NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Video Card Review

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Video Card Review

What? A reference video card from NVIDIA? And the review going live at NDA time? Yes - we've made peace and we're showing the GTX 650 Ti Boost today.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Mar 26 2013 7:00 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Introduction

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VIEW GALLERY - 29 IMAGES

Very few people would need to be told about the feud between TweakTown and NVIDIA. It was one that escalated heavily last year when I arrived in Taiwan for details that I'd rather not get into, as it's been covered in a fair bit of detail over the last year.

We reached out to NVIDIA US earlier this month to try and bring a truce to the whole situation; a situation that I think has definitely given me a few grey hairs over the years as we broke many launches, some by a few days, others by over a week. Each launch, though, brought with it a level of stress, from organizing a sample to the backlash of other media who felt us giving them a big slap in the face by completely disregarding the launch date.

This should be a thing of the past now as we reached out earlier in the month to NVIDIA US to finally bring an end to the constant battling between each other. It seems that everyone is happy with where we're at and its water under the bridge. Everyone's moving forward and upward and that comes with the release of the new GTX 650 Ti Boost - a model designed to take on the newly released AMD Radeon HD 7790. We've already looked at the Sapphire and GIGABYTE versions of the new HD 7790 that AMD is offering with the new model.

With that said let's get into what exactly we're dealing with here today. Because we're dealing with a reference designed GTX 650 Ti Boost from NVIDIA we've got nothing when it comes to the bundle side of things. Instead we'll simply be jumping straight into the card which will then be followed up with a look at the specifications. From there we'll move into our testbed, take a look at the cards we'll be including in our graphs and then get stuck into the performance numbers.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Being an NVIDIA reference card means we're not dealing with anything too fancy when it comes to the looks department. We've got an all-black setup and a shroud that really covers the card from top to bottom and left to right. You can see on the right hand side we've got a single fan which is designed to help push the cool air straight across the GPU and out the back of the case.

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Taking a spin around we can see at the top and towards the back we have a single 6-pin PCIe power connector, just like the new Radeon HD 7790 from AMD. You can also see the cooler overshoots the PCB by a decent margin helping push air directly across that GPU. It will be interesting to see what manufacturers do with their retail cooling solutions. Staying across the top and moving to the front you can see we've got a single SLI connector that allows us to run up to two of these cards together in SLI.

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Finishing up with the I/O department you can see we've got two Dual-Link DVI ports in the form of a DVI-I and DVI-D. We've also got a full size HDMI port and DisplayPort connector to round off the connectivity. Across the top you can see a larger vent that pushes the hot air out the back of the case.

Specifications

Of course the main comparison with the new GTX 650 Ti Boost from the NVIDIA stable is the normal non-Boost variant of the model with both cards being extremely similar in the core areas including 768 CUDA cores and 64 texture units. The new Boost model carries an increase of ROP's from 16 to 24, and the memory bus has been bumped from 128-bit to 192-bit along with onboard memory being increased to 2GB.

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The other big area is of course the clock speeds. The original GTX 650 Ti came with a core clock of 928MHz and boost wasn't an option. The new Boost variant comes in at 980MHz and 1033MHz via Boost. As for the 2GB of GDDR5, that's gone from 5400MHz to 6000MHz QDR. Again, though, we can't forget that the memory bus has been increased from 128-bit to 192-bit, which is going to help with overall performance quite well.

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.

Since we updated our benchmark line up late last year we haven't had any NVIDIA cards run through it apart from one we tested earlier on. For that reason, alongside the new GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost, we have included the GTX 660 HAWK from MSI.

As for the AMD side of things we've got a full line up starting with the older HD 7750 and HD 7770 from HIS. We've got two HD 7790's included in our graphs here today, one is the Sapphire one clocked at its out of the box speeds and the other is the GIGABYTE one which we overclocked to 1230MHz on the core and 6700MHz QDR on the memory. Finally we've also got the HIS HD 7850 to round off our video cards here today.

As you may have noticed from our HD 7790 coverage we've started to mix up the way we add new benchmarks to our reviews. We won't go into too much detail since it's explained in greater detail at the bottom of this page. But we will mention that today we've added BioShock Infinite into our benchmark line up.

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.

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 with 3DMark 11 performance you can see we're behind the HD 7790 in the Performance preset, but ahead of both versions when we move to the more intensive Extreme preset.

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.

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In this instance we're ahead of the GTX 660 HAWK. We won't pay too much attention to that in this instance, but will look closer at how the new model goes against the AMD offerings. You can see under both resolutions the new GTX 650 Ti Boost comes out ahead. This isn't a huge surprise to us as we've known NVIDIA to do better under tessellation heavy benchmarks, and Heaven is indeed one of those.

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 is strong and you can again see that out of the box the new GTX 650 Ti Boost manages to come out ahead of the HD 7790 at the stock overclock Sapphire has offered us and the stronger 1200MHz+ overclock we achieved on the GIGABYTE offering.

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."

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Lost Planet 2 performance is strong, and unlike the HD 7790's, we're able to get playable FPS at not only 1680 x 1050, but also 1920 x 1200. Like Heaven, though, this isn't a huge surprise as Lost Planet 2 is indeed quite a tessellation heavy benchmark, which tend to favor GeForce video cards.

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.

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Just Cause 2 numbers line up quite close with the out of the box overclocked HD 7790 from Sapphire. We see both cards offer us playable FPS at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200, while both fail at 2560 x 1600.

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.

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F1 2012 performance across the board is fantastic and you can see that unlike the HD 7790's, we're able to break the 60 FPS barrier at even the highest 2560 x 1600 resolution.

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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Metro 2033 like the HD 7790's looks good at 1680 x 1050, but falls shy at 1920 x 1200 and above. With only two FPS behind the 60 FPS mark at 1920 x 1200, we expect that when it comes to overclocking, the GTX 650 Ti Boost is going to be able to get the performance it needs to offer what we consider a solid gaming experience.

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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Under Dirt Showdown we can see across the board the GTX 650 Ti Boost isn't able to hit the 60 FPS number we want. The HD 7790 at 1200MHz+ on the other hand manages to be over 60 FPS at 1680 x 1050 and only two FPS shy at 1920 x 1200.

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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While Nexuiz performance on a whole is better than the AMD offerings, its numbers ultimately across the board are just way too low at all resolutions for these level of video cards.

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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Across the board we can see that Sniper Elite V2 performance is ahead of both HD 7790 setups here. More importantly, though, we manage to scrape in a 60 FPS average at 1680 x 1050.

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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Getting into Sleeping Dogs performance we can see numbers that line up with the GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7790 at over 1200MHz which is good news for NVIDIA, considering we're dealing with reference speeds on its card. At the highest resolution we fall a little back between both cards, but with none of the cards offering playable FPS at this resolution, it's not nearly as important.

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 performance bounces a little all over the place when compared to the HD 7790 setups. On a whole, though, we see playable numbers at all resolutions on the three main cards competing here.

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).

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Across the board we can see that performance from the GTX 650 Ti Boost is extremely close to the HD 7790 Sapphire here. We've got what we'd consider playable numbers at 1680 x 1050. While the minimum looks good at 1920 x 1200 we'd probably prefer a slightly higher average. Overall, though, it shouldn't be too bad.

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.

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Performance under Tomb Raider looks good for the GTX 650 Ti Boost against the AMD offerings, but we're still a little too low overall.

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.

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Checking out the new BioShock Infinite benchmarks you can see we're shy of the 60 FPS number we want at all resolutions. No doubt we'd want to drop detail slightly to try and boost those 1680 x 1050 numbers closer to the 60 FPS number.

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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Under Far Cry 2 we can see that 1920 x 1200 isn't an issue with performance coming ahead of both HD 7790 setups. We also see we're ahead at 2560 x 1600, but in this instance our minimum is just a little too low for a good gaming experience.

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Moving into the rest of our AA / AF benchmarks you can see our numbers are below the 60 FPS mark across the board.

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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Looking at the heat numbers the GTX 650 Ti Boost isn't the coolest running card. It will be interesting to see what happens when we check out options from other companies with their own retail coolers.

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 that while we're running a little warm, we're not running loud. The GTX 650 Ti Boost reference cooler sits in the bottom half of the pack when it comes to noise levels.

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 sits below the bottom of the pack. We're sitting slightly higher than the HD 7790 at load, but a nice chunk lower when it comes to the idle number. On a whole, though, the numbers are pretty impressive.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

A reference designed GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB is going to set you back $169 and a 1GB version comes in at the same price point as the reference HD 7790 at $149. It would be really interesting to see how the 1GB variant goes when compared against the 2GB version and the HD 7790. If our past experience is anything to go by, there could be little difference between the two models. We'll cover these tests in the near future if all goes to plan.

While we don't have solid pricing on the variants of the HD 7790's we've looked at just yet, we mentioned that you're probably looking at around $15 more due to the custom cooling solution and out of the box overclock. This means that the Sapphire HD 7790 1GB Dual-X OC would probably line up fairly close in price to a reference GTX 650 Ti Boost.

The coolers on the two HD 7790's we've looked at have been simply fantastic. We saw both sit pretty much at the bottom of the graphs when it came to noise and temperature - something that the reference cooler doesn't do on the GTX 650 Ti Boost.

Performance on a whole on the NVIDIA model is strong and overall it comes out ahead of the HD 7790. It's also more expensive, though, and non-reference cooled ones are going to come in at an even higher price tag. More than likely we'll see those variations come in at around the $184 to $189 mark, if our estimates work out to be correct.

In the end it really looks like if you spend a bit more money you get a bit more performance. Depending on how strict your budget is will no doubt depend which way you go. As we climb closer to that $200 mark, though, you're getting into HD 7850 territory.

NVIDIA has given its partners a good base to work off. It will be interesting to see what those partners do with cooling and out of the box overclocks. Overall, though, this mid to high $100 price bracket has really started to heat up thanks to both NVIDIA and AMD. The two things we really want to see now is a 2GB variant of the HD 7790 and check out the performance of the 1GB version of the GTX 650 Ti Boost.

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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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