Nvidia launched the GTX 650 alongside the GTX 660, which is targeted more towards the budget/mainstream crowd. The card is actually based on the same GT 640 silicon but with higher clock speeds and GDDR5 memory for added oomph. Today we have Galaxy’s offering, a company known for whacky graphics card designs. Let’s see how Nvidia’s latest changes the mainstream GPU segment.
Design and Build
Galaxy has gone with Nvidia’s reference PCB but almost everything else is their own custom design. The reference design only occupies a single slot but Galaxy’s custom cooler will take two slots in your system. The card is still very compact and will easily fit in almost any mid-tower chassis. The entire PCB is covered by this massive cooler which is made up mostly of aluminium fins and a large fan in the center to cool the card. Galaxy has also added a hinge for the outer plastic shell of the cooler so you can easily open it and clean the dust off the card – a very thoughtful addition.
Well built cooler
The rear ports include two dual-link DVI-I connectors and a miniHDMI connector. The box includes a DVI to VGA adapter and a PCIe to Molex power adapter, however we would have liked to see a miniHDMI to HDMI adapter as well. There are a bunch of vents placed beside the ports as well to vent some of the hot air outside the case. The Galaxy GTX 650 does require a 6-pin PCIe power connector but the overall power consumption is still 64W, about the same as the GT 640. Nvidia recommends a 400W PSU as a bare minimum to run this card.
Good set of connectors
Galaxy’s offering comes factory overclocked so the core runs at a faster 1111MHz while the memory runs at the stock speed of 1250MHz (5000MHz effective). The GTX 650 also comes with 1GB of GDDR5 memory unlike the DDR3 memory used in the GT 640. The rest of the specifications are pretty much identical to the GT 640 like 384 CUDA cores or shaders, 128-bit memory bus, 16 ROPs, etc.
Easy cleaning solution
Despite having very similar specifications, the GTX 650 should get a considerable boost in performance from the faster memory alone. Some key features that haven’t made the cut in the GTX 650 is GPU Boost and FXAA. The rest of the features like Adaptive VSync and 3DVision Surround are present however along with the usual PhysX support.
Compared to the GT 640, the GTX 650 is a good twenty percent faster on average so it’s nice to know the faster memory is making a really big difference. Compared to cards in this price range like the HD 7750 and the GTX 550 Ti, the GTX 650 is either on par or slightly faster than the HD 7750. It also has a slightly lower TDP despite requiring a PCIe power connector. While you can do Full HD gaming in some games with this card, you’re better off at lower resolutions like 1600 x 900. The Galaxy card also runs extremely quiet with very good temperatures. The card idles at 45 degrees Celsius and when stressed, does not go beyond 70 degrees Celsius.
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 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 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 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 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
While the MRP of the Galaxy GTX 650 is Rs.11,000, the actual street price is a more realistic Rs.7,750, inclusive of taxes. For this price you can get the HD 7750, which isn't as good when compared to the GTX 650. On the plus side, you don't need an extra power connector for the HD 7750 but the TDP of the GTX 650 is equally low so it balances out. For this price, the Galaxy GTX 650 is a very good option if you're looking for a mainstream card in this price range.
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