NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI

With a second reference GTX 650 Ti Boost on hand we throw both video cards in SLI and check out the performance.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, Apr 5 2013 10:15 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT

Introduction

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 02 | TweakTown.com
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Recently we looked at the new NVIDIA GTX 650 Ti Boost and a few days after that launched we received a second card. With two reference NVIDIA video cards on hand we knew there was only one thing to do. That was of course throw both into our testbed and see just what kind of performance we could get out of the new budget orientated SLI setup.

It's been a while since we've seen two NVIDIA cards of the same model that would us allow to test in SLI. After I installed the two cards into the testbed and looked down at them sitting together with no SLI bridge, I then discovered I had to actually go find an SLI bridge, something that we haven't used in quite a long time.

Fortunately it didn't take me too long to find one and I found the machine up and running quite quickly. Because we've already looked at the GTX 650 Ti Boost in a fair bit of detail in our original launch article, we won't be covering too much extra today.

From here we'll move onto the testbed system setup and also quickly take a look at our GPU-Z screenshot to make sure that SLI is of course enabled and working. From there we'll simply just get straight into the benchmark side of things to see just what kind of performance we're able to get out of this new setup.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

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

The two important configurations are the single GTX 650 Ti Boost and the GTX 650 Ti Boost in SLI. We want to see just what kind of performance increase we get when we throw a second card into the mix here today. Alongside that we've also got the slightly higher end GTX 660 HAWK from MSI.

We've got a bunch of AMD cards including the HD 7790 running at Sapphire's own OC speed and the GIGABYTE version running at our own overclocked speeds. We've also got the HIS HD 7850 IceQ along with the newer HD 7870 XT from Sapphire that is overclocked. Finally we've got the PowerColor HD 7950 overclocked by us and the AMD HD 7970 GHz Edition to round out the collection of cards.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 01 | TweakTown.com

Before we get into the testing side of things, we want to make sure that SLI is working. Firing up GPU-Z you can see across the bottom in the image above that SLI is indeed enabled and is so via two GPUs.

The FPS Numbers Explained

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.

Why are some graphs incomplete?

Adding new game benchmarks is a long, tedious and time consuming task as every video card has to be re-tested in those new benchmarks. Because of that reason we have always just evaluated our benchmark line up every six months. To stay up to date and current with the latest benchmarks and games available, we've changed our approach to adding new benchmarks.

Our benchmark line up will progress and be updated as newer more intensive games with benchmarks comes to light. While this will mean that initially you may only see a single video card in those particular graphs, as the weeks go on and we test more and more video cards, the results will grow quickly. This will help keep our benchmark line up as up to date as possible as we introduce and remove games on a constant basis.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

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, the performance gains are very strong under this synthetic benchmark. Compared to the other setups, you can see that we're sitting around HD 7970 GHz Edition level territory at the performance preset and at the higher resolution you can see that the SLI setup is about 10% faster.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

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.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 21 | TweakTown.com

Heaven performance is very strong with both good gains and just overall strong performance against all the other setups here. No doubt this is thanks to the strong tessellation performance that NVIDIA has always seen.

Benchmarks - Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.sega.com/?t=EnglishUSA

Product Homepage: http://www.pso2.com/us/html/index.html

Play Phantasy Star Online 2 and experience revolutionary combat in an action-driven, free-to-play multiplayer online RPG from SEGA. Take a journey into an immersive sci-fi fantasy narrative and explore mysterious worlds to unravel their secrets. Join fellow adventurers and fight against the legions of darkness to banish them from the galaxy.

Score explanation: Less than 2000: Please adjust your game settings because the processing load is quite heavy.

2000 through 5000: The game runs fine at the setting, if you have room, you can adjust some settings.

5001+: The game works wonderfully at this setting.

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PSO2 performance becomes strong as you can see we move way over the 5001+ mark. You can see we're sitting behind the HD 7900 offerings in this case, though.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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."

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 23 | TweakTown.com

Here we see more strong gains again across the board, which puts our SLI setup ahead of the competition in all areas. More importantly, though, we've got playable FPS at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 24 | TweakTown.com

Just Cause 2 continues the trends with some very strong performance gains over the single GPU setup. We also see that performance is floating around that HD 7900 area again. Again, though, the most important thing is that we've got playable FPS at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - F1 2012

F1 2012

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

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

In F1 2012 players will feel the unparalleled thrill of becoming a FORMULA ONE driver with a host of new features, wide-ranging technical and gameplay advancements and extensive competitive and co-operative multiplayer components. F1 2012 will feature all of the official teams, drivers and circuits from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, including the debut of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Austin, Texas and the return of Germany's famous Hockenheim circuit to the calendar.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 25 | TweakTown.com

You can see we hit a bit of a wall under F1 2012 at around the 130 FPS, which is seen at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. While we don't hit the wall at 2560 x 1600, you can see that the 107 FPS average is very strong coming out ahead of all our other setups.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

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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You can see across the board that we've not only got playable numbers under Metro 2033, but we're also pretty much in line with the HD 7970 GHz Edition at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Dirt Showdown

Dirt Showdown

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/dirtshowdown/360/

DiRT Showdown is the new arcade racing game from the team that brought you the award-winning DiRT series, uncaged in 2012. Pick up and play controls combine with electrifying events, frenzied crowds and stunning graphics to deliver high octane, dive in and drive thrills from event one.

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Dirt Showdown sees some good gains and we're able to get playable FPS numbers now at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. You can see we still fall shy at the highest resolution. Compared to the other offerings we're sitting at around the same performance as AMD's HD 7970 GHz Edition.

Benchmarks - Nexuiz

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.alientrap.org/

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

Nexuiz is an Arena First Person shooter coming soon to consoles. Nexuiz is fast paced with extremely competitive game play. IllFonic brings Alientrap Software's Nexuiz to next-gen gaming consoles around the world while staying true to the game play refined over the years through development. IllFonic introduces a new Victorian influenced art style that is simultaneously futuristic and sophisticated. Nexuiz for consoles is powered by CryENGINE 3.

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Unlike Crossfire, Nexuiz is able to make use of dual GPU technology from NVIDIA.

We see some fantastic gains, but you can still see across the board, that we're still shy of the 60 FPS number that we're always on the hunt for to provide a solid gaming experience.

Benchmarks - Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

Product Homepage: http://sniperelitev2.com/us/age.html

Sniper Elite V2 features detailed sniping simulation with advanced ballistics, taking into account gravity, wind, velocity, bullet penetration, aim stability and more. Guaranteed to provide players with the most realistic simulation of military sharpshooting yet available.

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You can see while the single GPU setup managed to just get 60 FPS at 1680 x 1050. However, when we move to the SLI setup, we get playable FPS at all resolutions, with 64 FPS being seen at the highest resolution.

Benchmarks - Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://eu.square-enix.com/en

Product Homepage: http://www.sleepingdogs.net/

The core gameplay of Sleeping Dogs consists of giving the player an open world environment in which to move around freely. Sleeping Dogs is played as an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective action-adventure game with role-playing elements. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization. On foot, the player character has the ability to walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and martial arts in combat. Players also drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats, and motorcycles.

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Sleeping Dogs sees some fantastic performance gains like we've seen from our other benchmarks here today. Against the competition you can see that the SLI setup actually comes out ahead of the HD 7970 GHz Edition at all resolutions in this case.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

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 Montreal 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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Far Cry 2 numbers are good as you'd expect with very playable numbers across the board.

Benchmarks - Hitman Absolution

Hitman Absolution

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.ioi.dk/

Product Homepage: http://hitman.com/

Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on IO Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. Before release, the developers stated that Absolution would be easier to play and more accessible, while still retaining hardcore aspects of the franchise. The game was released on 20 November 2012, which is in the 47th week of the year (in reference to the protagonist, Agent 47).

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 32 | TweakTown.com

Hitman Absolution performance becomes very strong and you can see we manage to get strong gains and playable numbers across the board with some great minimum numbers in SLI mode.

Benchmarks - Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

Product Homepage: http://www.tombraider.com/us/base/agegate?refer=184&

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure platform video game. Published by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is the fifth title developed by Crystal Dynamics in the Tomb Raider franchise. As the first entry in a new Tomb Raider continuity, the game is a reboot that emphasizes the reconstructed origins of the culturally influential lead character Lara Croft. Tomb Raider was released on 5 March 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows to universal critical acclaim.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 33 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider sees some strong gains and you can see across the board we now have minimums of 30 FPS. Our numbers look good at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. At 2560 x 1600, though, we'd say that the average is just a little too low for a solid gaming experience.

Benchmarks - BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://irrationalgames.com/

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

BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game and the third installment in the BioShock series. Previously known as "Project Icarus", it is being developed by Irrational Games and was released worldwide on the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms on March 26, 2013. BioShock Infinite is not part of the storyline of previous BioShock games but features similar gameplay concepts and themes.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 34 | TweakTown.com

The new BioShock Infinite sees some great gains and we've got playable numbers at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. You can see our performance is too low at 2560 x 1600, though.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to an unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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As you'd expect with the strong performance gains we have some great numbers at both resolutions here.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 36 | TweakTown.com

Moving to SLI you can see the strong gains are enough for playable numbers at 1920 x 1200, but we fall short at the higher 2560 x 1600 resolution.

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Unlike Metro 2033, you can see here the boost in performance gives us playable numbers at both resolutions.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 38 | TweakTown.com

Sleeping Dogs sees some great gains, but it's not enough to bring us to playable levels.

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.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 40 | TweakTown.com

The GTX 650 Ti Boost is a bit of a warm running video card as it is and you can see in SLI that it runs slightly warmer. We're looking forward to testing some cards with aftermarket coolers to see if we can get these heat numbers down.

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).

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 41 | TweakTown.com

Noise levels are pretty good sitting in the middle of the pack. Throwing a second card into the mix doesn't do too much to the noise levels fortunately.

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.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI 42 | TweakTown.com

Power draw jumps as you'd expect, but overall the numbers are pretty good. If you're using this kind of setup we'd hope you'd have a decent 650+ Watt branded power supply in use.

Final Thoughts

It's been a long time since we've tested NVIDIA SLI and been able to see how the technology is going. To be honest, it hasn't really changed much since we last looked at the technology previously. That's not a bad thing, though, because SLI has always been very strong and when it comes to offering a good boost in performance, it's done an excellent job.

SLI and CrossFire ultimately are both very good these days, especially when it comes to just using two cards. Moving past that, the gains aren't always as impressive; of course they still exist, but the value isn't as strong when compared to moving from a single GPU setup to a dual GPU setup.

Going to an SLI setup, though, usually always just comes down to price. A single GTX 650 TI Boost is going set you back $169.99 meaning two comes in at $339.98. Against the AMD line up it's fair to say that performance of an SLI setup is similar to that of a single Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, which costs around $440.

With a $100 price difference you can see the value in going for this kind of SLI setup over the single higher end AMD option. Combined with the fact that SLI performance gains are strong and consistent, you'd find yourself hard pressed to justify the extra $100 for the AMD option.

Multi card setups aren't for everyone, but if you're looking for some good performance at a strong price point, with the way AMD and NVIDIA are being so aggressive with these mid-range video cards these days, it's something that you should really start to look at.

In the end we all want strong performance at a strong price point. For that reason this is a setup that you should really consider. What we really want to see, though, is the performance of some cards with aftermarket cooling. We'd like to get the temperature and noise levels a little lower. That's of course something we're going to be looking at over the coming days - stay tuned for more.

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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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