MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC full review

The increasingly extended 6xx family of graphics cards from nVidia gets another member, with the entry of the GeForce GTX 650. Logically, you might this to be a trimmed-down version of the nVidia GTX 650 Ti. Despite the similar names, though, the two cards are actually based around different technology, with the Ti built around the GK106 architecture, while this GTX 650 has a GK107 chip at its heart.

See: more graphics cards reviews.

Given the low sub-£100 price point, the card is rather chunky, and feels very substantial. MSI hasn’t followed nVidia’s reference design, so this card looks very different to the typical 650. 

It also allows you to bolt on a second fan which can be placed either on top of the existing fan, or at the back. Either way, it’s a good way of increasing cooling while adding little to the sound levels. This GTX 650 is almost silent in operation, and its astonishingly low TDP of 64 watt testifies to its power-efficient design. A single 6-pin power connector is needed.

This being an overclocked (OC) version, the MSI comes with the promise of increased figures over a standard 650. As a matter of fact, only the core clock has been boosted, with the 650’s memory speed of 1.25GHz remaining unchanged (5GHz when the quadrupling ability of the GDDR5 RAM has been taken into account). 

The core clock, though, sees an upgrade of around 6% in frequency, from the standard 1058MHz to a rather more impressive 1124MHz. This clock speed is much higher than that of the 650 Ti, although given that these cards use different chips, it’s perhaps unwise to read too much into that. 

Compared to the more closely related GT 640, its figures are very much superior – particularly in MSI’s overclocked version of the 650.

In many respects, the 650 is very much cut down next to the 650 Ti. There’s only half the number of stream processors,  384 instead of 768. Even the Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 can boast 512 processors. 

Memory bandwidth is more competitive, and the figure of 80GBps is only marginally behind the PNY 650 Ti’s 86.4GBps – and some distance ahead of the 7750’s figure of 72GBps. But only having 32 texture units really hits the 650, and its texture fill-rate of 36GTps is some distance behind the 650 Ti’s 59.4GTps – itself a rather paltry figure.

MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC: Performance

In practice, the GTX 650 generally finds itself behind the AMD Radeon 7770, although not by an awful lot. 

Indeed, in Stalker, it managed to beat the 7770, with figures of 39.7 and 36fps at the highest resolutions comparing with 37.3 and 35.8fps for the 7770. 

It finishes some way behind the 650 Ti, though, and that card scorched ahead on 53.5fps.  

In Crysis 2, the 650 dropped behind the 7770, with figures of 22.7 and 21.9fps leaving it a few adrift of the 7770’s 25.1 and 23.9fps. These differences are more or less replicated in BattleForge. 

In all tests, the 7750 was several frames behind the 650, while the 650 Ti often tallied an extra 15+ frames. Of course, the 650 Ti is rather more expensive, costing around £40 more than the 650. In contrast the 7770 costs only around £10-£15 extra. 

You can add to that the extra overclocking potential when used with the second fan, and we were able to boost the 650 by several frames without making it break sweat.


MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC: Specs

  • nVidia GeForce GTX 650
  • 1GB GDDR5
  • 1124MHz Core Clock
  • 1250MHz Memory Clock (5,000MHz DDR effective)
  • 400MHz Ramdac
  • 128bit memory interface
  • 384 Stream Processors
  • 32 Texture Units
  • 16 ROP Units
  • PCI-E Interface
  • DirectX 11
  • 2 x DVI, 1 x Mini-HDMI
  • 1 x 6pin PSU connector needed
  • 3-year warranty

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