titleI recently took a look at the reference design of the GTX 650 Ti Boost. Not only did it have a long name, it also had an impressive amount of performance. When MSI asked if we wanted to take a look at one of their non-reference designs I jumped all over it. I was especially impressed with the performance of their Twin Frozr design last time I had the chance to check it out, because of that I have high hopes with this one as well. The only downside of course is that it did make the long name longer, today we will take a look at the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition.

Product Name: MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition

Review Sample provided by: MSI

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes


Specifications

Graphics Engine

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST

Interface

PCI Express x16 3.0

Memory Type

GDDR5

Memory Size(MB)

2048

Memory Interface

192 bits

Core Clock Speed(MHz)

1033 (Boost Clock: 1098)

Memory Clock Speed(MHz)

6008 MHz

DVI Output

2 (Dual-link DVI-I x 1, Dual-link DVI-D x 1)

HDMI-Output

1 (version 1.4a)

DisplayPort

1 (version 1.2)

HDCP Support

Y

HDMI Support

Y

Dual-link DVI

Y

Display Output (Max Resolution)

2560x1600

RAMDACs

400

DirectX Version Support

11.1 API (feature level 11_0)

OpenGL Version Support

4.3

SLI Support

Y

Card Dimension(mm)

235 x 125.2 x 35.8 mm

Weight

620g



Packaging

The packaging for the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition is considerably different from what we have seen in the past from MSI and is also a hint at what we should be expecting from them in the future. Dragons were the theme when it came to their gaming notebooks at CES this year, the dragon on the front of the box for this card won’t be the last dragon we see from MSI in the component market I’m sure. Not only did they have the large dragon across the front but there is also the same dragon in their Gaming Series logo as well. I am curious is all video cards will have Gaming Series badges in the future as they are almost all for gaming, or will that logo be specific to Twin Frozr cards?

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Around back they have done a great job showing off key features of the card with a full feature list that is specific to this card as well as two boxes featuring their afterburner software and the cards solid caps. This is a great example of what to actually put on the back of a box, most companies fill this area up with unneeded information but I feel like everything here helps me understand why I should get this over the card next to it.

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Inside the card itself is up top and under a clear plastic panel. Our packaging didn’t have a window in it but they do have everything setup to be able to do that. The card is wrapped up in foam as well as wrapped in a static protective bag. Also in the box is a small “Quick User Guide” and the drive disc as well. You also get a DVI to VGA adapter and a Molex to 6 pin cable for those who don’t have enough connections to hook everything up.

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Card Layout

The design of the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition is spot on for what we saw in the GTX 660 from MSI as well, this isn’t a big shock considering our reference card also matched the GTX 660. The card is actually shorter than the reference design but it’s hard to tell from looking at it. The Twin Frozr design with two cooling fans looks great and I love the aluminum fan shroud design as well. The Aluminum design makes the card feel solid. Next to the reference design with its plastic design it is night and day.

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The Twin Frozr design uses three heatpipes to pull heat away from the GPU and out across the cards cooler. Two of the three are on the bottom and the third is on top. The top heatpipe is the longest of the three as well, it pulls the heat out to the end of the heatsink.  

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I mentioned it before but this is a good example of the open air design of the twin frozr cooler. It does make for the best possible air flow but you will also have warmed air vented into your card that could change the temperature of your motherboard or CPU.

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All the way on the end of the PCB and card is its power connection. All you need is a single six pin power connection to power the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition.

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Around back we can see the cards brown PCB. It’s not a black PCB like I would prefer but the difference isn’t far off.

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The rear PCB is ventilated but the card itself isn’t really designed to push all that much airflow out of the back. You do still get a full size display port and HDMI port as well as two DVI ports. One of the DVI ports is dual link for those of you who have a 2560x1440 monitor to hook up.

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I spoke a little before about the cards length but it’s much easier to see what is going on when you sit it next to the reference GTX 650 Ti Boost. Overall it shorter in length but when you flip things over you can see that the MSI’s PCB is longer than the reference card. Unlike the reference card the MSI’s PCB goes all the way to the end of the card. If you look close at the PCB you can also see that there really isn’t much going on beyond the original PCB other than the extended power connection. If you look at the cooling on the card you can see that they extended out the PCB to move the 6 pin power connection out of the way of the cards heatpipes.

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Our Test Rig

Intel i7-3960X

Asus Rampage IV X79 Motherboard 

Seagate Constellation 2tb Hard drive 

Noctua NH-D14 SE2011

Cooler Master Gold Series 1200 Watt PSU

https://www.highspeedpc.com/ Test Bench

Kingston 1600Mhz DDR3 Quad Channel Ram

Kingston Hyper X 120 SSD

 


Our Testing Procedures

Bioshock Infinite Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Bioshock Infinite on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, FXAA turned on, Ultra Texture detail, 16x Aniso Texture Filtering, Ultra Dynamic Shadows, Normal Postprocessing, Light Shafts on, Ambient Occlusion set to ultra, and the Level of Detail set to Ultra as well.

Tomb Raider Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Tomb Raider on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, Exclusive Fullscreen turned on, Anti-Aliasing set to 2xSSAA, Texture Quality set to Ultra, Texture Aniso set to 16x Aniso, Hair Quality set to TressFX, Shadow set to Normal, Shadow Resolution on High, Ultra SSAO, Ultra Depth of Field, High Reflection quality, Ultra LOD scale, Post Processing On, High Precision RT turned on, and Tessellation is also turned on. 

Hitman: Absolution Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Hitman: Absolution on the “Xtreme” quality setting other than the MSAA setting is turned down from 8x to 2x. That setting puts the resolution at 1920x1080, MSAA is set to 2x, Texture Quality is set to High, Texture Aniso is set to 16x, Shadows are on Ultra, SSA is set to high, Global Illumination is turned on, Reflections are set to High, FXAA is on, Level of Detail is set to Ultra, Depth of Field is high, Tessellation is turned on, and Bloom is set to normal.

F1 2012 We use the built in benchmark for F1 2012. We set our resolution to 1920x1080 and then use the “Ultra” setting.

Batman Arkham Asylum We used the built-in benchmark set to 1920 x 1080, Multi Sample AA 16XQ, Detail Level, Very High, Bloom: Yes, Dynamic Shadows: Yes, Motion Blur: Yes, Distortion: Yes, Fog Volumes: Yes, Spherical Harmonic Lighting: Yes, Ambient Occlusion: Yes, PhysX: Off

Total War: Shogun 2 Direct X11 Benchmark High setting

Crysis 2 Using Adrenaline Crysis 2 benchmark.  1080p, 4x Anti-Aliasing, DX11, Laplace Edge Detection Edge AA, on the Times Square map, with hi res textures turned on.

Battlefield 3 Using Fraps with the game set to Ultra settings with 4x MSAA Antialiasing Deferred, 16X Anisotropic Filter, at 1920x1080.

Sniper V2 Elite 1920 x 1080 resolution, graphics detail set to ultra

Dirt Showdown 1920 x 1080 resolution, 4x MSAA multisampling, Vsync off, Shadows: ultra; Post Process: High; Night Lighting: High; Vehicle Reflections: Ultra; Ambient Occlusion: Ultra; Water: high; Objects: Ultra; Trees: Ultra; Crowd: Ultra; Ground Cover: High.

Synthetic Benchmarks For video cards our synthetic benchmarks are limited to 3DMark Vantage 2011, and 3DMark 2013 (AKA 3DMark). In 3DMark Vantage 2011 we run both performance and extreme benchmarks. The same goes for the most current version of 3DMark, we run through Fire Strike on standard and extreme settings.

Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0 Using the “Extreme” preset

Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0 heat testing We run through Unreal Heaven at 1080p for 30 minutes to test in game heat performance and noise output of the card while under load.

Power Usage Using Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0, we get our “load” power usage number from the peak power usage during our test. We get our numbers from a Kill-A-Watt connected to the test benches power cord.

Noise Testing Our Noise testing is done using a decibel meter 3 inches away from the video card on the bottom/fan side of the card. We test an idle noise level and then to get an idea of how loud the card will get if it warms all the way up we also turn the fan speed up to 100% and test again. The 100% test isn’t a representation of typical in game noise levels, but it will show you how loud a card can be if you run it at its highest setting or if it gets very hot.

 


Cooling, Noise, and Power

Along with new game benchmarks we also changed how we handle cooling and noise testing and added power usage testing as well. For cooling testing we switched to the Heaven 4.0 benchmark and we let it run for a half hour under the same “extreme” preset that we do on the Heaven 4.0 benchmark. This will warm the card up in a similar way to what you should expect to see in the average game. In this case we have tested the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition up against the reference design. Considering the MSI card is overclocked it really has a disadvantage when it comes to heat generation. Even with that, the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition came in at 20 degrees less than the reference design. This is much like what we saw with the GTX 660 and is still just as impressive this time around. The Twin Frozr design does a great job of keeping things cool.

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For noise testing we changed things up as well to a less subjective test using a decibel meter. We hold the meter three inches away from the fan side of the card on an open test bench. Your experience in a closed case should be lower. We do the test at an idle state as well as with the fan turned up to 100%. This is basically a minimum and maximum situation, your in-game noise levels will fall in between depending on how much load the game puts on the card itself. The twin fan design of the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition came in handy for Idle noise when compared to the reference design coming in at 61.8 decibels compared to 63 on the reference card.  At full load the two fans did hurt things with it putting out 74.3 decibels compared to 69.8. My personal experience was that the MSI was quieter in game generally because it kept the card cooler without having to spool the fans up, but if you do need to turn them up you better cover your ears!

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Our new power consumption testing uses the same Heaven 4.0 benchmark to put a load on the card while watching for peak power draw using a Kill-a-watt hooked to our test bench. The total power usage is going to include the power needed to run our motherboard, 3960X CPU, hard drive, SSD, and water cooling on top of the video card itself. Idle loads are done the same way but out of game in windows at idle.

You would expect the power draw from the two GTX 650 Ti Boost cards to be very close, but with the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition sporting an overclock and a two fan cooler design I wasn’t surprised when its power usage was higher. Under load (red) we saw 344 at the power plug for our test bench compared to the 319 of the reference design. Idle loads (blue) were also similar with the MSI pulling 213 and the reference card pulling 201.  

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Synthetic Benchmarks

Our new test suite now includes 3DMark Fire Strike and we removed the dated Vantage benchmarks to keep the focus on the most current and up to date benchmarks. Along with that we moved the Heaven benchmark into this section because it is a synthetic benchmark, even if it is using a normal game engine. With that we bumped it up to the Heaven 4.0 benchmark as well. So how did the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition perform? Well we knew about where it would be from the testing we did with the reference card. I was very curious how the overclock would change things though. In 3DMark 11 with the performance setting the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition pulled a score of 5734 compared to the reference cards 5328, a very noticeable improvement that also bumped it up past the HD7850 that we had tested in the past. With the extreme setting we saw similar results as well in 3DMark 11. The same went in both regular and extreme Fire Strike benchmarks with it pulling a 4122 over a 3875 over the reference card. Heaven 4.0 results show just over one FPS improvement from the reference card to the overclocked card, not a bad jump for being just a clock increase.

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I went ahead and included Heaven 3.0 results just to show you where this card stands compared to what we have previously tested, but in the future we will be moving to the Heaven 4.0 benchmark.

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In Game Benchmarks

Along with most of our old game benchmarks we are introducing a whole mess of new benchmarks to help keep up to date with the most recent games. Our new in game benchmarks include F1 2012 that will replace F1 2011, Hitman: Absolution, Tomb Raider, and Bioshock Infinite. Bioshock and Tomb Raider are especially new and we are excited to be able to show everyone what to expect as far as performance with those two games before you buy them. With just the two GTX 650 Ti Boost results on them right now, the graphs look a little empty. But they are perfect for comparing the difference between this card and the non-overclocked reference card. Bioshock Infinite and F1 2012 showed the biggest improvement with a whopping 5 FPS jump in F1 2012 and a respectable 2.5+ in Bioshock Infinite. That is a nice improvement for just a little bump in clock speed.

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hitman

In our older tests you can get a better idea how the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition stands in game against cards we have previously tested. In Battlefield 3 for example we saw 52.367, it’s not the 60 FPS that we like to see, but considering the card it’s still not bad performance and it should be more than playable for almost everyone.

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I included our results with F1 2011 for anyone who is interested on how this card compared to previous reviews, but in the future we will only be testing cards with F1 2012.

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Overall and Final Verdict

Frankly having tested both the GTX 660 Twin Frozr card and the GTX 650 Ti Boost reference card I had a good idea of what to expect with the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition. The Boost is a good card as is, adding top-notch cooling performance and a nice overclock to the card is only logical. The performance of the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition is a slight bump up over the reference design and puts its performance event closer to the GTX 660. In some cases we see it out performing the HD 7850, and in the cases where it didn’t the gap isn’t too far off. My only complaint with the performance really was with the potential for the twin fan design to be loud. When you turn them up to 100% they do get noisy, but frankly even in our benchmarks it was never an issue. The cooler design keeps things cool and the card never needed to crank the fans up.

On top of all of that, MSI also has their Afterburner software that is free for use on their cards. By including such a feature filled program they are adding additional value to the card itself. Not only do you have options to tune and watch the performance of your MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition, but you also get features like in game recording and even support for wireless control via iOS and Android. MSI also included all solid capacitors on the Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition meaning you shouldn’t have issues with your card for a VERY long time (they say 10 years or longer under full load).

You also get the $75 dollar in game currency coupons for free to play games Hawken, Planetside 2, and World of Tanks as well. This helps justify the cards $179.99 selling price but frankly I think for the performance you are seeing this still isn’t a bad price, even without the bonus in game credits. All in all the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition is a good buy, as long as you can get over that extremely long name ;). 

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #30354 11 Apr 2013 22:22
Our second GTX 650 Ti Boost review, can you guess what I will be posting up tomorrow?

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