EVGA GTX 650 Ti SSC 1GB Review

Here we have it folks, our look at EVGA’s new GTX 650 Ti 1GB GPU! The GTX 650 Ti is NVIDIA’s latest offering in the Kepler lineup, we looked at MSI’s entry into this field on NDA drop day, now it’s EVGA’s turn. Who will come out on top?

Features and Specifications

This can be a daunting section at times, but EVGA has been quite straightforward in their writeup, which I appreciate. The following comes directly (more or less) from EVGA.com’s product page for the GTX 650 Ti SSC:

Core Specs

  • 768 CUDA Cores
  • Base Clock: 1071 MHz
  • Bus: PCI-E 3.01
  • Texture Fill Rate: 34.27 GT/s

Memory Specs

  • Memory Detail: 1024 MB GDDR5
  • Memory Bit Width: 128 Bit
  • Memory Clock: 5400 MHz
  • Memory Speed: 0.4 ns
  • Memory Bandwidth: 86.4 GB/s

Key Features

  • NVIDIA SMX Engine
  • NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync
  • NVIDIA Surround
  • Supports three concurrent displays; two dual-link DVI connectors, and Mini-HDMI*
  • Microsoft DirectX 11 with Direct Compute 5.0 support
  • NVIDIA PhysX Technology
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready**
  • NVIDIA CUDA Technology
  • PCI Express 3.0 Support
  • OpenGL 4.3 Support
  • OpenCL Support

Compared to the next card up, the GTX 660, we lose 192 CUDA cores and 64 bits of memory bus. Other than that the cards are quite similar. Being the SSC model (SuperSuperClocked. Seriously) the stock clock speeds are significantly higher than the 925 MHz reference core speed. Boost clock is said to have been removed for the GTX 650 Ti, so in theory it will stay at the 1071 MHz SSC speed, unless it decides to throttle due to temperatures or loads. We’ll check this.

We get a bit more information in the Product Guide PDF, in the form of a Key Features list:

The main key features here are Precision X and OC Scanner X. We’ll check them out later in more detail. The short version is that Precision X is EVGA’s GPU overclocking software, and OC Scanner X is their take on Furmark.

See those size specs? This card is tiny! The power supply spec is, as usual, very conservative. 20 amps of 12 V is 240 W; if you can find a 300 W unit with that much 12 V, it will work fine with this card. Realistically, you could probably go even lower with a quality PSU. With a single PCIe power connector the absolute maximum the card can draw is 150 W, though the TDP (Thermal Design Power) is 110 W. As always, PCIe is forward and backward compatible, so this card should work fine in any spec of PCIe slot.

Photos Part One: The Box

As usual, the photos start with the box and packaging.

The front of the GTX650Ti SSC box

The Front of the GTX 650 Ti SSC Box

Flip side of the box

Flip Side of the Box

One end

One End

The other end

The Other End

One side

One Side Edge

The other side edge

The Other Side Edge

The box is a box; it’s on the sedate end of things. The back side and one end have the same info we saw in the previous section. The only things of note are the hilariously small looking GPU photo and the SSC label. SSC stands for SuperSuperClock, it’s just in case a normal old “SuperClock” isn’t enough for you! I expect that the GPU itself will be more interesting.

The packaging is quite simple inside; the GPU just comes out the end. We do get some accessories as well:

The accessories

The Accessories

The very nice, metal, case badge

The Very Nice, Metal, Case Badge

This is the best case badge I’ve seen in a while, very nice. Other than that we get a driver/software disk, a DVI-VGA adapter, a Molex-PCIe power adapter, a user manual, and a couple of info notices. Nothing really worth talking about other than the white notice is somewhat frightening to me.

The GPU itself is nicely wrapped in bubbles and anti-static sacking:

GPU in bubbles

GPU in Bubbles

Shiny bag is very shiny

Shiny Bag is Very Shiny

Not a large GPU. The anti-static bag is long enough for a full length card though, it’s just a touch too long.

Photos Part Two: The EVGA GTX 650 Ti SSC

Now that we’re getting down to it here, I’ll show you the card itself.

The fan side

The Fan Side

The back side

The Back Side

Outputs and exhaust

Outputs and Exhaust

Power plug end

Power Plug End

It really is amusingly short! I’m forced to admit that I laughed when I first saw it. For connectivity, we get a mini-HDMI, a DVI-I, and a DVI-D. There’s plenty of exhaust grill, but only some of the air will head that way. The heatsink itself appears to be a fairly standard round aluminum jobby, though anodized black for stealth purposes. It looks nice. The shroud has a brushed aluminum look on part of it and a carbon fiber look on most of the rest. The brushed aluminum bits are stickers and the carbon fiber weave is molded into the plastic housing. It’s a nice looking card, though being essentially square, it’s far from the normal shape!

Top of the GPU

Top of the GPU

The bottom, with EVGA stamp

The Bottom, With EVGA Stamp

On the top we see mostly ducting, while the bottom is a bit more interesting. There’s still ducting, but we also see EVGA stamped on the board. This means that this is not a 100% reference design card, and is made by EVGA rather than being produced by Foxconn and having stickers slapped on it. Do note that there is no SLI connector, it’s been reported that this means no SLI for this GPU. I’ll be getting a second card and testing SLI soon. Look for an update on the front page when that happens.

Last, a few angled shots and an installed shot. It’s installed in my testing station, so it’s not perhaps as pretty as it would be in a 24/7 case!

An angled shot

An Angled Shot

Another angled shot!

Another Angled Shot!

Who knew there were so many angles?

Who Knew There Were So Many Angles?

Installed, angle1

Installed, Angle1

Installed, angle 2

Installed, Angle 2

Tiny little thing, isn’t it? Now I’ll pop the top off and we’ll have a look inside! That’s the next section though.

Photos Part Three: Dissection

Being an EVGA card you can actually do this without voiding your warranty, just don’t break anything, as breaking things does void your warranty. There isn’t really any good reason to take the card apart though.

The card, sans cooler

The Card, Sans Cooler

The cooler, sans card

The Cooler, Sans Card

GK106 core

GK106 Core

Hynix RAM

Hynix RAM

The power section, not big

The Power Section, Not Big

The brains behind the power bits

The Brains Behind the Power Bits

Not the worlds largest power section. It’s pretty anemic for a card of this power level really, especially in that the heatsink only cools the core directly. The heatsink itself isn’t exactly large either. It does do a good job at stock and allows for a pretty decent OC though, so it’s not a bad cooler.

Performance and Overclocking

Test System

Benchmarking Methods

Since June of this year, we have been using our new Updated Video Card Testing Procedure. If you are not yet familiar with it, click the provided link to learn more. Below is the down and dirty version of the new procedure.

  • All Synthetic benchmarks were at their default settings
  • Unigine Heaven (HWbot) was run using the “extreme” setting
  • Aliens vs. Predator – 1920×1080 with highest settings offered (4x AA, textures set to highest)
  • Battlefield 3 – 1920×1080 at Ultra settings (4xAA/HBAO by default)
  • Dirt 3  - 1920×1080 with 8x MSAA and all settings enabled and at Ultra where possible
  • Metro 2033 – 1920×1080, DX11, Very High, 4x MSAA/ 16x AF, PhysX OFF, DOF enabled, Scene: Frontline
  • Civilization V – 1920×1080, 8x MSAA, VSync OFF, High Detail Strategic View: Enabled, Other Settings: High, using full render frames value ( / 60)
  • Batman: Arkham City – 1920×1080, VSync off,  8xMSAA, MVSS and HBAO, Tessellation set to high, Extreme Detail Level, PhysX Off

For comparison video cards, we have a couple cards higher up the video card and price ladders in the Power Color PCS+ HD 7850 and the EVGA GTX 660 SC. For a more direct comparison, we have the reference design GTX 650 Ti, the MSI GTX 650 Ti Power Edition and the Sapphire HD 7770 GHZ Edition.

Overclocking Software

Being an EVGA card, there is some EVGA software included on the driver disk. Precision X is on there, as is OC Scanner X. OC Scanner X is EVGA’s take on Furmark. Same basic load, new software wrapper. There’s an artifact counter section that I haven’t seen on Furmark, it’s an interesting concept. Personally my feeling is that you should test your OC with the loads you’re going to be using. Since Furmark (and company) are watched for by the GPU drivers, and the card throttled if it sees them, it’s not nearly as useful (or dangerous) as it used to be. Amusingly, the button for OC Scanner X actually takes you to EVGA’s web page for downloading it, where you have to log in to do so. Strange setup, but whatever. The OC scanner software reports throttling with any OC, despite the card not actually throttling. As it’s lacking turbo boost, I’m not sure it can throttle in response to anything but heat.

EVGA Precision X looks to be another take on the Rivatuner core that is behind MSI Afterburner, and Asus’ whatever they’re calling it now. That’s fine, as it’s an excellent core. We get core and memory clocks to play with, along with a core voltage slider that actually works. This is a nice touch. It doesn’t go very high, but having any voltage control appeals to me. Please be aware that temperatures go up a lot with the slider movement. With a maxed slider and a maxed OC, I was seeing 99 °C core temps with an ambient of ~15 °C. More on temperatures in a bit though.

Overclocking for Daily Use

There are two flavors of overclocking: Daily use, and Benching. Daily use overclocking is aimed at exactly what the name implies, daily use. It needs to be stable as BSODs on a daily use computer are annoying at best and disastrous at worst. This means you can’t really toe the absolute limits of the card. This is the level that the “Overclocked” benchmark results will be run at, a level that I could run 24/7 with this card.

Benching overclocking is very different! For benching all that matters is that the benchmark is completed and the computer doesn’t crash before you save a screenshot. This is an overclocking level that you simple can’t run 24/7, as it is lucky to make it all the way through the benchmark, but has no hope of actually making it through a gaming session. This is the level of overclocking that the Overclockers.com Benchmarking Team does on a regular basis, and is what you’ll find in the Pushing The Limits section of this review. Benching type overclocking has been known to be rather hard on hardware, emulate it at your own risk.

In this case the 24/7 overclock turned out to be 1228 MHz core and 1500 MHz (6000 MHz effective) on the ram, with 1.113 V to the GPU core. More voltage allows higher clocks at the cost of a lot more heat. Not worth it 24/7, as the core overheats and the MOSFETs are unhappy.

Below is a screenshot of Precision X with the overclock I settled on for 24/7 use. The graphical indicator up top is a bit odd, but the program is very functional. It also works nicely for non-EVGA cards and gives voltages control on every brand GTX 650 and GTX 650 Ti I’ve tested it on so far. I like it, it’s probably going to be my new go-to GPU OCing software.

At the overclocked settings and a sustained full load, the fan speeds up a bit, but it’s a fairly polite fan. The MOSFETs and inductors make some noise at full load stock, not much though. At the overclocked settings there is a fair bit of noise coming from the power section, it sounds like a squadron of mosquito hawks trying to fly through a closed window. Not screechy at all, but not quiet either.

Performance Results

We’ll start with the game benchmarks, leading off with Alien vs Predator.

At stock the card is a bit faster than the MSI flavor, not surprising as it is (SuperSuper) clocked higher. Both beat the reference, and neither is especially close to the GTX660. Overclocked we get a pretty nice gain, enough to make a meaningful difference while playing.

Batman: Arkham City shows pretty similar performance, though the 650 Ti SSC is closer to the 7850 now, and pulls further ahead of the 7770 GHz.

BattleField3 is essentially the same story as Batman, not much to say here.

Civilization V is pretty heavily CPU-based, but overclocking the GPU still helps things along. Performance here is solid.

In Dirt 3 the EVGA 650 Ti SSC beats the 7850 once it’s overclocked, regardless of whether the 7850 is OC’ed or not. It’s not far from the 660 either. For some reason, Dirt 3 really likes this card.

Metro 2033 however, is back to the old story of being ahead of the 7770 and behind the 7850 and GTX 660. It’s also slow enough to be unplayable, unlike the previous results that were all at least 30 FPS OC’ed.

Now we’re on to the synthetics, starting with the fairly old 3DMark03.

Kepler cards, for reasons unknown to me, are really pretty bad at 3DMark03. Interestingly the EVGA 650 Ti loses to the MSI flavor once OC’ed. I don’t know what’s up with that.

3DMark11 is much more recent and sees the 650 Ti within striking distance of the 7850 once OC’ed.

HWBot’s version of Unigine’s Heaven benchmark is another fairly modern benchmark, it shows more or less the same picture as most of the game tests.

3DMark Vantage preceded 3DMark11. It’s a DX10 benchmark rather than DX11, but we get roughly the same results here that we had previously. OC’d, the 660 Ti is pretty close to the 7850.

That does it for the normal benchmarking. To summarize it a bit, the EVGA GTX 660 Ti SSC fits into its price bracket ($159) decently. Another $10 gets you a 7850 right now, which does look like money worth spending if you don’t have a preference for NVIDIA. The GTX 660 costs significantly more. I expect that the price will drop within a month or two.

Temperature and Power

Temperatures were taken during HWBot Heaven and 3D11 loads and normalized to a 25 °C ambient. Load wattage is the peak seen during HWBot Heaven at stock clocks.

At idle, the full system drew 57 W. At full GPU load it drew 191 W. This does include the CPU going from full idle to full load, as well as the GPU. 191 W full system draw from the wall through an 80+ Bronze PSU is not much power at all!

Load Temperatures 3DMark 11 HWBot Heaven
Stock clocks 69 °C 70 °C
Overclocked 81 °C 87 °C

Not the greatest cooler, but functional enough.

Pushing The Limits

The 24/7 OC was about as high as I can reliably manage on the stock cooler, it’s just not really up to heavy duty OC’ing. To remedy that I strapped an Arctic Accelero S1 V2 onto the card and put some MOSFET heatsinks on (Note: this cooler doesn’t exactly fit well, but it can be made to work. I don’t recommend it for 24/7 use on this card). This had the effect of quieting the MOSFET/Coil noise significantly and lowering the load temperatures dramatically. It also made the full voltage slider usable making the following result possible:

Just a bit higher than the 24/7 results, and better than the 7850 as well! With better cooling this would be a fairly gnarly card. Even as it is, it’s a refreshing change from NVIDIA’s not-very-overclockable Kepler cards. There was a fair bit of this when I pushed too far:

3DMark11 appears to be trying to play Ultimate Space Invaders or something! All told it was a refreshingly entertaining GPU to overclock.

Conclusion

NVIDIA has packed a fair bit of performance into a small space here, EVGA has taken that and stuffed even more performance in. I’m happy with the performance, as it’s fairly competitive in its price bracket and after the almost guaranteed price cuts in a month or two, it will be a power to be reckoned with. Right now it’s not the best bang/buck, but it’s not a bad deal either, especially if you play games that prefer NVIDIA cards.

The PCB and cooler are amazingly and amusingly small. While the compact nature is nice, I’d have preferred a slightly larger card with better power delivery. I feel like the small power section led to the MOSFET/inductor noise and held the card back during overclocking. The cooler is great for stock, and decent for OCing, I’d much prefer that it physically touched the RAM and MOSFETs though.

I like the looks, EVGA did a nice job on the detailing. Also, EVGA’s Precision X overclocking software works quite nicely and gives a real core voltage adjustment slider! Thank you, EVGA.

Just because I like bullet points, I’ll summarize. There are pros:

  • Overclocks well. No turbo boost power limit nonsense.
  • Cooler very quiet at stock and good with a decent OC.
  • Looks great, if amusingly small.
  • EVGA Precision X overclocking software works great and gives real voltage control.

There are some cons, too:

  • Power section not the quietest at stock, and noisy with a solid OC.
  • Cooler limits the OCing potential.
  • Price not the greatest, not horrible either though.

All told this card earns the Approved badge, as I approve of it. There are things that could be better, but that is true of the vast majority (all?) of the products out there.

Click the badge to read about how Overclockers.com rates products.

–Ed Smith (Bobnova)

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3 Comments:

Bobnova's Avatar
One of my better artifact shots there
Also a solid card.
txus.palacios's Avatar
That artifact shot is beautiful. Even if it's an error. It's beautiful.
xrror's Avatar
haha, every review needs more artifact shots

"And at 5 volts GPU core, it rendered the most realistic smoke I've ever seen in 3D!"
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