.
Further overclocking produces results that, while not overwhelming, will improve gaming performance by a couple of FPS across the board. A simple adjustment to the card’s 106% power level will result in higher Boost clocks, and it seems this particular card offers at least an additional 50 – 75 MHz of headroom if you manually overclock.
I appreciate the more practical dual-slot design of this smaller card compared to the 2.75-slot designs of the recent shorter 16-series cards from EVGA, and at a very modest 85W this card should fit into just about any system that can provide a single 6-pin connector.
On its own merit the EVGA GTX 1650 SC ULTRA is well designed and performs as expected, but is it enough to make the GTX 1650 compelling? Well, no. Sure, entry-level GPUs aren’t exactly exciting, but for 1080p gaming at high detail settings it does quite well – though as noted in the previous GTX 1650 review AMD has been aggressively targeting this launch with price drops to the more capable (and admittedly more power-hungry) RX 570.
There is a really big performance gap between NVIDIA’s GTX 1650 and the GTX 1660, with a $70 price difference to match. If you are looking at NVIDIA and can’t go up to a GTX 1660 the GTX 1650 is an acceptable alternative, until a card appears that splits the performance difference, that is. Right now prices are very low on the RX 500-series from AMD partners, so unless that changes it makes the GTX 1650 less enticing – unless you need the lower power draw.
But this is a review of a specific graphics card, not the GTX 1650 GPU, and EVGA’s SC ULTRA version is a very good product and a better value at $169.99 than the MSI GAMING X we previously reviewed. It offers a significant factory overclock, the heatsink and dual-fan design produces very good thermals with low noise, and EVGA is selling the card with a moderate $20 premium over the base $149 price of NVIDIA’s entry-level Turing GPU. It still makes sense as a long-term investment to move up to a GTX 1660 on the NVIDIA side if you can afford it, but within the limitations of the GPU this EVGA SC ULTRA is a solid effort.