The nVidia GTX 650 Ti is based on the GK106 design, as is the new GTX 660 graphics card. For those hoping the policy of assigning confusing names to new chips had been binned - at one time a seeming prerequisite of releasing new graphics technology - the recent selection of GTX 650 and GTX 660 chips will bring some unpleasant surprises.

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The GTX 660 Ti is based on the GK104 architecture, while the standard GTX 650 stems from the GK107. More logically, the GTX 650 Ti can be seen as the successor to the GTX 550 Ti, a middle-priced card that should offer an option just below the £150 mark.

This is the XLR8 version of PNY’s 650 Ti, although that doesn’t lead to the radical overhauling of the base specifications that you might expect.

Indeed, the one significant change to the figures is a tiny increase in the core-clock speed, from 925MHz to 928MHz.

Given their usage of the same architecture, the GTX 650 Ti and GTX 660 aren’t dissimilar cards, although the 650 Ti is significantly cut down.

The PNY’s marginally enhanced 928MHz is no match for the 660’s core clock of 980MHz. And the difference is widened by the 660’s boost clock that increases its speed by a further 53MHz. The PNY, in contrast, has no such boost.

The memory clock has been cut as well, and the PNY’s 1350MHz figure (5.4GHz when the effect of DDR is taken into account) pales in comparison with the 660’s 1502MHz (6008MHz DDR effective).

Compared with the 660, the number of stream processors and texture units have both been cut by a fifth in the case of the 650 Ti – bringing its figures down to 768 and 64 respectively.

The number of raster operation units has been slashed rather more, bringing the figure down to just 16, in the case of the 650 Ti – as opposed to 24 on the 660.

The 650 Ti’s texture fill rate of 59.4GTps is modest indeed. The 660 can get up to 82.64GTps, while the Asus GTX 660 Ti went into three figures.

The 650 Ti is reasonably light on power, with a TDP of 110W. We don’t have real figures for the 660 to compare it with, although the 660 Ti tended to consume between 53 and 62 watt more. The power consumption and sound is very modest for a graphics card at this level. One 6-pin power connector is needed.

Perhaps the 650 Ti’s biggest problem is its memory interface – at 128-bit, this isn’t really enough to allow it to compete with cards in the price category above.

PNY GeForce GTX 650 Ti: Performance

Given this and modest texture fill rates, it’s little surprise that the 650 Ti is an ordinary performer in games tests.

Its Crysis 2 figures of 32.6 and 25.9fps (at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 respectively) left it essentially matching the AMD Radeon 7850, and trailing the 660 Ti by almost 10 frames every second.

This is only on a game where the top frame rates are fairly limited anyway. In BattleForge, where the cards are able to stretch out a little more, the figures of 55.3 and 49.8fps leave it trailing behind the 660 Ti by almost 18 frames at the lower resolution, while it falls a couple of frames behind the 7850 too.

Similar results ensued in Stalker: Call of Pripyat, where the gap to the 660 Ti widened to over 19fps at the top resolution of 1920 x 1200. The Radeon 7850 pulled ahead by more than three frames.

PNY GeForce GTX 650 Ti: Specs

  • nVidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti
  • 1GB GDDR5
  • 928MHz core clock (no GPU boost)
  • 1350MHz memory clock (5400MHz DDR effective)
  • 400MHz RAMDAC
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • 768 stream processors
  • 64 texture units
  • 16 ROP units
  • PCI-E interface
  • DirectX 11
  • 2 x DVI, 1 x Mini-HDMI
  • 1 x 6-pin PSU connector needed
  • nVidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti
  • 1GB GDDR5
  • 928MHz core clock (no GPU boost)
  • 1350MHz memory clock (5400MHz DDR effective)
  • 400MHz RAMDAC
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • 768 stream processors
  • 64 texture units
  • 16 ROP units
  • PCI-E interface
  • DirectX 11
  • 2 x DVI, 1 x Mini-HDMI
  • 1 x 6-pin PSU connector needed

OUR VERDICT

At the time of writing, pricing wasn’t totally clear. However, assuming a price of around £125, the AMD Radeon 7850 is clearly this card’s biggest competitor. That card offers marginally more performance for a price for around £25 more. There may well be some juicy pricing strategies on the 650 Ti in the next couple of months. Currently though, the 7850 is probably better value.

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