We're all big fans of technology, and love the latest and greatest hardware. It's why we're all here after all. We love bringing you the limits of what is possible, and you like to look at gigantic benchmark numbers and dream of the day when a lottery win will allow you to run a Quad-SLI Titan setup. To be honest, so do we.
However, times are hard and although we can all dream, we have to accept the reality that many of us are gaming on meagre budgets. Thankfully the two big manufacturers, nVidia and AMD, realise that whilst a Titan or HD7990 is great for the headline grabbing, the real heart of their business comes from producing cards that defy expectations by producing high quality images at playable frame-rates for an affordable price.
Equally, as we've often said here at OC3D, when you're on a tight budget you can't afford to break what little you have, so most people will go for the fastest clock speed within their price range. Enter the GTX650Ti Boost, a balls-to-the-wall version of the GTX650Ti.
With the forthcoming HD7790, the timing of the GTX650Ti Boost is impeccable. However, the nVidia literature aims it squarely at the HD7850, a card we rate highly here. That's a big target to go for, so let's find out if this latest affordable GeForce card can back up that claim.
As the model we have on test is the reference nVidia model, there is little of note in the pictures. It's all standard stuff, with a single 6pin power input, and the usual nVidia cooler.
At the business end we have a DisplayPort, an HDMI and two DVIs. We look forward to seeing what the vendors have in store for this card.
nVidia GeForce GTX650Ti Boost
Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4.6GHz
ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
Corsair Dominator Platinum
Corsair Neutron GTX
Windows 7 x64
As you can see the GTX650Ti Boost runs at a fair old clip. We overclocked as always but the gains were negligible so we'll just be running at stock today, which is the configuration in which most people will be utilising the card anyway.
For a reference cooler it certainly gets the job done. 68°C is as good as many third-party coolers.
Starting off with AvP and things don't look outstanding for the GTX650Ti Boost. Only just edging out the HD7770. Let's see how the more modern titles fare.
Batman Arkham City
If you ever wonder the power of driver updates, or indeed whether the PhysX has any real world benefit, then Arkham City is the title for you. Not only does the GTX650Ti Boost beat most of the AMD cards, but with the driver updates it now matches the performance of the GTX680 when we first tested it.
Far Cry 2
In possibly the last appearance of Far Cry 2, the GTX650Ti Boost shows good performance. Even at these extreme settings you have a completely smooth playing experience.
Far Cry 3
The first of our titles that stretches the DirectX 11, the GTX650Ti Boost proves an admirable performer. Admittedly the lowest frame-rate of the few cards we've tested, but it's surprisingly close to the HD7870 which is further along the Radeon chain than nVidia are targeting it.
Agent 47 provides us with a similar story to that of Jason Brody. Not the highest frame-rate we've seen, but all the other cards we've tested are vastly more expensive, and the GTX650Ti Boost certainly isn't disgraced.
The results for Mafia 2 give us our first proof of Moore's Law. When the GTX560Ti 448 first appeared it was £250. The GTX650Ti Boost is £145 and outperforms it by 10FPS. How quickly technology marches on.
Metro 2033 has never been a great performer on the green team cards, and the GTX650Ti Boost does nothing to dispel this. Perhaps most surprisingly is that the GTX560Ti 448 does better. Less cores, less speed, better performance. Perhaps not every area of improvement in the Forceware drivers work on all titles.
Resident Evil 5 - DX9
We see a similar state of affairs in Resident Evil. The GTX650Ti Boost is perfectly capable of producing a playable frame-rate, but it's a far cry from the best we've seen, even of the mid-range cards.
Resident Evil 5 - DX10
Oddly the DirectX 10 API provides a better result, with the GTX650Ti Boost capable of matching the HD7850.
Although we haven't tested Sleeping Dogs on a HD7850, the HD7870 is so much better than we're unconvinced that the GTX650Ti Boost would be very close to it.
Obviously with the very latest title running at maximum settings we're not expecting the GTX650Ti Boost to give us 40FPS. It actually performed much better than we anticipated, and with some careful image quality choices you could easily get a smooth game.
Another title in which the GTX650Ti Boost performs averagely. We'd certainly expect it to better the GTX560Ti, and yet it doesn't.
Increasing the image quality doesn't change the results. The GTX650Ti Boost is average at best, in Unigine Heaven at least.
We doubt anyone will be running the GTX650Ti Boost on a 30" monitor, so we've restricted our tests to the 1080P ones. Even then the GTX650Ti Boost is once again found an average benchmarker.
As the intensity of the 3D Mark tests increases, the GTX650Ti Boost really begins to struggle. However, the Cloud Gate test shows that with sensible choices you can still get decent results.
3D Mark Vantage
Once again the benchmarks aren't spectacular. The P score is alright but the Extreme result really drops off, especially when you compare the GTX650Ti Boost to the previous midrange king, the GTX560Ti.
3D Mark 11
The more up-to-date 3D Mark 11 has a better result, with the GTX650Ti Boost right up there with the HD7850. Ending on a good note.
The GTX650Ti Boost is going to be interesting to two audiences.
On the one hand those who already have a midrange card from the last generation, such as the GTX560Ti or HD6950, will be curious as to whether it's worth the upgrade. The other main potential market is from people who are using a very very old graphics card or none at all, and wonder if the GTX650Ti Boost provides enough performance per pound to be worthy of investment.
For the first, those who already own a card of similar performance to those named, we don't think that the GTX650Ti Boost has enough to make it worth upgrading. If you went from a 448 variant of the GTX560Ti to this card, if anything you'll lose performance, and if you've got a card better than that it certainly isn't going to be worth an outlay. It's a little more environmentally friendly with a lower power draw, but you'll never reap the benefits and the energy cost from producing the card will be greater than any savings you make. For the benchmark people in the audience the GTX650Ti Boost isn't the best choice either, as throughout our benchmarks it performed averagely at best, and bordering on poor.
But, and it's a big but, if you're a gamer and you currently have an ageing card such as an 8800GT, or even worse you're running on integrated graphics, or even possibly building your first gaming rig on a tight budget then the GTX650Ti Boost is a fantastic option. Just over £140 buys you a card that is relatively low-power, cool enough to not overheat an average sized case, and capable of running even the latest games at a fair clip.
It's worth pointing out that we always run our games at the maximum possible settings. Even in these modern times anti-aliasing still has a hefty performance hit, but if you're careful to limit yourself to perhaps 2xAA and high, rather than extreme, textures and shadows, then the GTX650Ti Boost will happily give you many hours of enjoyment. Older titles such as Mafia 2, Resident Evil 5 and Far Cry 2 are easily run even at maximum image quality.
As long as you're careful not to demand too much, the GTX650Ti Boost is a perfect choice for the value conscious gamer. For this reason we're happy to award it both our OC3D Value for Money and OC3D Gamers Choice awards.
Thanks to nVidia for supplying the GTX650Ti Boost for review. Discuss it in our OC3D Forums.