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Closing: Mid-Range GPU Recommendations
The GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost sits snug between the Radeon HD 7850 ($180) and 7790 ($150), so how did it compare in terms of performance? Based on the 11 games that we tested with, the GTX 650 Ti Boost was just 2% slower than the Radeon HD 7850, which is good considering it's also slightly cheaper.
The GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost also does well to make the new Radeon HD 7790 rather pointless as it provides on average 22% more performance while costing just 13% more. That said, the 7790 is not designed for resolutions as high as 1920x1200, and we found it better suited to 1680x1050 or below.
When measuring frame time performance the numbers favored Nvidia as the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost was 5% faster than the Radeon HD 7850 and 36% faster than the 7790.
Looking at Nvidia's own line-up, the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost fits in nicely (or very tightly, depending on how you see it), as it's 15% cheaper than the GeForce GTX 660 and 16% slower in our testing. When compared to the standard GTX 650 Ti, the Boost version is 18% faster while costing just 13% more (comparing the 2GB models).
With the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost set to be one of the best value sub-$200 graphics cards, how well do they behave when going in SLI mode? With a total GPU bill of $340, the GTX 650 Ti Boost SLI cards are more expensive than a single Radeon HD 7950 ($300) or GeForce GTX 660 Ti ($280), while they are slightly cheaper than the GTX 670 ($370).
Against the Radeon HD 7950, the GTX 650 Ti Boost SLI setup was on average 26% faster in the frame per second testing. However, once we factored in frame time performance we found that the SLI cards were just 1% faster on average. This means the actual gameplay experience will be about the same with either setup, but the SLI will be more expensive.
Having that said, if you have your heart set on a multi-GPU setup, then a pair of GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost graphics cards is probably a better way to go than dual Radeon HD 7850s. While the GTX 650 Ti Boost SLI cards are slightly cheaper (and slightly slower when measuring fps), frame time performance shows us that the Boost SLI configuration was 14% faster.
As always we recommend the single GPU option even if it represents slightly less value, as gamers will most likely find the performance to be more consistent and less dependent on driver support. As such we recommend the Radeon HD 7950 or even a single GeForce GTX 660 Ti over the GTX 650 Ti Boost SLI cards as the frame time performance is far more consistent. SLI does provide a flexible upgrade path down the track, so that is worth considering.
Pros: Really good performance for the price. Keeps Nvidia on top of the AMD competition at this price point. Excellent cooling on the Gainward Golden Sample cards.
Cons: SLI performance is good but not enough to beat a single faster GPU. Do we need more GPUs filling $30 gaps in-between offerings?