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Asus GTX 650-E review

Andrew Unsworth
25 Mar 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
92
inc VAT

Quiet and cheap, but compromise on quality settings and you can play the latest games

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The Asus GTX 650-E is the company's tweaked version of the Nvidia GTX 650 reference design. It has 384 CUDA cores, 1GB of GDDR5 RAM and a core clock speed of 1,071MHz, which is a slight increase on Nvidia’s reference speed of 1,058MHz.

Its relatively modest specification is matched by its relatively modest dimensions, with the GTX 650-E measuring just 200mm, which is small enough to fit in all but the tiniest of PC cases. It’s worth noting, however, that although the GTX 650-E only consumes one slot on your PC’s back plane, its fan will obscure an adjacent slot.

Asus GTX 650-E

It draws power from the PCI-E bus, so you don’t need to have a high-spec power supply with one or more PCI-E power connectors to run the GTX 650-E. This makes the GTX 650-E best suited to those who need more graphics power than that supplied by onboard graphics but don’t need the greater power or cost of a card such as the GTX 660 or GTX 670.

In Dirt Showdown with quality settings set to Ultra, 4x anti-aliasing and a resolution of 1,920x1,080, the GTX 650-E provided a frame rate of 20fps. That isn’t smooth enough for comfortable play, but reduce the quality to High and the frame rate leaps to 53fps. Reduce the resolution to 1,280x720 and the frame rate shoots up to 80fps, and Dirt Showdown still looks good.

These frame rates are noticeably slower than those provided by our reference HD 5770, which provided average frame rates of 24.9fps at Ultra settings, 4x anti-aliasing and 1,920x1,080 resolution, and 86.5fps at a resolution of 1,280x720 with 4x anti-aliasing and quality set to High. Even so, this shows that the GTX 650-E should have no problem playing most of the latest games as long as you’re willing to compromise with quality settings and resolution.

Dirt 3 showdown

A small settings tweak downwards and Dirt 3 Showdown ran smoothly at 53fps

Sadly, the GTX 650-E failed our more challenging Crysis 2 benchmark at a resolution of 1,920x1,080, 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra detail, scoring just 14.9fps. Once again, just a little compromise can produce great frame rates, and we achieved an average frame rate of 42fps at a resolution of 1,920x1,080 with 4x anti-aliasing and quality settings reduced to High. Even at these settings, Crysis 2 still looks great.

In comparison, our reference HD 5770 produced very similar, sometimes slightly less, frame rates in Crysis 2. At a resolution 1,920x1,080 and Ultra quality it only just passed the benchmark, scoring 15.6fps. After dropping the quality settings to High, the HD 5770 produced a frame rate of 40.8fps.

If you need a card that can play games as graphically challenging as Crysis 2, you might be better off with a card such as the GTX 660 Ti, which produced an average frame rate of 42fps when running Crysis 2 at 1,920x1,080 with Ultra quality settings.

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