At a pace just shy of a card a month, NVIDIA has been launching the GIGABYTE GTX 650 2GB 128Bit GDDR5 Directx 12 Graphics Card part by part for over the last half year now. What started with the GeForce GTX 680 in March and most recently saw the launch of the GeForce GTX 660 will finally be coming to an end today with the 8th and what is likely the final retail GeForce 600 series card, the GeForce GTX 650 Ti.
Last month we saw the introduction of NVIDIA’s 3rd Kepler GPU, GK106, which takes its place between the high-end GK104 and NVIDIA’s low-end/mobile gem, GK107. At the time NVIDIA launched just a single GK106 card, the GTX 660, but of course NVIDIA never launches just one product based on a GPU – if nothing else the economics of semiconductor manufacturing dictate a need for binning, and by extension products to attach to those bins. So it should come as no great surprise that NVIDIA has one more desktop GK106 card, and that card is the GeForce GTX 650 Ti.
The GTX 650 Ti is the aptly named successor to 2011’s GeForce GTX 550 Ti, and will occupy the same $150 price point that the GTX 550 Ti launched into. It will sit between the GTX 660 and the recently launched GTX 650, and despite the much closer similarities to the GTX 660 NVIDIA is placing the card into their GTX 650 family and pitching it as a higher performance alternative to the GTX 650. With that in mind, what exactly does NVIDIA’s final desktop consumer launch of 2012 bring to the table? Let’s find out.
|GTX 660||GTX 650 Ti||GTX 650||GT 550 Ti|
|Memory Clock||6.008GHz GDDR5||5.4GHz GDDR5||5GHz GDDR5||4.1GHz GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||192-bit||128-bit||128-bit||192-bit|
|FP64||1/24 FP32||1/24 FP32||1/24 FP32||1/12 FP32|
|Manufacturing Process||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 40nm|
Coming from the GTX 660 and its fully enabled GK106 GPU, NVIDIA has cut several features and functional units in order to bring the GTX 650 Ti down to their desired TDP and price. As is customary for lower tier parts, GTX 650 Ti ships with a binned GK106 GPU with some functional units disabled, where it unfortunately takes a big hit. For the GTX 650 Ti NVIDIA has opted to disable both SMXes and ROP/L2/memory clusters, with a greater emphasis on the latter.
On the shader side of the equation NVIDIA is disabling just a single SMX, giving GTX 650 Ti 768 CUDA cores and 64 texture units. On the ROP/L2/memory side of things however NVIDIA is disabling one of GK106’s three clusters (the minimum granularity for such a change), so coming from the GTX 660 the GTX 650 Ti will have much less memory bandwith and ROP throughput than its older sibling.
Taking a look at clockspeeds, along with the reduction in functional units there has also been a reduction in clockspeeds across the board. The GTX 650 Ti will ship at 925MHz, 65MHz lower than the GTX 660 Ti. Furthermore NVIDIA has decided to limit GPU boost functionality to the GTX 660 and higher families, so the GTX 650 Ti will actually run at 925MHz and no higher. The lack of a boost clock means the effective difference is closer to 100MHz. On the other hand the lack of min-maxing here by NVIDIA will have some good ramifications for overclocking, as we’ll see. Meanwhile the memory clock will be at 5.4GHz, which at only 600MHz below NVIDIA’s standards-bearer Kepler memory clock of 6GHz is not nearly as big as the loss of memory bandwidth from the memory bus width reduction.
Overall this gives the GTX 650 Ti approximately 72% of the shading/texturing performance, 60% of the ROP throughput, and 60% of the memory bandwidth of the GTX 660. Meanwhile compared to the GTX 650 the GTX 650 Ti has 175% of shading/texturing performance, 108% of the memory bandwidth, and 87% of the ROP throughput of its smaller predecessor. For what little tradition there is, NVIDIA’s x50 parts are traditionally geared towards 1680×1050/1600×900 resolutions. And while NVIDIA is trying to stretch that definition due to the popularity of 1920×1080 monitors, the loss of the ROP/memory cluster all but closes the door on the GTX 650 Ti’s 1080p ambitions. The GTX 650 Ti will be for all intents and purposes NVIDIA’s fastest sub-1080p Kepler card.
See when you take the regular GeForce GTX 650 it comes castrated a bit with just 384 shader cores whereas the regular Ti model is released with a far better 768 CUDA cores (shader processors) and a 925 MHz GPU clock (for the reference products). So that’s already nearly double the processing performance and allows the product to compete with the Radeon HD 7770. With the Radeon HD 7790 being roughly a third faster than 7770, NVIDIA needed to out a product that can keep up with that rather significant performance boost — and as such the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost edition now is introduced. So budget graphics card series for gamers therefore just got a little more interesting. Albeit we say that 175 USD/EUR should not exactly really carry the mark of being low budget. With that price tag the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost positions itself smack-down in-between AMD’s Radeon HD 7790 and 7850, and that really is a comfortable spot to be in for many of you as Full HD gaming (a monitor resolution of 1920×1080) is now becoming a viable option. Obviously NVIDIA did not want to make yet another separate chip. So The GTX 650 Ti Boost is the very same one used on the regular GTX 660, yup the GTX 650 Ti Boost is using the “GK106” silicon opposed to the GK107 being used on the regular 650 model (it’s confusing as heck, we know). The GK106 silicon is armed with 768 active shader processor cores divided over four processor clusters running at a 980 MHz base clock on the reference products. That means that the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost packs decent enough punch. There is a distinct difference though, Boost or better yet, dynamics clocking has been added to this model. That means instead of running a strict 925 MHz base clock on the regular GTX 650 Ti, the Boost edition will now have a base-clock of 980 MHz, but will be allowed to boost to 1033 MHz. Realistically though, the Boost functionality is dependant of many factors like power usage, heat and temperatures of the GPU. So yeah, this GPU will run quite a bit of games at almost 1100 MHz all by itself as well.
The board partners will all release 2GB models of these cards. Not only that, NVIDIA moved from 128-bit towards a 192-bit memory bus, and that is going to help out the product greatly as all of the sudden we have 144 GB/sec of memory bandwidth as the memory domain clock frequency has received an upgrade as well, we move from 5.0 Gbps towards 6.0 Gbps on this card series. Overall the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost has enough horsepower to step into the DX11 games at up-to 1600×1200 resolutions, and if you can forfeit on the most stringent image quality settings like hefty AA then a resolution of 1920×1080/1200 will actually be playable as well. So just don’t do any crazy stuff anti-aliasing wise, and it’s definitely plausible to play games really nicely at such resolutions versus acceptable framerates.
For today’s review we’ll look at the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost OC WindForce 2X with in particular the OC edition SKU. The product comes with its core base clock set quite a bit higher then reference, at 1033 MHz and the memory at 6008 Mhz (effective datarate). With Gigabyte tweaking the baseclock we noticed that this product jumps quickly to 1098 MHz on the boost clock. Let’s find out and see what is this product is all about, and then head on over next page please.