NVIDIA GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: March 24, 2013
Product Name: GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB
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The GTX 650 Ti Boost is a disruptive product, the impact of which will be felt throughout the mid to low end GPU markets. It has allowed NVIDIA to lower the cost of several key GPUs while effectively counteracting AMD’s new HD 7790 with a graphics card that dominates the budget focused sub-$175 price points.

Make no mistake about it, in a segment where a few dollars can make or break the acceptance of a brand strategy, the GTX 650 Ti Boost sets a new precedent. Instead of merely parachuting it into a safe, predefined $199 mold and calling it a day, NVIDIA has pushed forth quite aggressively from a cost perspective. It’s $169 SRP will lead to a reshuffling of the GTX 660 2GB, GTX 650 Ti and GTX 650 into lower brackets and such a move will ultimately put pressure on AMD to rethink their own positioning.

Speaking of the HD 7790, NVIDIA's strategy perfectly counteracts AMD’s simple, yet effective gap filling approach which has done little to shift prices in some of today’s most popular segments. In many ways, we shouldn’t even mention the HD 7790 here since the GTX 650 Ti Boost is in a completely different league.

With clock speeds that are more akin to the GTX 660, a 192-bit memory bus and additional ROPS, NVIDIA’s GTX 650 Ti Boost is able to thoroughly trounce its GTX 650 Ti sibling and the HD 7790 becomes a distant speck in the rear view mirror. At times, it comes within spitting distance of a GTX 660 2GB and even manages to outstrip AMD’s $185 HD 7850 2GB. From our perspective, this should prompt AMD to lower the costs of nearly half their lineup. Suddenly, the HD 7750, HD 7770 GHz Edition, HD 7790 and HD 7850 are all too expensive, regardless of their respective game bundles.

AMD’s troubles don’t necessarily lie exclusively with the 2GB version. While it does put the screws to the HD 7850 and costs a good 15% less, the real problem lies in NVIDIA’s rapid introduction of a GTX 650 Ti Boost 1GB SKU which only costs $149. We don’t expect there to be too much of a performance difference at 1080P between the two different Boost SKUs. That bodes horribly for the similarly priced HD 7790, a card which hasn’t even hit retailers’ shelves yet.

The GTX 650 Ti Boost seems to have everything going for it. It overclocks well, consumes about the same amount of power as the HD 7850, doesn't feature as much noticeable stutter (though AMD’s issues here are greatly reduced) and board partners’ products should make things even more interesting.

Considering the current direction of its competition, we continue to marvel at the adaptability of Kepler. The Boost was created without going to a different core design or significantly modifying an existing architecture. This situation actually makes us wonder whether NVIDIA had the GTX 650 Ti Boost waiting in the wings for the last few months and only decided to release it now, when it would do the most damage to AMD’s aspirations. Regardless of how NVIDIA approached today's launch and subsequent price cut, now is a perfect time to rain on AMD’s parade with a strategy that upends the mid to low end Radeon lineup at nearly every turn.

At its most basic, NVIDIA’s GTX 650 Ti Boost represents the vanguard of a full court press against AMD’s entire sub-$225 product stack. It may not be a high performance graphics card per se but this is still an exciting product which has already contributed to lower prices in an extremely popular market segment. With a combination of great framerates, efficiency and disruptive pricing, the GTX 650 Ti Boost is simply the best graphics card available for budget-focused gamers.


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