MSI GEFORCE GTX 650 Ti 1GB Power Edition Video Card Review

Finishing up the GTX 600 series for the most part we check out the GTX 650 Ti Power Edition from MSI.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Oct 25 2012 11:55 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:01 PM CST
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Package

MSI GEFORCE GTX 650 Ti 1GB Power Edition Video Card Review 02 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 25 IMAGES

The other day we checked out the MSI GTX 650 1GB Power Edition and today we look at the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to the main GTX 600 series and that comes in the form of the MSI GTX 650 Ti 1GB Power Edition.

When looking at the GTX 650 and the GTX 660, we noticed that there's quite a large gap in performance with a bunch of FPS separating the cards. What we did see, though, is just how well the new model shined when it came to the overclocking side of things with a massive overclock which really did a good job of giving us what was often a 20% increase in performance.

Today we're going to find out how the new GTX 650 Ti sits between the two non-Ti models. Along with that we'll also see what the performance difference is against the GTX 650 with the massive overclock we managed to achieve on the Power Edition version of the card we looked at.

Before we find out just what kind of performance this new GTX 650 Ti is able to pull out in terms of performance, though, the first thing we need to do is take a look at the package of the MSI GTX 650 Ti 1GB Power Edition and find out just what kind bundle MSI is offering us.

From there we'll move onto the card itself and take a closer look at the specification side of things. We'll look at what a reference GTX 650 Ti will offer you out of the box while we'll also take a look at what this MSI version is offering. Once we've done that we'll check out the testbed and then finally get into the performance side of things to see just what kind of numbers we're able to get out of this new model.

Package

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Checking out the front of the box you can see the typical Power Edition box design we've seen for a while now with all the standard information mentioned on the front of the box. Opening up the box we see across the top we've got a run down on some of the main advantages that are brought to the table being a Power Edition Card.

The big one is Triple Over-Voltage function that is opened up via MSI Afterburner while we can also see improved components in the form of the Hi-c CAP, Solid CAP and SFC. Across the bottom we can see the enhanced PWM Design, a bit more mention about MSI Afterburner and some quotes on the Cyclone cooler including one from TweakTown.

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Moving to the bottom half of the box we get a look at the card for the first time and you can see a strong emphasis on the cooler and some of the main features that it offers. Turning the box over we get a run down on the main features and some other key information regarding the GTX 650 Ti itself.

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Moving inside the package we can see the normal line up of paperwork and driver CD present. Along with that we've got a DVI to VGA connector, Mini-HDMI to HDMI connector and a Dual-Molex to 6-pin PCIe power connector to round out the bundle.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Looking at the card we straight away noticed the Cyclone II cooler which we've seen before and really liked. It's always managed to not only look good, but also perform extremely well. What we would have loved to see is a black PCB against it instead of the brown to complete the look. The lower mid-range aim of the model, though, means that companies don't tend to pay as much attention when it comes to PCB aesthetics.

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Looking around there's not a whole lot to look at with the only stand out being the single 6-pin PCIe power connector located at the back of the card. Like the GTX 650 we also don't see a SLI connector and that's because the GTX 650 series simply doesn't support SLI.

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Finishing our look at the card with the I/O side of things you can see we've got a Dual-Link DVI-D and Dual-Link DVI-I along with a Mini-HDMI connector to round out the connectivity side of things.

Specifications

Out of the box the new GTX 650 Ti will give you a 928MHz core clock while the 1GB of GDDR5 will come in at 5400MHz QDR. Other key information includes 768 CUDA Cores which is a big increase over the 384 on the non-Ti version of the card. As for the memory, that sits on the same 128-bit memory bus.

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Looking above you can see that MSI have of course chosen to overclock this card out of the box with the core being boosted to 993MHz. Just like the GTX 650 Power Edition, though, we can see that MSI have chosen to leave the memory clock alone.

It would've been nice to see them give a slightly boost to the memory clock, but as we've known in the past, the core clock increase is what's going to give us the main performance increase.

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.

With our testbed pretty much covered in full detail in the image above let's just quickly cover the cards that will be included in our graphs today.

On the NVIDIA side of things we've of course got our new GTX 650 Ti 1GB Power Edition. Alongside that, though, we've got the GTX 650 1GB Power Edition at its out of the box clocks and it's strong overclock we managed to achieve.

Also on the NVIDIA side of things we've got the GTX 660 and GTX 660 Ti to round off that collection of cards.

On the AMD side of things we've got the HD 7750 and HD 7770 along with the big brothers to those models the HD 7850 OC and HD 7870 to round out our cards.

Let's get started!

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.

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 with 3DMark 11 we can see that performance looks strong out the gate as you see a nice increase over the GTX 650. We can also see that even against the highly overclocked GTX 650 we can see that performance is also extremely separated.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

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.

MSI GEFORCE GTX 650 Ti 1GB Power Edition Video Card Review 21 | TweakTown.com

Against the HD 7700 series cards we can see the GTX 650 Ti 1GB Power Edition has no problems competing. Let's see how the new model performs when we start to get into some games.

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

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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Starting our game testing with H.A.W.X. 2 we've got some strong performance here and you can see we're ahead of the HD 7700 series cards again with no problem at all.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

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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Out of the box we can see that the GTX 650 struggled to break that 60 FPS barrier we need at both resolutions. The Ti version on the other hand manages to break that 60 FPS number at both resolutions coming out ahead of the HD 7770 with ease.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

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 is extremely intensive, but you can see that we manage to sneak over that 60 FPS barrier at 1680 x 1050. Of course coming over by just a single FPS means that 1920 x 1200 isn't an option. In this instance you can see we're not all that far away from the HD 7850.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

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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While we come quite close to that 60 FPS number at 1680 x 1050 you can see we do fall shy of it. Against the HD 7700 series cards, though, we do see the GTX 650 Ti Power Edition perform extremely strong.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

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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Just Cause 2 performance is good and we can see that 1680 x 1050 isn't an issue. Moving to 1920 x 1200 we can see numbers are again very good, but we do fall a few FPS shy of that number we want to see. Again, we continue to see the GTX 650 Ti Power Edition really dominate against the HD 7700 cards, though.

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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This is another really intensive game and while we do fall short of the 60 FPS number we want at both resolutions for solid gameplay, you can see we're not too far away at 1680 x 1050. If we're able to see similar OC success on this model we should get the boost we need to break that 60 FPS barrier with ease.

Benchmarks - Dirt 3

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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Dirt 3 sees some great numbers at 1680 x 1050, but at 1920 x 1200 we fall just a few FPS short again.

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 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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Here we see strong FPS across the board, but you can see we do fall a little shy of that 30 FPS minimum we'd like to see at 2560 x 1600 for a smooth gaming experience.

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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There is no surprise that the Cyclone cooler does a good job here and we've got some impressive looking numbers considering we're seeing quite strong performance.

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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In typical fashion we also see that these cool numbers aren't coming at the cost of high noise levels as the Cyclone cooler does a good job of sitting towards the bottom of the pack.

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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Power draw numbers sit at a similar level to the GTX 650 in both idle and load departments coming in at around that mid 300 Watt mark.

Final Thoughts

The Ti version of the GTX 650 really brings that extra "oomph" that we want to see from a video card that makes 1680 x 1050 an easy option under a lot of games. Saying that, though, we couldn't with confidence say that 1680 x 1050 is an option on all games as you can see under those intensive games that we do fall back under that number of 60 FPS we need to see for a smooth gaming experience.

What's important, though, is that when we do fall behind, we're never all that far away from that 60 FPS number. Considering we bench with max in game details it means that we really do have a lot of room to move when it comes to detail and dropping in game detail just slightly will get those extra FPS that we need.

On the other hand if you don't want to drop detail overclocking is your next option and this shouldn't come as too much of a shock since the card is part of the Power Edition series. One of the main reasons to choose this card over others is because of the greater overclocking options that are offered by a Power Edition model.

I'm also a fan of the fact that MSI have chosen to go with the Cyclone cooler in this instance instead of the TransThermal option we saw on the non-Ti version. While we're a fan of that cooler we felt that it's a little over the top for the model with the extra fan option. It's a strong cooler and we saw that it pulled some absolutely fantastic numbers, but we continue to feel it's not all that necessary for this lower end mid-range model.

Overall the GTX 650 Ti Power Edition is just a strong performing model for the price and the GTX 650 Ti on a whole is a good addition to the NVIDIA stable. While we haven't looked at the overclocking side of things here today, we can tell you that we're again off to a good start like we saw with the GTX 650.

We've also got some much nicer numbers to start with when it comes to the performance side of things. We're often seeing in game that we're only a few FPS away from that 60 FPS number we aim for. If we can lift our numbers to where we want without the need to drop any in game detail then we can chalk up the overclocking side of things with a win.

Coming in at $159.99 this is a great option for people who want to spend money that sits around that mid $100 mark. For comparisons sake the Power Edition version of the HD 7770 from MSI comes in at $124.99 after rebate and the overclocking performance wasn't as strong. For that reason we wouldn't hesitate recommending you spend the extra dollars for this video card.

We've said it before and we'll say it again; in typical fashion MSI has done a good job with a good model that manages to really stand out for all the right reasons. We would've preferred a nicer looking PCB against the Cyclone cooler, but in the end performance is what talks and the Power Edition from MSI is a good looking model.

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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.

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