Last week we tested the new GeForce GTX 1650 for the first time and were disappointed with what we found. For some time now, the AMD Radeon RX 570 has been or should be the first choice for price-conscious players. It wipes out the GTX 1050 Ti and has been cheaper to buy since cryptocurrency mining cooled.
The Radeon RX 570 is an affordable gaming graphics card, but as great as it is, we were hoping we could get a Turing-based GPU that is even better. However, this didn't happen because the GTX 1650 struggled to match the value of the faster RX 580.
The only possible advantage of the GTX 1650 is its energy efficiency. Less power consumption means cooler and quieter graphics cards, or at least possibly. The opposite can also happen when AIB partners try to maximize profit and hit a crushed coke can on the thing that runs at 70 degrees.
Still, the few GTX 1650 cards we've seen run cool and quiet despite their nondescript-looking coolers. The other advantage, if not a lot of power is used, is that the GTX 1650 can be configured so that no external power is used. The models we previously tested by MSI and Gigabyte required the external 6-pin power connector, which meant they were in direct competition with something like the cheaper and faster Radeon RX 570.
Since then we have bought the Gigabyte GTX 1650 OC, a 195 mm long graphics card that weighs all 377 grams and above all has no external power connection. For context, the Gigabyte Gaming OC version we used in our original test is 36% longer and 76% heavier.
In terms of pricing, the smaller version without the 6-pin PCIe power connector costs $ 155, just $ 5 more than the MSRP. The gaming OC version, on the other hand, costs $ 180 and is therefore 16% more expensive. By default, the base model targets a boost clock rate of 1710 MHz, while the larger version targets 1815 MHz. While gaming, the base model was usually raised to 1830 MHz, while the 6-pin model reached 1950 MHz.
Since the base model is limited to the 75-watt power of the PCI Express x16 slot, it cannot clock higher because the specifications are no longer sufficient and the motherboard could be damaged. So we immediately saw a peak GPU load of 67 watts while the gaming OC model reached 72 watts.
Given these limitations, overclocking the base model is not possible. The card's power limit is set at 100% and we could push a further 15 MHz out of the core. This was also somewhat doubtful, since the GPU load rose to 69 watts. However, we quickly found that the GTX 1650 is extremely memory-bound. So if you spend the low available power budget for the 75-watt model by overclocking the 4 GB of GDDR5 memory, this will result in bigger profits. We were able to increase the storage frequency by 17%, and as you will see shortly, this led to quite impressive performance gains.
As expected, the cards that could draw more power from the power supply overclocked better, and we'll look at these results in a moment. After overclocking, the Gigabyte GTX 1650 Gaming OC peaked at 91 watts and an average operating frequency of 2070 MHz, which was pretty impressive. Only a few games run in our usual GPU test bench, which contains a Core i9-9900K with 5 GHz and 32 GB DDR4-3200 memory.
First of all we have World War II and here the performance between the two Gigabyte GTX 1650 models is immediately identical, which might seem a bit strange since the 6-pin model is clocked 6-7% higher. As already mentioned, however, the GTX 1650 is very memory-bound, so you have to overclock the core strongly before you notice a noticeable drop in performance.
If the core frequency was left untouched, but the GDDR5 memory frequency was increased by 18%, the frame rate improved by 7% in World War II. This was not an amazing overclocking over the base model, but when I tried to overclock the cores, it was a 1-2% increase. The 6-pin model supported core and memory overclocking, and the memory went a little further. This led to a performance increase of 12% and placed the GTX 1650 directly behind a standard GTX 1060 with 3 GB.
Not exactly an impressive result, but that's about the best you can hope for from a GTX 1650 in World War II.
The performance improvements when testing with Far Cry New Dawn were similar. The base model was 7% faster after overclocking, while the 6-pin model was 14% faster. Another nice performance boost for the 6-pin model, but still it was still slower than a standard 3 GB 1060 and much slower than the standard Radeon RX 570.
We know Forza Horizon 4 is the memory-sensitive title, so we weren't particularly surprised to find that the base model's memory overclock gave a 13% increase in performance comparable to that of the 15-pin 6-pin model.
The gains observed in Fortnite are reminiscent of what we saw in World War II and Far Cry New Dawn, an increase of 8% for the base model and 13% for the 6-pin version.
Then we finally have Resident Evil 2 and here we see a slight performance advantage for the 6-pin model. After overclocking, a performance increase of 17% and for the basic model of 10% was achieved.
We have to admit that we are pleasantly surprised by the 75-watt model without an external PCI Express power connector. Overall, it's still not a great card, but we thought it would have been worse than it was. The Gigabyte GTX 1650 OC is the fastest 75 watt model you can get. It runs right on the edge of the borders, with no headroom for the cores. Although it's only 3% clocked above the official Nvidia specification, it's not that the Gigabyte Mini version with a fan that is clocked 30 MHz lower is more than one frame slower.
The most important thing is if you are looking for a GTX 1650 – let's not go into the reasons – if you are looking for a GTX 1650 your best choice is a base model with or as close to the MSRP as possible. The Gigabyte Gaming OC is a much better graphics card than the OC version of the base model, but it's not worth paying more of this type of premium.
If we strive strictly for best value and best performance, the GTX 1650 series is a tough pass overall at $ 150 as you can get an RX 570, which is a faster graphics card, for $ 20 less. Think about 20% much faster in most modern games. The RX 570 consumes a lot more power, which isn't ideal, but a basic RX 570 is still relatively cool and quiet.
If you're a crazy scientist who likes to overclock even gaming chairs, the 6-pin models are more fun and you can buy them for just $ 160. In an alternative universe where buying the GTX 1650 paid off, these are the models we would recommend.