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MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB Boost Twin Frozr Gaming Overclocked Video Card Review

MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB Boost Twin Frozr Gaming Overclocked Video Card Review

MSI is next up with its new GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB Boost Twin Frozr Gaming video card. We overclock it and see how it performs.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, Apr 19 2013 3:14 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 33 IMAGES

It seems for at least the next few weeks the large focus on the video card market is going to be the new mid-range offerings from both AMD and NVIDIA that hit at around the $150 mark, which is definitely a key price point for companies, as it's an area where most the sales happen.

We've already looked at a lot number of retail options from both sides of the fence including the ASUS, GIGABYTE and Sapphire on the AMD Radeon HD 7790 side. As for the NVIDIA options, we've seen the Palit along with the Gainward GTX 650 Ti Boost, which we ran in SLI and overclocked.

Both models have impressed us so far and while the NVIDIA GTX 650 Ti Boost offering tends to be a little faster, it's also a little more expensive, due to the 2GB of GDDR5 included, instead of the 1GB seen on the AMD HD 7790. Today we're back looking at the GTX 650 Ti Boost which comes from MSI.

The new MSI GTX 650 Ti 2GB Boost Twin Frozr Gaming video card is the first to come in as part of the new "Gaming" series name we're seeing from MSI, which saw the launch of new motherboards under the name, too. It will be nice to see some unity between the motherboard and video card area as MSI no doubt hope to further this new "Gaming" series brand in the coming months.

While we'll be looking at one of the new MSI Gaming Series motherboards in the coming weeks, today is all about the MSI GTX 650 Ti 2GB Boost Twin Frozr Gaming video card. As always, the approach will be fairly standard as we take a time to look at the box and the package before moving onto the card itself. Once we've done that we'll then take a look at the specifications along with what we managed to overclock the card to. We'll then look at our test system, talk about the cards that you'll see in our graphs today and get stuck into the performance to see just what we're able to get out of the card.

Package

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Looking at the front of the box you can see we've got a new design with the card being part of the new Gaming series from MSI. The black and red looks good and you can see the main information on the front along with mention that it's an OC Edition card in the bottom left. Looking at the back of the box we have some of the main features including MSI Afterburner support along with mention that higher quality components are used. On the right you can see some of the core features of the GPU itself.

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Being a mid-range card we didn't expect a lot with the bundle, and you can see we've got just a Quick User Guide, driver CD, DVI to VGA connector and a dual Molex to 6-pin PCIe power connector to round off the bundle.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Looking at the card the overall design is very similar to what we've seen before, since the Twin Frozr III cooler is being used. There is a dual fan setup with a large heatsink behind them. You can see across the top and bottom some heatpipes which are going to help move the heat away from the core. One of the nicer features of the cooler is the fact that we're dealing with a metal shroud instead of a plastic one which just makes the card not only look better, but feel more solid as well.

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Taking a quick look around you can see just what we'd expect with a single 6-pin PCIe power connector at the back and a single SLI bridge at the front, in the event you want to run two of these cards together.

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When it comes to the connectivity side of things we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors in the form of DVI-D and DVI-I. We've also got a HDMI port along with a DisplayPort connector.

Specifications

Out of the box a reference GTX 650 Ti Boost comes with a 980MHz core clock that jumps to 1033MHz via Boost, and the 2GB of GDDR5 comes in at 6008MHz QDR. Looking below you can see out of the box this video card comes in at 1033MHz which is pushed to 1098MHz via Boost. As for the 2GB of GDDR5, MSI decided to leave that alone.

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As we mentioned before we decided to overclock the card today and you can see above that we managed to push the core up to 1140MHz, which gives us a boost clock of 1205MHz - this can be seen on the far right. As for the memory, that's also been bumped to a strong 6880MHz QDR.

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.

We've got a bunch of video cards in our graphs today. On the NVIDIA side we've got the overclocked MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost. Along with that we've also got the reference NVIDIA model and the pre-overclocked Palit version. We've also got the slightly higher end GTX 660 HAWK from MSI.

As for the AMD side we've got the HIS HD 7750 and HD 7770 which we overclocked to over 1100MHz on the core. We've also got two HD 7790s including the pre-overclocked Sapphire model, along with the ASUS model, which we pushed to over 1200MHz on the core.

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 we get a bit of an idea about the extra performance we're getting. We'll know more, though, when we start to look at in game performance.

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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Heaven performances increases look good and you can see when overclocked the performance is well and truly ahead of what we're seeing from the AMD offerings. This is as always due to the heavy tessellation emphasis under Heaven.

Let's start to get into some games now.

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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You can see strong performance here with the overclock that moves us into a comfortable range for performance. It's always worth remembering that we're maxed out here at 2560 x 1600 so we really have loads of room to move.

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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Across the board we see the overclock bring with it some strong gains in performance with a nice boost at 1920 x 1200 that gets us out of the 60's and into the 70's. While we see a nice bump at 2560 x 1600, you can see we're 10 FPS away from that 60 FPS number we want for a solid gaming experience.

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 look good with increases across the board. We've got fantastic numbers at 1920 x 1200 and 1680x1050. You can see at the highest resolution we do fall short of those numbers we need by a good margin.

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 is looking strong here and you can see that at the highest resolution the overclock really helps give us some more breathing room as we move from 62 / 63 FPS to a slightly better looking 67 FPS average. When we're so close to the 60 FPS area, those extra couple of FPS we get when overclocking are always appreciated.

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 under Metro 2033 that we move from under 60 FPS at 1920 x 1200 to just over it. This is exactly what we like to see when it comes to overclocking. The FPS moves from what we consider unplayable to playable.

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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While we do see a bit of a bump across the board, you can see that we still fall shy of the 60 FPS number we want at all resolutions. Only the overclocked ASUS HD 7790 and GTX 660 HAWK are able to hit 60 FPS, and that's just at the lowest resolution.

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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Nexuiz is one of those weird games that gets hit with a negative effect when overclocking. While not common, this does happen with a couple of games here and there.

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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While the other GTX 650 Ti Boost video cards managed to just break the 60 FPS number at 1680 x 1050, you can see the overclock helps give us a little more breathing room by bringing the average up to 63 FPS.

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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Looking at the Sleeping Dog numbers you can see we've got great performance at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. Like we do in a lot of our games, though, we do fall short at the higher 2560 x 1600 resolution. Overclocking sees a slightly boost, but nothing that is really going to affect your overall gaming experience that much.

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 across the boards sees some increases, but as you'd expect, we've got playable numbers at all resolutions.

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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While we see a bit of movement across the board and some strong minimum FPS numbers, we'd really like to see a slightly higher average. 1680 x 1050 isn't bad with a 46 FPS / 55 FPS result, but above that resolution, the average FPS is a little lower than we prefer.

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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While we see some movement across the minimum numbers, the averages either drop or remain similar with the overclocked card, similar to what we saw under Nexuiz. Like Nexuiz, though, the performance is just too low anyway.

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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BioShock across the board sees a bit of movement, but you can see, we're still below 60 FPS at all resolutions.

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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Above you can see that overclocking really has no effect on the performance with very similar numbers being seen. That means we've got playable numbers at 1920 x 1200 when the AA and AF is cranked up, but 2560 x 1600 continues to be a little too low for solid gameplay.

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Just Cause 2 manages to break over the 60 FPS mark with the overclock at 1920 x 1200, but apart from that, the overclock, while bringing with it some extra FPS, doesn't change the gaming experience in the other five scores much.

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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It comes as no surprise that the temperature numbers are good. We'd expect nothing less from the MSI Twin Frozr III cooler.

Considering this NVIDIA GPU tends to run a bit warmer than other ones, these are some great numbers coming out of this MSI video card, considering the overvoltage on the core and the increase in clock speeds on both the core and memory.

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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What's great is that those lower temperature numbers we saw on the last page aren't coming at the cost of increased noise. Again in typical MSI Twin Frozr III fashion, the noise levels are impressive.

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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Finally we finish our graphs off with the power draw numbers and like our other GTX 650 Ti Boost offerings, they're extremely low - even when overclocked.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

Coming in at $179.99 at the time of writing, the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr Gaming video card is one of the more expensive NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti offerings. The quality of the cooler means that the extra price doesn't come as much of a shock to us. One thing about the GTX 650 Ti Boost we've said since the beginning is that it's clearly a model that operates warmer than you'd expect considering where it sits on the market, so it's a good thing MSI attached a solid performing cooler to it.

Looking at the numbers today, you can see that we've got some impressive temperature numbers that look even better when you consider the fact that we're running with more voltage on the core and higher clock speeds in both the core and memory area. The other important piece of information to note is the fact that it isn't running cooler because it's louder than the other options - the noise level numbers are also impressive.

As for the overclocking side of things, that was ahead of the reference card. It doesn't surprise us, though, considering the fact that we're dealing with a retail cooler that performed much stronger than the reference card. We're not shocked by the fact it was able to perform stronger.

The weakest area of the video card is the same area we see most cards fall back in; the bundle. We have seen over the past few years the bundle shrink down, but we must admit the current promotion that AMD is doing bundling BioShock Infinity with the HD 7790 is definitely attractive.

While we've only looked at a couple of GTX 650 Ti Boost retail offerings at the moment, we've got to admit that the MSI GTX 650 Ti 2GB Boost Twin Frozr Gaming is an attractive option. The cooler is clearly the highlight and is what helps it stand out against the other cards we've looked at so far.

If you're after a GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB, this offering from MSI is one that you should be looking at for sure.

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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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