The tiniest Turing.
The GeForce GTX 1650 has finally arrived, and it’s more than likely the lowest-end GPU in Nvidia’s Turing lineup, at least as far as desktop GPUs are concerned. This is a tiny GPU that doesn’t require a power supply connection at all, so it’s made for people on a a strict budget with older PCs, which means they would be upgrading from a GPU they purchased many years ago. On the test bench today is PNY’s overclocked version, the XLR8 4GB model (See it on Amazon). It’s small but thick, and promises 1080p gaming nirvana for $200, which is a $50 premium over the MSRP for this model. Let’s see if it’s worth the extra cash.
PNY GeForce GTX 1650 XLR8 – Design and Features
PNY’s XLR8 version of the GTX 1650 is a squat and chunky GPU that takes up two PCIe slots but it’s only 5.7″ long, so it’s about half the length of a high-end GPU so it’ll fit in pretty much any case. Its length also makes it a prime candidate for SFF builds in Mini-ITX cases. Let’s take a look at the spec chart and see how it compares to its rivals.
As you can see in the chart, the biggest difference between this GPU and the next step up in Nvidia’s product line is that it only has 4GB of RAM. This will not allow you to run the highest detail settings in some games, especially at 2560 x 1440. Still, for 1080p gaming it should be fine for most situations. What’s really puzzling is PNY’s $50 premium, as most people would be better off getting a GTX 1660 for just $20 more, but I’ll cover that more in the benchmarking section.
The PNY card is cooled by a single fan, and again, there are no connections for power as it draws all its juice from the PCIe slot it’s attached to. It’s just plug-and-play, pretty much. There are only HDMI and DVI ports on the back, which is a bit of a throwback since most GPUs have DisplayPort on them these days, which allow for high-resolution gaming. But since this card is designed for 1080p, the connectors are both fine, and they work with older monitors as well.
The GTX 1650 is a drastically cut-down GPU compared to the previous versions, with less CUDA cores, less memory, and a narrower memory bus as well. For Nvidia on the desktop, this is as low as the company usually goes in terms of specs. It’s a 75w TDP GPU, but still boasts all the advantages of the latest technology Nvidia has to offer in its Turing architecture. So if you’re running a Kepler or Maxwell GPU from the old days, and are on a budget, this would be the card to consider if you’re sticking with Nvidia. Otherwise, AMD’s RX 570 is similarly priced.
Despite its semi-high price tag, this GPU doesn’t offer any bells and whistles at all. There’s no lighting, and the design is pretty bland as well. There’s just a single fan on top of a heatsink, and a plastic shroud with the letters GeForce GTX emblazoned on its in all-black.
PNY GeForce GTX 1650 XLR8 – Benchmarks
To see how the PNY fared against the competition I stuffed it into the IGN test bench and ran our benchmark suite. The system was hand-built by moi and features a Skylake Core i7-7700K CPU, 16GB of RAM, an Asus Prime Z270 motherboard, a Sandisk SSD, and an EVGA PSU. I ran into a bug on Shadow of the Tomb Raider where the game would crash to desktop after each benchmark completed, and according to Google it’s the fault of the game’s latest patch, so hopefully that gets fixed soon.
As you can see from the chart, the GTX 1650 puts up some decent numbers at 1080p, making it a reliably solid GPU for 60 frames per second gaming. However, The Radeon RX 570 is a clearly more powerful GPU, at every game, and at both resolutions I tested. This is the case despite the fact that the PowerColor Red Dragon version of the RX 570 is $70 less expensive on Amazon than the PNY GPU. “Hey IGN,” you say. “The Red Dragon requires an eight-pin power connector so it consumes more energy.” That’s true, but most gamers should have a power supply with at least one PCIe connector. If you don’t, and don’t want to spring for one, then yeah, the PNY card has the advantage. For most people though, price and performance are more important than power consumption, especially when both cards are at the lower end of the spectrum.
The other major drawback to this GPU is unlike the next step up in the Nvidia food chain, the GTX 1660, it is not a good card for 1440p gaming. Its 4GB of RAM really holds it back, as does its 896 CUDA cores. It’s really just for 1080p, unless you want to run a higher resolution but at low-to-mid detail levels. For me personally I always run highest settings, so that’s a tradeoff I wouldn’t want to make.
On the bright side the PNY XLR8 card ran cool and quiet. Since it’s such a low-powered card there’s not much needed to keep it cool, and the fan on it did indeed keep things downright chilly. Under full load it hovered around 1,890MHz and was just 65C, which is quite low for a GPU in general as they usually hit between 70-and-80C depending on their cooling apparatus.
So overall, the PNY card works as intended, making it a good GPU for 1080p gaming, which is what the 1650 was designed for. The problem is PNY’s version is simply way too expensive for what it offers. I don’t understand why it’s $50 more expensive than other GTX 1650 cards, as that seems like an outrageous premium compared to the typical $10 or $20 we see for cards with more elaborate cooling solutions attached to them. As it stands now this GPU really needs to come down in price to be a viable option against other GTX 1650s and especially the Radeon RX 570.
The PNY GeForce GTX 1650 XLR8 4GB has an MSRP of $199 and it’s usually the same price online.