MSI GEFORCE GTX 650 1GB Power Edition Video Card Overclocked

We overclock the Power Edition version of the GTX 650 and see what we can do with the model.
| Oct 23, 2012 at 10:08 pm CDT
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Overclocking

VIEW GALLERY - 16 IMAGES

The other day we got a chance to look at the MSI GTX 650 1GB Power Edition and while we didn't find ourselves completely in love with the model, we did start overclocking the card before we had completely finished writing the final thoughts. It was here we made note that we found ourselves quite impressed with what was going on in the overclocking department.

Today the overclocking side of things is exactly what we're going to be looking at as we use MSI Afterburner to see what exactly we managed to get out of the card. A strong overclock, though, shouldn't come as too much of a shock as the model does fall under the Power Edition series from MSI; a series that has always managed to impress us no matter what level of card it's implemented at.

Of course one of the biggest features to the Power Edition series is the Triple Over-Voltage ability. Normally what we see is a video card allows voltage adjustment that is limited to just the core. Of course that's always the most important area as the increased core clock is what brings with it the greatest gains, but the Power Edition series like the HAWK and Lightning ones bring with it the ability to adjust the AUX and Memory voltages as well.

Along with improved components on the card we tend to find these MSI offerings overclock better than others so when it comes to getting the best possible performance often we see MSI come out ahead of the competition.

While normally we'd move into the package and the card itself because we've already looked at the card in detail we'll simply be just getting into the overclocking side of things. Once we've done that we'll jump straight into the Test System Setup, cover the cards that will be included in our graphs today and then get stuck into the performance side of things.

Overclocking

Out of the box a reference GTX 650 comes with a 1058MHz core and the 1GB of GDDR5 comes in at 5000MHz QDR. The pre-overclocked Power Edition from MSI sees the same memory clock speed, but the core gets a slight bump to 1124MHz.

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Looking above you can see we managed to push the core to a massive 1329MHz and the 1GB of GDDR5 got a really nice increase to 5920MHz QDR. This is a really nice boost in numbers and should hopefully bring with it a strong increase in performance.

Before we see just what the card did, though, we need to quickly look at our testbed and look at what cards will be included in our graphs today.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS and Corsair.

As usual nothing has changed when it comes to the testbed side of things so we'll just get into the cards that we'll be using in our graphs today which is really identical to what we used the other day when we tested the card at its out of the box speeds.

We've of course got the GTX 650 Power Edition running at stock alongside the GTX 660 and GTX 660 Ti from NVIDIA. While on the AMD side of things we've got the HD 7750, HD 7770, HD 7850 OC and HD 7870 to round out our cards today.

Let's get started!

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Starting off with 3DMark 11 we can see a nice boost in performance and you can see we manage to get a nice jump on the HD 7770 in this instance.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com

Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Moving into Heaven we again see a really nice boost in performance with the card again coming out ahead of those stock clocked HD 7700 options.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx

Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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While not needed we do see a nice boost in performance here which lines us up with the HD 7770 for the most part.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/

Buy It Here

Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Mafia II sees a great boost in performance and we see playable numbers at 1680 x 1050. We also see a really nice boost at 1920 x 1200 and while we're still below that 60 FPS mark, a slight detail drop would get the numbers up to where we need them to be which is pretty cool for a video card that is valued at around $100.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1

Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Lost Planet 2 sees a strong boost in performance and we see the GTX 650 really separate itself from the HD 7700 cards. Unfortunately we're below that 60 FPS number we want for a smooth gaming experience. This isn't a huge surprise, though considering the intensity of the game.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/

Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Like Lost Planet 2 we see a nice boost in performance, but again unfortunately we're below that 60 FPS number we want at both resolutions. Also like Lost Planet 2 it's not a huge surprise considering the intensity of the game.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.2

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

Developer Homepage: http://www.eidos.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.justcause.com/

Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the other side of the world from the original Just Cause, on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Panau has varied terrain, from desert to alpine to rainforest. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.

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Again a really nice boost in performance and while we do again fall short of that 60 FPS mark we're looking for, a small detail drop at 1680 x 1050 would give us the numbers we need for our game to be playable.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Metro 2033 falls into the same category of Lost Planet 2 and Aliens vs. Predator. We see a nice boost in performance, but unfortunately the intensity of the game means we're still a decent chunk below that 60 FPS number we're looking for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

Benchmarks - Dirt 3

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.dirt3game.com/

DiRT 3 boasts more cars, more locations, more routes and more events than any other game in the series, including over 50 rally cars representing the very best from five decades of the sport. With more than double the track content of 2009's hit, DiRT 3 will see players start at the top as a professional driver, with a top-flight career in competitive off-road racing complimented by the opportunity to express themselves in Gymkhana-style showpiece driving events.

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We continue to see a nice boost in performance, but unfortunately fall below that 60 FPS number we want at both resolutions. We do see good numbers at 1680 x 1050, though, and not too much would have to be done in the detail department to bring those numbers are to where we want them to be for solid gameplay.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01

Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/

Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montréal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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Looking at Far Cry 2 we can see strong performance at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. While we see a nice boost at 2560 x 1600 it's still not enough under an older game like Far Cry 2.

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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While we've bumped the voltages and clocks up you can see temps are still strong and that's no doubt thanks to us adding the second fan into the mix.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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The good news is the second fan really doesn't change noise levels are all with very little difference being seen between the single fan setup and the dual fan setup we've got here.

Power Consumption Test

Using our PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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On the power draw front you can see really nothing changes as idle and load numbers are near identical when overclocked.

Final Thoughts

The overclock numbers we managed to get out of the MSI GTX 650 Power Edition really are quite amazing here and across the board we're seeing gains of around 20%. While this isn't always enough to get us over that 60 FPS mark, we can see sometimes it is with games like Mafia II.

More importantly, though, the gains bring us closer to that 60 FPS number and while we might still fall short, the detail drop is going to be less significant when overclocked to these speeds when compared to the out of the box performance. If you can move from Max to High instead of Medium the overclock is doing exactly what we want.

Something else that the GTX 650 Power Edition has going for it is that the HD 7700 series from AMD were never good overclockers. Of course they managed to overclock, but not to this kind of level. The series also got off to a really rough start and while we've seen the price come down quite a bit since launch, a lot of people continue to remember the series as the black sheep of the HD 7000 series due to a price point that was just too high considering the performance.

To get the most out of the MSI GTX 650 Power Edition you're going to want to overclock it and if you're new to the overclocking side of things it's not something you should really be afraid of. MSI Afterburner isn't going to let you over volt the card higher than what they feel is safe, and when it comes to finding the max stable OC while that can be a little tedious, it's ultimately a pretty fun process. Especially as you run something like 3DMark 11 over and over again and keep slowly seeing your score climb at no extra cost.

Considering the after rebate price of $99.99 on the MSI GTX 650 Ti Power Edition this video card ends up as a really good buy for anyone who is looking for a card on a budget. You're not going to be seeing playable numbers at 2560 x 1600 and 1920 x 1200 continues to be a struggle. But at this price point, and if you throw overclocking into the mix, you end up with a really nice video card that can perform pretty strong.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:31 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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