Home Reviews Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super review: The Radeon RX 580 is finally…

Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super review: The Radeon RX 580 is finally…

Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super review: The Radeon RX 580 is finally dead

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super is the best budget graphics card you can buy for 1080p gaming, and the custom Asus ROG Strix model is loaded with extras for a mere 10 premium.

At a Glance


  • Great 1080p performance at a great price
  • Vastly cooler, quiet, and more power-efficient than Radeon GPUs
  • Loaded with extra features
  • Terrific ROG Strix model for just 10 price premium
  • Includes latest Turing NVENC encoder
  • Fast GDDR6 VRAM


  • Doesn’t move performance much past aging Radeon RX 580
  • 2.4-slot Strix design is slightly thick

Our Verdict

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 Super is the best budget graphics card you can buy for 1080p gaming, and the custom Asus ROG Strix model is loaded with extras for a mere 10 premium.

Nvidia’s 160 GeForce GTX 1650 Super had a super bizarre launch.

Its still-available predecessor, the 150 GTX 1650, skipped the vastly improved Turing NVENC video encoder and got pummeled in performance by AMD’s Radeon RX 570, a much cheaper GPU, all to let the card fit into the motherboards with no extra power cabling required. With AMD’s next-gen Radeon RX 5500 series looming, Nvidia revealed the drastically turbocharged GTX 1650 Super—but then failed to inform press of pricing or provide drivers for launch day reviews. Those are both extremely unusual moves, ones mirrored in recent history only by Nvidia’s attempt to bury reviews of the original lackluster GTX 1650. Because of that, we went so far as to recommend avoiding the new card until reviews surfaced.

GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER: сравнение с GTX 1660, GTX 1650, GTX 1060 и RX 580 в Full HD

Even weirder? The GeForce GTX 1650 Super kicks ass. Nvidia’s latest graphics card doesn’t drastically redefine the sub-200 market, but for the first time in years, AMD’s aging Polaris-based GPUs are no longer the budget gaming champions. The Radeon RX 580 is finally dead.

Let’s dig into the 170 Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super.

asus, strix, geforce, 1650, super

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super specs, features, and price

Nvidia completely overhauled the Super-fied version of the GTX 1650. It’s got a new GPU, a new video encoder, and even blazing-fast new GDDR6 memory. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here’s what we said when Nvidia first revealed the GTX 1650 Super alongside the GeForce GTX 1660 Super about a month ago:

“While the original GTX 1650 uses Nvidia’s smallest TU117 GPU, the new GTX 1650 Super uses a cut-down version of the larger TU116 GPU found in the GTX 1660 series. It should be significantly more powerful, with 1,280 CUDA cores (compared to the original’s 896), higher clock speeds, the aforementioned 4GB of upgraded GDDR6 memory over a 192-bit connection, and well, just more everything.

It also includes Nvidia’s newer and much more efficient “Turing” Encoder, after the company received criticism over saddling the original GTX 1650 with its last-gen encoder. “Turing NVENC is up to 15 percent more efficient—requiring 15 percent less bitrate at the same quality level—than previous-generation Pascal NVENC when encoding with H.264, and 25 percent for HEVC,” Nvidia’s reviewer’s guide says. “In other words, you get an instant upgrade in image quality without having to bump up your streaming rate.” EposVox, an excellent source for streaming reviews and information, tested Turing NVENC in RTX GPUs and called it “beyond impressive.”

This is a substantial overhaul, in other words. Merely swapping out the original GeForce GTX 1660’s slower GDDR5 memory for cutting-edge GDDR6 was enough to give it a solid performance boost, so pairing that with a significant GPU upgrade should help propel the GTX 1650 Super far beyond the vanilla GTX 1650—and it does, as you’ll see in our benchmark testing later.

Packing so much more potency into the new-look Super also negates the biggest selling point for the vanilla GTX 1650: The ability to run without any extra power cables. While baseline models of the original 75-watt GeForce GTX 1650 can draw their power from your PC’s motherboard alone, making them ideal for turning office machines into easy-peasy gaming rigs, the 100W GTX 1650 Super demands a supplemental six-pin power connector. Most existing gaming rigs and standalone power supplies should easily meet that need, however, and the 150 non-Super GTX 1650 is still sticking around for people who can’t manage the extra power connection. (Given how much more powerful the GTX 1650 Super is for just 10 more, we’re hoping the original gets a price cut soon.)

As with the GTX 16-series graphics cards, Nvidia isn’t releasing a Founders Edition model, leaving the market to add-in board partners like Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, and so forth. We’re reviewing the 170 Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super. Even with a mere 10 premium, it’s the crown jewel of Asus’s GTX 1650 Super lineup, which also includes the 165 GeForce GTX 1650 Super Phoenix Fan Edition and 160 Asus TUF GTX 1650 Super.

Asus cranked up the ROG Strix’s clock speeds. While the reference GTX 1650 Super specifications top out at a 1,725MHz boost clock, the ROG Strix’s default Gaming BIOS hits 1,785MHz. If you install the company’s GPU Tweak II software, activating OC Mode bumps that all the way up to 1,815MHz. Alternatively, a secondary Quiet BIOS accessible via a physical switch on the card reduces clock speeds by a small amount to decrease fan noise. The faster Gaming profile is damned quiet already, though, so we only recommend the Quiet BIOS option if you’re interested in silent desktop usage.

The card’s outfitted with the premium design common to the Strix series despite its budget price. Asus built the card with its “Super Alloy Power II” premium components, its superb Direct CU II heatsink with copper heatpipes that come into direct contact with the GPU, and long-bladed dual axial fans. Those fans include 0db technology that keeps them idle until you fire up a strenuous graphics workload and temperatures exceed 55 degrees Celsius, though you’ll need to flip over to the Quiet BIOS to activate 0db. It’s utterly silent during normal desktop usage and incredibly quiet even under load. An attractive metal backplate, a six-pin power connector, and two each of HDMI and DisplayPorts complete the physical package.

The affordable 170 graphics card even includes several fancy extras. The ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super includes a Fan Connect II header that lets the GPU’s temperature control one of your case fans for more responsive cooling, while RGB lighting accents can be managed via the company’s Aura Sync software. If you’re rocking an Asus motherboard, too, you can synchronize their RGB elements. Finally, the company’s optional GPU Tweak II software provides real-time performance monitoring, thermal controls, and overclocking capabilities, including the one-button OC Mode activation mentioned previously.

It’s a hell of a package for just 170. But how does the Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super game? Let’s take it to the test bench.

Our test system

Our dedicated graphics card test system is packed with some of the fastest complementary components available to put any potential performance bottlenecks squarely on the GPU. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the cooler and storage ourselves.

  • Intel Core i7-8700K processor (350 on Amazon)
  • EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler (120 on Amazon)
  • Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard (395 on Amazon)
  • 64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 (420 on Amazon)
  • EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply (230 on Amazon)
  • Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow (130 on Amazon)
  • 2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs (78 each on Amazon)

We’re comparing the 170 Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super against its step-up sibling, the GTX 1660, which can be found for around 200 on the street after an unofficial price cut in the wake of the GTX 1660 Super’s launch. We never received an original GTX 1650 for review, so you won’t find it included here. It’s more interesting to see how the GTX 1650 Super handles versus AMD’s aging, but value-packed “Polaris” GPU lineup, which can be found at great on the street: The 130ish 4GB Radeon RX 570, 180ish Radeon RX 580, and 200ish Radeon RX 590.

Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets, with VSync, frame rate caps, and all GPU vendor-specific technologies—like AMD TressFX, Nvidia GameWorks options, and FreeSync/G-Sync—disabled, and temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) enabled to push these cards to their limits. If anything differs from that, we’ll mention it. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test. We’re including 1440p results as well, but really, the GTX 1650 Super is built for 1080p gaming.

We tested the Asus ROG Strix GTX 1650 Super using its default Gaming BIOS, clocked at 1,785MHz, rather than its secondary Quiet BIOS or the optional OC Mode that requires installing the company’s GPU Tweak II software.

Gaming performance benchmarks

The Division 2 is one of the best looter-shooters ever created. The luscious visuals generated by Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine make it even easier to get lost in post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. The built-in benchmark cycles through four “zones” to test an array of environments, and we test with the DirectX 12 renderer enabled. It provides better performance across-the-board than the DX11 renderer, but requires Windows 10.

Interesting tidbit: The Radeon RX 570 could barely run the Division 2 benchmark, constantly crashing at 1440p resolution. We suspect it’s because of the increased memory demands of DirectX 12, paired with the GPU’s slower 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The GTX 1650 Super’s GDDR6 memory, on the other hand, blew through the benchmark.

Nvidia’s new 160 card performs more on a par with the 180 Radeon RX 580 than the 130 RX 570, and slightly slower than the 200 Radeon RX 590, a result you’ll see throughout these tests, except with Strange Brigade. That game tends to heavily favor Radeon GPUs, however.

Far Cry: New Dawn

Another Ubisoft title, Far Cry: New Dawn drags Far Cry 5’s wonderful gameplay into a post-apocalyptic future of its own, though this vision is a lot more bombastic—and pink—than The Division 2’s bleak setting. The game runs on the latest version of the long-running Dunia engine, and it’s slightly more strenuous than Far Cry 5’s built-in benchmark.

Strange Brigade

Strange Brigade (50 on Humble) is a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blasts through hordes of mythological enemies. It’s a technological showcase, built around the next-gen Vulkan and DirectX 12 technologies and infused with features like HDR support and the ability to toggle asynchronous compute on and off. It uses Rebellion’s custom Azure engine. We test the DX12 renderer with async compute off.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (60 on Humble) concludes the reboot trilogy, and it’s utterly gorgeous. Square Enix optimized this game for DX12, and recommends DX11 only if you’re using older hardware or Windows 7, so we test with DX12. Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses an enhanced version of the Foundation engine that also powered Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Move over, Crysis. If you crank all the graphics options up to 11, like we do for these tests, Ghost Recon Wildlands (50 on Humble) and its AnvilNext 2.0 engine absolutely melt GPUs. It’s by far the most strenuous game in our suite, even with newer stunners like Division 2 in the mix. Sequel Ghost Recon Breakpoint recently launched but has been receiving frequent tweaks, so we haven’t swapped over to it for our testing yet.

The latest in a long line of successful games, F1 2018 (60 on Humble) is a gem to test, supplying a wide array of both graphical and benchmarking options—making it a much more reliable (and fun) option that the Forza series. It’s built on the fourth version of Codemasters’ buttery-smooth Ego game engine. We test two laps on the Australia course, with clear skies.

We’re going to wrap things up with a game that isn’t really a visual barn-burner, but still tops the Steam charts day in and day out. We test Grand Theft Auto V (30 on Humble) with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

Power draw, thermals, and noise

We test power draw by looping the F1 2018 benchmark for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion.

It’s no contest here. Nvidia’s power-sipping Turing architecture blows away AMD’s ancient Polaris GPUs, delivering performance on a par with the Radeon RX 580 for over 100 watts less. The GeForce GTX 1650 Super even stays well below the Radeon RX 570’s energy draw, despite firmly outpunching it.

We test thermals by leaving either AMD’s Wattman (for Radeon GPUs) or EVGA’s Precision X1 (for GeForce GPUs) open during the F1 2018 five-lap power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

Here’s where that vastly superior power efficiency comes into play. Both the GTX 1650 and the Radeon RX 580 we tested performed similarly, and both versions were killer ROG Strix variants—but the bulky triple-fan cooler on the RX 580 is much, much larger. Nonetheless, the tinier dual-fan ROG Strix GTX 1650 Super manages to stay cooler by a full 8 degrees Celsius, while running next to silent. This is a great GPU in a great graphics card.

Should you buy the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super?

Definitely. The 160 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super is the best budget graphics card you can buy—at least for now. It’s a killer option for 1080p gaming.

While its still-available non-Super predecessor failed to make a dent versus AMD’s ancient, yet value-packed Radeon RX 500-series, the GeForce GTX 1650 Super equals or surpasses the Radeon RX 580’s performance in every game but Strange Brigade, while proving far superior in power efficiency. That helps it run much cooler and quieter than AMD’s options.

Nvidia’s graphics card can hit a comfortable 60 frames per second with most if not all graphics settings maxed out, even in modern games. You might need to drop some especially strenuous games down to High, but that’s still great for a 160 GPU. It’s got Nvidia’s latest and greatest Turing NVENC encoder, too, a boon for streamers and video editors.

Given how much more efficient the GeForce GTX 1650 is, we’d opt for it over the Radeon RX 580 every time. AMD’s game bundles and deals might sway you to Team Red, though. At the moment, Radeon cards offer three free months of Microsoft’s superb Xbox Game Pass for PC, as well as your choice of either Borderlands 3 or Ghost Recon Breakpoint. We found both those games ho-hum, but it’s a compelling offer if you planned on picking up either title anyway. With Game Pass you won’t need to splurge on any games for a while. Still, Microsoft’s subscription gaming service is cheap enough—1 for the first month, and 9 per month thereafter—that we’d still generally recommend the GTX 1650 Super.

If the slightly faster Radeon RX 590 drops down to the GTX 1650 Super’s price range, though, it’s worth considering if you don’t mind its awful power efficiency. And if you don’t mind dialing down graphics options a bit, the Radeon RX 570 with all those free games are still worth considering at just 120 to 130 on sale—and we’ve even seen it as low as 100 in the lead-up to Black Friday. That’s ludicrous. In general though, you’re getting a lot more performance out of the GTX 1650 Super for just 30 or so more.

Moving onto the 170 Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super specifically, we can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a well-built, attractive, and borderline silent version of a great graphics card, loaded with premium features like a metal backplate, customizable RGB lighting, idle fan stop, dual BIOSes, a significant factory overclock, ports galore, and a fan header that ties control of one of your case fans to your GPU temperature. For a mere 10 premium? It’s a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, the ROG Strix isn’t available at retail at the time of publication. Two other Asus GPUS— the 165 GeForce GTX 1650 Super Phoenix Fan Edition and 160 Asus TUF GTX 1650 Super—are, and you should expect similar bottom-line gaming performance out of them, though these alternatives don’t pack all the same extras as the Strix.

Wrapping it up, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super is the best budget graphics card you can buy for 1080p gaming, and the Asus ROG Strix is a sterling custom version of it with a barely-there price premium. Both come highly recommended. It remains to be seen how long they hold onto the crown, though, as AMD’s Radeon RX 5500-series graphics cards are scheduled to launch sometime this quarter, built using the next-gen Navi architecture with support for GDDR6 and PCIe 4.0. We know they’re targeting 1080p gaming for the masses, but pricing and performance still remain a mystery.

For now, Nvidia can take a much-deserved victory lap. Hail to the new budget gaming Champion.

Asus TUF Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC Edition 4GB GDDR6

Graphic Engine : NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Bus Standard : PCI Express 3.0 OpenGL : OpenGL 6 Video Memory : 4GB GDDR6 Engine Clock : – OC Mode – 1680 MHz (Boost Clock) – Gaming Mode (Default) – GPU Boost Clock : 1650 MHz. GPU Base Clock : 1410 MHz CUDA Core : 896 Memory Speed : 12 Gbps Memory Interface : 128-bit Resolution : Digital Max Resolution 7680 x 4320 Interface : – Yes x 1 (Native DVI-D) – Yes x 1 (Native HDMI 2.0b) – HDCP Support Yes (2.2) Maximum Display Support : 3 NVlink/ Crossfire Support : No Accessories : 1 x Speedsetup manual Software : Asus GPU Tweak II Drivers: please download all software from the support site. Dimensions : – 8.05 ” x 4.91 ” x 1.79 ” Inch – 20.45 x 12.49 x4.56 Centimeter Recommended PSU : 300W Slot : 2.3 Slot

Asus TUF Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC Edition 4GB GDDR6

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Our Verdict

The GTX 1650 is the fastest 75W GPU around, if that’s what you need, but it faces stiff competition from many other graphics cards.


  • Over 50 percent faster than GTX 1050
  • No extra power required on many models
  • Great for small form factor builds


  • Costs more than the GTX 1050 it replaces
  • Struggles in more demanding games
  • Budget GPUs often aren’t the best value

Our experienced team dedicates many hours to every review, to really get to the heart of what matters most to you. Find out more about how we evaluate games and hardware.

The GeForce GTX 1650 was inevitable, considering none of the other Turing GPUs can fill the role of a budget version of the best graphics cards. This is likely the final implementation of the Turing architecture (at least on 12nm). The new TU117 chip means Nvidia now has everything from the extreme GeForce RTX 2080 Ti through the more reasonable RTX 2060 for ray tracing fans, with the GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660 dropping the RT and Tensor cores in favor of lower prices.

Architecture: TU117 Process: 12nm Transistors: 4.7 billion Die size: 200mm^2 SMS: 14 CUDA cores: 896 Base Clock: 1485MHz Boost Clock: 1665MHz VRAM: 4GB GDDR5 VRAM Speed: 8000Gbps Bus width: 128-bit ROPs: 32 TMUs: 56 GFLOPS: 2984 Bandwidth: 128GB/s TDP: 75W Launch Price: 149

The GTX 1650 uses a new TU117 GPU, which is a smaller and thus less expensive variant of the TU116 that powers the GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti cards. The key differences relative to the 1660 line are in the memory configuration and number of SMS (Streaming Multiprocessors), which in turn determines the number of CUDA cores, texture units, and ROPs. It’s still built using TSMC’s 12nm lithography, leaving 7nm for AMD’s Radeon VII for now. The result is a die size that’s about a third lower than the TU116, with 4.7 billion transistors.

GTX1650 Super Vs RX580 | Best Mid Range GPU? | Review & Benchmarks

As expected, the GTX 1650 has 4GB of GDDR5, clocked at 8GT/s—the same speed as the GTX 1660 as well as the previous generation GTX 1060 cards. Four active memory controllers on a 128-bit bus gives it 128GB/s of bandwidth, slightly more than the GTX 1050 Ti. It also has 32 ROPs (Render Outputs).

For the GPU core, TU117 and the GTX 1650 has 14 SMS, which means 896 CUDA cores and 56 texture units. As with all other Turing GPUs, the GTX 1650 can do concurrent FP32 and INT calculations, which can speed up gaming workloads anywhere from 15-35 percent (depending on the game), relative to the previous Pascal architecture. It’s worth pointing out that the desktop 1650 doesn’t use a fully enabled TU117 either, as there’s a mobile variant with 16 SMS and 1024 CUDA cores, so we may see a GTX 1650 Ti in the future—in fact I’d count on it.

Nvidia is typically conservative with its reported boost clocks, with most cards running well above the given speed. The ‘stock’ GTX 1650 has a boost clock of 1665MHz, giving it 2984 GFLOPS of theoretical performance. That’s less than the GTX 1060 cards, but roughly 50 percent faster than the GTX 1050. The GTX 1650 is also designed to run without a 6-pin PCIe power connector, though factory overclocked cards (like the MSI GTX 1650 Gaming X 4G that I’m using) have higher clockspeeds and require a 6-pin PEG connector.

Finally, the rumors on pricing ended up being a bit high, which is good news. With a recommended price of 149 for the base models, the GTX 1650 is only slightly more expensive than a GTX 1050 Ti. Well, that’s the theory at least, but the 1050 Ti has lately been selling for 170 and up. Of course there’s still room for a 179 GTX 1650 Ti part.

Factory overclocked models like the Asus and MSI cards I’m using for testing of course cost more than the base models. However, if you want something faster than a base GTX 1650, you should probably look at the GTX 1660 or AMD’s RX 570/580, or even a previous generation GTX 1060. They require more power than the 1650, but any PSU with the required 6-pin connector should more than suffice.

GeForce GTX 1650 Performance

Nvidia claims the GTX 1650 will be up to twice as fast as a GTX 950 and 50 percent faster than the GTX 1050, and that’s probably a fair estimate, especially since both of those cards only have 2GB VRAM. Given the specs, it should also be about 25-30 percent faster than the GTX 1050 Ti, but that also means it’s likely slower than the GTX 1060 models.

The performance improvement comes from several changes. First, the 1650 has more memory bandwidth and CUDA cores compared with the 1050/1050 Ti. Second, it’s clocked quite a bit higher. And third, the Turing architecture supports concurrent FP32 and INT calculations, which can boost performance another 10-30 percent over the Pascal GPUs (depending on the game and settings). But let’s stop with the preamble and get to the actual performance results.

asus, strix, geforce, 1650, super

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

asus, strix, geforce, 1650, super

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p medium testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1440p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

1080p ‘ultra’ testing. swipe left/right for additional charts.

Overall, the GTX 1650 lands right about where expected. It’s clearly faster than the GTX 1050, by 57 percent at 1080p medium and 73 percent at 1080p ultra in my testing. Again, a lot of that is due to the 1050’s limited VRAM, as the GTX 1050 Ti is much closer—the 1650 is about 30 percent faster. The GTX 1060 3GB meanwhile leads by 17 percent at 1080p medium and 9 percent at 1080p ultra, and the RX 570 4GB is in a similar position.

asus, strix, geforce, 1650, super

Another point of interest: 2014’s GTX 970 is only slightly faster (1-3 percent on average) than the GTX 1650, mostly due to improvements in architecture over the past two generations. Newer games tend to favor the GTX 1650, while older games are more likely to favor the GTX 970.

In other words, a high-end 145W 330 card from 4.5 years ago has morphed into a budget 75W 150 card of today. That sounds pretty good, though it definitely represents a slowing down of performance increases. 4.5 years before the GTX 970, Nvidia launched the GTX 470. The GTX 970 was up to three times as fast.

Of course, there’s also the caveat that my testing has used a rather heavily overclocked MSI GTX 1650 Gaming X 4G (1860MHz boost vs. 1665MHz reference). GTX 1650 cards priced at Nvidia’s recommended 149 price have boost clocks in the 1665-1750MHz range by comparison, which means about 5-10 percent lower performance.

The GeForce GTX 1650 value proposition

US GPU value. swipe left for Europe, right for UK

UK GPU value. swipe left for US, right for Europe

German GPU value. swipe left for UK, right for US

US system value. swipe left for Europe, right for UK

UK system value. swipe left for US, right for Europe

German system value. swipe left for UK, right for US

Wrapping up the charts, above are two different views of performance per monetary unit (using Germany for Euro pricing, if you’re wondering). I’ve calculated “value” for these midrange, budget, and select high-end models using the best available pricing as of April 23. do fluctuate, but most of these graphics cards are readily available at the used.

It’s interesting that in the US and UK, Nvidia’s 1060 3GB is priced very aggressively, while in Europe the new GTX 1650 ends up as the best Nvidia value right now. But regardless of market, if you’re just looking at bang for the buck, AMD’s RX 570 4GB can’t be beat. I keep expecting inventory of that card to dry up, leading to higher prices, but it’s been at or below 130 since the beginning of 2019. The only thing likely to remove RX 570 (and 580) from the market will be when AMD starts shipping Navi, currently rumored for July 7, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The problem is that GPUs don’t exist in a vacuum. If you’re building a gaming PC, all of the other parts add to the cost. I’ve used a midrange priced build (around 725, not including the GPU) to calculate the overall gaming value of each GPU for the entire PC, and the faster graphics cards end up being far better recommendations from that perspective.

GTX 1650 only has previous gen NVENC

One piece of news that has surfaced after the initial GTX 1650 launch is that the new Turing TU117 GPU it uses does not contain the updated Turing NVENC block and instead uses the Volta version (which is basically the same as the Pascal version). What’s NVENC used for? It handles encoding of video, for streaming, Nvidia ShadowPlay, and Nvidia Highlights. With Turing, Nvidia has touted the improved quality and performance of NVENC, saying it’s now better quality than the x264 Fast setting many streamers use, while also being about 15 percent faster than Pascal and Volta’s NVENC.

It’s not a major loss, as people using a budget GPU are less likely to do streaming, but it’s more than a little odd. How many transistors were shaved off the die size by omitting the newer NVENC? Possibly a couple hundred million at most, but that’s only a 2-4 percent increase in die size. It speaks to the constraints that budget GPUs have to work in, however, where every penny counts.

The Volta NVENC block isn’t bad, and it can likely handle any workload a budget gamer is likely to throw at it. However, it’s still a step backward and gives one more reason to look at higher spec GPUs like the GTX 1660 and above.

Who is GTX 1650 for?

The difficulty with budget GPUs is that they never represent something “new” in terms of performance. Yes, the GTX 1650 is faster than the previous generation GTX 1050 Ti, but it’s also roughly the same performance as a high-end GPU from nearly five years ago. Now that level of performance is available from a substantially less expensive 75W TDP card (give or take), and there will eventually be low profile card models using the GTX 1650.

That’s the primary draw I think, the ability for the GTX 1650 to work in pretty much any PC that has an x16 PCIe slot. It could also make sense as a cheap upgrade for an older PC, but it’s not necessarily the best performance or value you can find right now.

From a pure value proposition, especially with the discounted GTX 1060 cards still hanging around along with AMD’s RX 570 and 580, the GTX 1650 comes up short. Unless you have a small case that can’t fit a larger card, or you have a PSU that doesn’t include a 6-pin PCIe power connector, or you want/need a quiet and low power GPU, I’d point you at other alternatives. Eventually, the stock of previous generation GPUs will dry up and the GTX 1650 will remain for a couple of years as Nvidia’s budget offering, but that hasn’t happened yet.

The GTX 1650 isn’t a bad GPU by any means. It can hit 60fps at 1080p medium to high quality in most games, and it’s affordable. Just make sure you understand what you’re getting, because if you’re looking at building a budget gaming PC, you’ll almost always be better served by spending a bit more money.

For a compact build, a quiet HTPC in the living room, or something that’s only used for light to moderate gaming, the GTX 1650 is worth a look. But if you upgraded your graphics card any time in the past several years, you’re probably doing just fine. And that’s really what matters: Can your graphics card run the games you want to play? If it can’t, it’s fine to think about upgrading, but just because a card is several years old doesn’t mean it needs to be replaced.



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