Nvidia is almost done with their Kepler onslaught and the newly launched GTX 650 Ti is one of the final pieces of the puzzle. The card fills the void between the GTX 650 and the GTX 660 and will eventually replace the GTX 560 right now and later on, even the GTX 550 Ti once the price drops. We have Asus’ take on the card with its Direct CU II cooler taking up just two slots this time around, instead of three. Let’s see how it stacks up against the competition.

Design and Build
Asus has gone with its own custom design with the PCB and has also added its DIGI+ VRM technology – that we've already seen on its motherboards – for a cleaner power delivery. The actual card is quite small but seems large due to the custom cooler on the front. Rather than designing a new cooler for the smaller PCB, which would mean an increase in cost, Asus has used the same dual-fan cooler that we’ve seen on higher-end cards like the GTX 680 and HD 7970.

Unnessarily long?

Unnecessarily long?

You can connect up to four monitors with this card thanks to two dual-link DVI-D ports, VGA and HDMI. There are a few vents along the rear bracket as well, although it’s not needed since the cooler has an open design so the hot air escapes in the cabinet itself. The aluminium cooler has a copper base along with copper heatpipes to transfer the heat to the fins, which is then cooled by the two fans. The cooler extends the length of the card quite a bit – to 10 inches – so you’ll need a big cabinet to fit this in comfortably. The maximum power draw of the GTX 650 Ti is just 110W so you only need a single PCIe power connector. Nvidia recommends a 400W PSU as the bare minimum to properly power the card.

Built really well

Built really well

The GTX 650 Ti is based on the same GK106 silicon used in the GTX 660. The stripped down card now features 768 CUDA cores and a core clock that runs at 928MHz. Asus’ card comes factory overclocked so the core clock now runs at 1033MHz. You also get 2GB of GDDR5 memory that runs at the reference speed of 1350MHz (5400MHz effective). The memory bus is still capped at 128-bit. While there isn’t any GPU Boost, you do get other features of Kepler, like TXAA and FXAA, Adaptive VSync and Nvidia Surround.

•    Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40GHz
•    Motherboard: GIGABYTE P67A-UD3R
•    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (4GB x 2) @1600MHz
•    Hard drive: Intel SSD 520 240GB (Boot Drive), WD Velociraptor 300GB (Secondary Drive)
•    GPU: Asus GTX 650 Ti Direct CU II
•    PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000W
•    OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

As one would expect, the performance of the GTX 650 Ti falls in the middle of the GTX 650 and the GTX 660. It’s actually a lot faster than the GTX 650 simply because it’s based on the GTX 660 die. It even manages to outperform the GTX 560 in most of the benchmarks. On the temperature front, the Direct CU II cooler does an excellent job of keeping temperatures in check. The card idles at 36 degrees Celsius while on full load and does not go beyond 46 degrees Celsius.

3DMark 11
3DMark is a computer benchmarking tool created and developed by Futuremark Corporation to determine the performance of a computer's 3D graphics rendering and CPU workload handling capabilities. The latest version makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. We used the ‘Performance’ preset for this benchmark.

Battlefield 3
Battlefield 3 is a first-person shooter developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and is based on the new Frostbite 2 game engine. The game only supports DX10 and DX11, which enables enhanced in-game destruction with Destruction 3.0, creating more refined physics than its predecessor and quasi-realtime radiosity using Geometrics' Enlighten technology. The game is a visual treat and a nightmare for graphics cards, which makes it perfect for our test. We used the ‘Ultra High’ preset, Post AA: High, Blur: Full, Field of View: 90, Level: ‘Fear no Evil’.

Crysis 2
Crysis 2 is a first-person shooter developed by Crytek and is based on the new CryEngine 3. Just like the first iteration of the game, Crysis 2 continues to be one of the best looking shooters to date. The settings used for this benchmark were ‘Ultra High’ preset in Adrenalin, DX11 and High-resolution texture patch.

Dirt 3
Dirt 3 is a rallying video game and the third in the Dirt series of the Colin McRae Rally series, developed and published by Codemasters. The game is extremely scalable and features DX11 tessellation effects. We used the built-in benchmark tool, along with ‘Ultra’ quality preset.

Metro 2033
Metro 2033 is a slightly older first-person shooter, which continues to bring even the toughest of graphics cards to their knees. The game has a lot of DX11 eye-candy, which really puts a strain on any GPU. All DX11 features were enabled for the benchmark and we used the “Tower” level for our test.

Batman: Arkham City
A sequel to Arkham Asylum, Arkham City features a more open-world style of gameplay as well as DX11 elements. For this test, we disabled Nvidia's PhysX, since it would be unfair to AMD’s cards. Everything else was maxed out.

Verdict and Price in India
The Asus GTX 650 Ti Direct CU II is priced at Rs.13,000, excluding taxes. This is a little expensive considering you can get the GTX 560 Ti or the HD 6950 for a little more, and they are both more potent cards than the GTX 650 Ti. At 10K, the GTX 650 Ti makes a good fit as it’s a good alternative to the HD 6850 or the HD 7770 for that matter.

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