Well, I finally took a look at the GTX 1660 SUPER earlier this week, now I can check out the recently introduced GTX 1650 SUPER. Unlike the GTX 1660 SUPER, the GTX 1650 SUPER is actually more than just a memory upgrade. In fact it isn’t even using the same GPU as the GTX 1650, it has the TU116 used in the GTX 1660, GTX 1660 SUPER, and GTX 1660 Ti only it is cut down to use 1280 CUDA cores compared to the 1408 on the GTX 1660. It also gets a clock speed increase over the GTX 1650 but it sticks with the 128-bit memory controller except with the same GDDR6 upgrade as the GTX 1660 SUPER. The change in GPU also means an upgrade to the Turning NVENC encoder as well. With that I’m excited to see the performance improvements that the new GPU is bringing at more budget-focused price points.
Product Name: Zotac GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan
Review Sample Provided by: Zotac
Written by: Wes Compton
Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE
Before getting into the review I always make sure to confirm the clock speeds with the specifications using GPUz. The 1725 MHz boost clock in the specs is what GPUz is seeing. We can also see that the card has Micron GDDR6 and I have the BIOS revision and the driver number also on here for future reference as well. The test driver was the Nvidia public launch driver with its WHQL signature as well.
Now I always like to see a picture of the actual card on the front of the box, simply to help people who are shopping in retail. But I do like the crazy looking design on the front of the box for the GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan and at least it isn’t a weird eye like a few other companies have done. The Zotac branding is up in the top left corner and then you have the Nvidia wrap around on the bottom right but it looks a little weird with the bottom bar being split from the rest. That is where you will find the GPU model name. Oddly enough I don’t actually see the card name other than that on the front. Just an icon for the 4GB of memory, one for the extended warranty which is 3 years if you register, and one for the Fire Storm utility that Zotac uses to control fans, clock speeds, and if the card has lighting it controls that as well. Now around on the back, there is a picture of the card and they do mention the cards size and the Firestorm software. There is also a basic specification listing but none of the important information that sets cards apart from each other like clock speeds, card dimensions are listed so they don’t help much.
Inside everything comes in a cardboard tray formed to hold on to the card. The card then comes in a static protective bag with bubble wrap built-in. Then there is an envelope on top with the Zotac Gaming logo. Inside you get a quick installation guide, a paper telling you to get drivers from Nvidia, and a small add for Zotac’s other products. Big props for sending people directly to Nvidia, too many companies tell people to get their drivers off their own website where you have an additional middleman and the potential for drivers to not be up to date as well.
Card Layout and Photos
So normally for my card shots, I love getting a few images of the card standing up on the desk to check out the cooler. Well the Zotac GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan doesn’t like to stand up. The card is significantly shorter than a lot of the other cards that come into the office. Because of that it isn’t long enough for the cooler to help hold it up lol. So you SFF guys, take notice, it might have two fans but at just 158.5 mm long, it is a small card. It also doesn’t extend past the top of the PCI bracket more than it should and is a proper dual-slot card, it might be a unicorn. Everyone else just throws recommended PCI dimensions out the window but Zotac didn’t. That does mean the two fans aren’t exactly large. I do like the fan shrouds design, it is black with a touch of silver, keeping things color neutral. Like everyone else, it does have that angular look and with that silver accent it almost looks like an angry eyebrow. Looking down into the cooler you can see that the fan layout is vertical and it is an old school extruded cooler, not a sheet metal design like most cards use.
Around on the back, you can again get the scale, the PCB isn’t much longer than the PCIe x16 slot. Being a budget card Zotac did skip out on a backplate, which is a bummer but understandable. The PCB is black though which doesn’t look too bad. The sticker up top has the serial number and model information and in our case is a special not for sale sticker. Don’t worry Zotac, we will find ways to abuse.. err use the GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan here.
Looking around at the edges you can get a look at how the fan shroud leaves a big gap for airflow all around. The card does have a Zotac Gaming logo on the top edge and a GeForce GTX logo as well which barely fits. On the end of the card, they have the power connection sticking out the end, not out of the top and it is the smaller 6-pin power. Most importantly around the outside edge you can see the cooling configuration a lot better. The extruded aluminum heatsink doesn’t use any heatpipes but does have a raised area so it can contact at the GPU and also sit up on top of the power circuitry to keep it cool as well. Extruded aluminum coolers typically don’t perform as well as a sheet metal design with heatpipes, but I will have to wait until cooler testing to see how it does, the GTX 1650 SUPER may not need any more cooling than this. The fan shroud does extend out past the end of the PCB slightly, but not more than the power plug will use, in fact I can say from testing that the top of the plug lined right up with the end of the shroud.
As for the PCI bracket end of the Twin Fan, well it has a lot of ventilation in the bracket. Given the vertical heatsink design, there won’t be to much air going this direction, but it has the option, right? For display connections the GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan is cut down from the standard layout. You get one of each, one HDMI which is in the center, one DisplayPort on the left, and one Dual-Link DVI on the right. Given the budget focus I’m really glad to see that the DVI port is still here and I don’t think having just three display connections is a big deal, but if you plan on using this for a 4 monitor setup it isn’t going to work.
Test Rig and Procedures
Motherboard: Asus Crosshair VIII HERO WiFi
Storage: Corsair MP600 2TB
Cooling - Noctua NH-U12S
Power Supply - Corsair AX1200w
Case - Primochill Wetbench
As always I like to start off my testing with a few synthetic benchmarks. 3DMark especially is one of my favorites because it is very optimized in both Nvidia and AMD drivers. It's nice to not have to worry about it being favored too much either way and the repeatability of the results makes it a nice chance to compare from card to card. To start things off I tested in 3DMark with the DX11 focused Fire Strike benchmarks which test three different detail levels. The Turing based Nvidia cards haven’t liked these tests as much as the Time Spy benchmark but you can see still a huge jump in performance between the GTX 1650 SUPER and the overclocked original GTX 1650. It shows in all three of the tests and you can see that the new SUPER is closer to the GTX 1660 than the GTX 1650.
While still in 3DMark but with the newer Tim Spy benchmarks which are DX12, you can see how the GTX 1650 SUPER is now running with the RX580 almost perfectly in both the normal detail and the extreme test. This still puts it below the RX590 but you can see how it lands between the GTX 1650 and the GTX 1660.
I wanted to also run the Ray Tracing benchmark but while officially supported the GTX 1650 still didn’t have the power to run the test so it failed. That left me with the last benchmark the Superposition test which is based on the Unigine engine. Here I tested twice at 1080p, once at the medium detail and again at the extreme detail. At the medium detail, the GTX 1650 SUPER didn’t do to bad. Once again running right with the RX580 and with a big jump up over the original GTX 1650.
As for Virtual Reality, I love it but it is more demanding than traditional gaming. This is partially because of the resolutions needed to render for two eyes and because they render more than what is immediately visible. But also because of post effects to get the proper “fisheye” effect for it to look proper in your eyes with the HMD. You also have to have much higher expectations for frame rates in VR, skipping frames or lower FPS can actually cause motion sickness in VR. Because of that, I ran a few tests.
My first test was again in Superposition. This time I tested the VR Maximum and VR Future tests using the Vive resolution. Like in the other Superposition test, the GTX 1650 SUPER is running right with the RX580 but now we have an FPS to quantify the gap between the GTX 1650 and the GTX 1650 SUPER. At the VR Max setting performance jumped up 14 FPS. I wouldn’t consider that to be great VR performance, but this test is more demanding than some of the simpler VR tests.
With VRMark I tested their Blue Room test and the Cyan Room test. Blue Room is a future-looking test that none of the cards reach the standards on but it is nice to see where things end up. Then Cyan Room is a look at current performance in the high detail VR games. All of the cards tested can handle most VR tasks today, so I’m only really looking at the high detail tests. So Blue Room the GTX 1650 SUPER came in actually ahead of the RX590 and 8 FPS higher than the original GTX 1650. But as you can see in Cyan Room it looks a little out of place with the graph sorted by the blue room results. That is because while the GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan did well, reaching well above the target frame rate (which the original 1650 didn’t) it came in behind both the RX590 and RX580. Overall, with the big jump in performance the GTX 1650 SUPER is now VR capable, but you may not want to throw the high detail games at it. Thankfully a lot of today's VR titles wouldn’t fall under that lol.
Now we finally get into the in game performance and that is the main reason people pick up a new video card. To test things out I ran through our new benchmark suite that tests 9 games at three different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4k). Most of the games tested have been run at the highest detail setting and a mid-range detail setting to get a look at how turning things up hurts performance and to give an idea of if turning detail down from max will be beneficial for frame rates. In total, each video card is tested 48 times and that makes for a huge mess of results when you put them all together. To help with that I like to start off with these overall playability graphs that take all of the results and give an easier to read the result. I have one for each of the three resolutions and each is broken up into four FPS ranges. Under 30 FPS is considered unplayable, over 30 is playable but not ideal, over 60 is the sweet spot, and then over 120 FPS is for high refresh rate monitors.
So how did the Zotac GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan perform? Well, let's start with 4k, with only three results coming in at a playable (but not smooth) frame rate I would say that the GTX 1650 SUPER isn’t the new ultra sleeper 4k card. 1440p is a lot better with only three results under 30 FPS, and 12 were playable but not smooth. Again not what I would recommend, but it is good to know if you end up upgrading to a 1440p monitor later that things won’t grind to a halt while you wait for a GPU upgrade to come in. Then at 1080p the results were impressively even. Exactly half of the results were over 60 FPS and nice and smooth and half were under but still playable. Making this a solid 1080p card for your everyday gamer, not someone looking for high refresh rates. You will most likely want to run today's more demanding games at their medium settings, not at ultra but things will run smooth as long as you do that!
Don’t worry I look at the full results as well, there is just so much information that some people prefer the simple breakdown above. For the in game results, I have everything sorted by 1080p results because the GTX 1650 SUPER isn’t really a 4k or 1440p card and 1080p is the focus. What I was looking for when going through these results was how big of an improvement does the card see over the original GTX 1650 SUPER and how does it compare with the two AMD cards (RX580 and RX590) as well as the original GTX 1660. For the most part, the GTX 1650 SUPER lands right with the RX580 and below the GTX 1660 and RX590. Which is what I saw in the synthetic tests as well. The RX580 comes out ahead in 8, they tie in one, and the GTX 1650 SUPER is faster in 7 results. There are a few games like Borderlands 3 where it is ahead of the RX590 and even one where it comes in a touch ahead of the GTX 1660. Which in that specific test (Total War: Three Kingdoms at medium detail) the faster GDDR6 helped even with the GTX 1660 has a few more CUDA cores and a little higher clock speed.
I went through the 1080p results and the GTX 1650 SUPER averaged right at 66 FPS where the older GTX 1650 had an average of 50 FPS which shows just how big of an improvement the SUPER is. For those curious I did the RX580 and RX590 as well which the RX580 was just a hair under 68 FPS and the RX590 was at 71 FPS. While the RX580 and the GTX 1650 SUPER were almost even in the number of results that each was ahead of the other, when you average the FPS the RX580 does come out ahead due to it having bigger FPS leads in a few of the games that like AMD cards better than the GTX 1650 SUPER had in the games that like Nvidia better.
Now some people don’t need a video card for gaming, they need the processing power for rendering or 2D/3D production or in some cases people who game also do work on the side. So it is also important to check out the compute performance on all of the video cards that come in. That includes doing a few different tests. My first test was a simple GPU Compute benchmark using Passmark’s Performance Test 9 and here it came in ahead of the RX580 and RX590 but the extra CUDA cores on the GTX 1660 do help keep it out ahead still.
Blender is still one of my favorite compute benchmarks because of how popular the program is and here the GTX 1650 SUPER does gain on the original GTX 1650 by almost a full minute but it isn’t enough to catch up to the RX580 and the GTX 1660 is WAY ahead here.
In Basemark the gap between the GTX 1650 SUPER and the original GTX 1650 is large, but the GTX 1660 with its higher CUDA core count still stays out by a good amount, especially in DX12 and the RX580 and RX590 area ahead of the 1660 as well.
The last two tests are both in Geekbench using the older version and the new Geekbench 5. In Geekbench 4 the GTX 1650 SUPER did really well, edging out ahead of the GTX 1660 with its faster memory and being ahead of both of the RX580/RX590’s. The Geekbench 5 results are a little more realistic with the GTX 1660 out ahead of the GTX 1650 SUPER but the SUPER outperforming the RX590. The big gap between the original GTX 1650 and the GTX 1650 SUPER is similar to what I saw in games and synthetic tests as well.
Cooling, Noise, and Power
My last round of testing is also one of the most important when you have already decided which GPU you want. You then still have to pick from stacks of different models from all of the different manufacturers. The prices range, some look different than others, and sometimes like with Gigabyte and Asus they also have different gaming-specific higher-end brands all together like Aurous. This time around the Gaming OC is still a Gigabyte branded card but with any of those models, it is stuff like cooling performance, noise, and power that will set them apart. Short of any exceptional overclock they perform at least mostly close to each other in all of the standard tests. So here I am going to test power usage, fan noise levels across a few different situations, and cooling performance.
Power usage is the first I’m going to check out. For this, I ran two tests. On both, I monitored the power usage of our test system using a Kill-A-Watt. To put things under load I first use 3DMark to replicate a gaming load on both the CPU and GPU. With the GPU being upgraded and the new memory I wasn’t surprised to see the power usage jump from 200 on the original GTX 1650 to 233 on the 1650 SUPER in the 3DMark test. What did surprise me though was in the second test how the GTX 1660 and the GTX 1650 SUPER came in with the same power draw. I thought the lesser cut down GPU would pull a touch more. In all of the tests though you can see the GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan is right new the bottom of the charts.
My next round of testing was focused on noise. For this, I set up our decibel meter 18 inches away from the GPU, pointed at the fan side and went about a few different situations. I tested at 100% and 50% fan speeds. These were just to get a look at the overall noise level max and medium, The small fans on the Zotac Twin Fan design weren’t exactly quiet when you crank them up like that, coming in right in the middle of the pack at 100% and even higher on the 50% result, with only 6 cards noisier. I normally check the fan RPMs but for some reason this card wouldn’t let me see the RPM. Then I went on to the only test that really matters, I loaded the card up with the stock fan profile using AIDA64 and once the temperatures leveled off I measured the fan noise needed to keep the card at that load. Frankly, the Twin Fan didn’t do well at all here, being one of the nosiest cards tested. Which considering the blower 5700 and 5700XT are just above it, that is impressive. The small Twin Fan design has to run the fans really high to match all of the larger cards.
My last round of testing was looking at the cooling performance and frankly, after doing the noise testing I was a little worried for the little Zotac GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan. For this I ran two tests using AIDA64 to load the card and letting the temperature level off. One test was done with the stock fan profile and the second was done with the fans cranked to 100%. The idea is to see what you get out of the box and then to see if there is any headroom left in the cooler. With the stock fan profile the card didn’t do too back, coming in at 63 degrees Celsius. Of course this is 7 degrees above the GTX 1660 Twin Fan and one above the GTX 1650. Cranking the fan up and running the test again you can see that the Twin Fan went from the bottom third of the chart to right up near the top at 56 degrees. The 7-degree delta does show some headroom, but not all that much. Remember the Twin Fan cooler is small and made with those extruded aluminum heatsinks not a traditional sheet metal design with heatpipes so this isn’t a huge surprise. Overall, the card has enough cooling to keep things running cool, but it does have to run the fans a lot more and you shouldn’t expect to get a big overclock with this cooler, even if you are running the fans at 100%.
While doing my thermal testing with the stock fan profile. I did pull out the flir to take a look at the card in infrared. I was curious If there would be any hot spots, especially with the cooler design not having heatpipes to spread the heat out more. But when I look at the fan side I don’t see too many other than the heat venting out of the top and some out of the bottom. The top angle, however, does show a warm spot where the heatsink doesn’t cover everything. On the back, without a backplate you can see exactly where the GPU is and the VRMs on the other side of the card with the heat transfer, but none of them are running overly hot on this side.
Overall and Final Verdict
Honestly when I get crazy cards like the RTX 2080 Ti and other high-end hardware in you might think it would be hard to be excited about the stuff that is more budget-friendly and with the original GTX 1650 I might agree with you. It was a decent card, but the GTX 1650 SUPER is a big step forward in hardware. You are basically getting a slightly cut down GTX 1660 and with the addition of GDDR6 the GTX 1650 SUPER is actually an interesting card. The performance difference is enough to push the GTX 1650 SUPER up into the range of the GTX 1660 in some situations. With that it is also running with the RX580 which may be a little old, but is and was a solid card that also has VR capabilities.
The Zotac GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan itself is also interesting because of its smaller size. It is extremely compact which frankly more cards should aim for. It has the color neutral black and silver styling with an angular fan shroud that basically ever card has right now, but I think it’s a good look. Its small size did lead to small fans which translated to a loud card when I got into testing. It doesn’t have the high pitch sounds like blower cards, so it wasn’t as obvious but overall it landed high up on our noise charts in the real world under load test which is the most important. The cooler also has an extruded aluminum heatsink design that when combined with the size of the card and the smaller fans does run a little warm and didn’t leave much headroom.
Overall the compact Zotac GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan is a great pickup if you just need solid 1080p performance and because of the size, it is ideal for SFF builds as well. The move to the TU116 for the GPU also means this is the cheapest option to get you Nvidia’s Turing based NVENC encoder which now that Plex servers support NVENC you could use this card as a big performance upgrade for a Plex server or for a streaming PC. The Turing NVENC can support up to 8K encoding at 30FPS which is a big jump over past models including the Volta-based NVENC in the original GTX 1650.
So what about pricing? The RX580 did come out just a touch ahead in performance when all of the numbers were averaged, but overall the GTX 1650 SUPER and the RX580 traded blows. So that was my biggest concern for pricing. The GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan has an MSRP of $159.99 and as of today there is one RX580 on sale at that price, but overall the RX580’s are running more making the pricing for this card basically exactly what it should be. I think the Turing NVENC adds a little value as well. The only issue is currently you can’t get this specific card at the MSRP, it is sold out at Newegg and is listed higher from secondary venders. So this is a great option that really opens up the possibility of a solid performing 1080p PC build at an extremely low price!
Live Pricing: HERE