Nvidia just launched the 650 Ti chipset and with that we have the partner models as well. With us today we have the top limited model from ASUS in the GTX 650 Ti DirectCU II TOP Edition card. This card is the top of the heap when it comes to the ASUS models and now lets see if it has the performance to match.[review_ad]
Introduction – ASUS GeForce GTX650 Ti DirectCU II TOP
The ASUS GTX 650 Ti DirectCU II TOP is the best of the best when it comes to ASUS models. Nvidia gave us the 650 Ti GPU which is the heart of this card. Just to be clear, this GPU is made for budget gamers who are looking for something that can play high end games at medium/high settings at a very reasonable value. The reference model carries 1GB GDDR5 framebuffer piped through a 128 Bit memory bus, the ASUS TOP model carries the same memory size and interface.
The 650 Ti TOP hits the market at a MSRP of $179.99 and is a pretty limited card. The price is a bit above the similarly clocked and higher memory (2GB) Gigabyte OC variant so lets take a look at what the ASUS card has to offer to make it worth your while.
|Specifications||Nvidia GTX 650 (Reference)
||Nvidia GTX 650 Ti (Reference)
||MSI GTX 650 Ti Power Edition
||GIGABYTE GTX 650 Ti OC 2GB
||ASUS GTX 650 Ti DirectCU II TOP
|CUDA Cores (Stream Processors)
|Bus Interface||PCI-Express 3.0||PCI-Express 3.0||PCI-Express 3.0||PCI-Express 3.0||PCI-Express 3.0|
|Core Clock||1058 MHz||925 MHz||993 MHz||1032 MHz||1033 MHz|
||5000 MHz Effective||5400 MHz Effective||5400 MHz Effective||5400 MHz Effective||5400 MHz Effective|
|L2 Cache Size
||x KB||256 KB||256 KB||256 KB||256 KB|
|Memory Bus Width
||128 Bit||128 Bit||128 Bit||128 Bit||128 Bit|
|Total Memory Bandwidth
||80.0 GB/s||86.4 GB/s||86.4 GB/s||86.4 GB/s||86.4 GB/s|
|Texture Fill Rate (Bilinear)
||33.9 GT/s||59.2 GT/s||59.2 GT/s||59.2 GT/s||59.2 GT/s|
|VRAM||1GB (GDDR5)||1GB (GDDR5)||1GB (GDDR5)||2GB (GDDR5)||1GB (GDDR5)|
|TDP||64W||110W||110W (80W Max According to MSI)||110W||110W|
|Recommended Power Supply||400W+||400W+||400W+||400W+||400W+|
|Power connectors||1x 6-Pin PCI-E||1x 6-Pin PCI-E||1x 6-Pin PCI-E||1x 6-Pin PCI-E||1x 6-Pin PCI-E|
|Outputs||Dual Link-DVI-I, Dual Link DVI-D, Mini HDMI||Dual Link-DVI-I, Dual Link DVI-D, Mini HDMI||Dual Link-DVI-I, Dual Link DVI-D, Mini HDMI||Dual Link-DVI-I, Dual Link DVI-D, HDMI, D-Sub||Dual Link-DVI-I, Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI, D-Sub|
||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm|
|Launch Price||$109.99 (MSRP)||$149.99 (MSRP)||$159.99 (MSRP)||$169.99 (MSRP)||$179.99 (MSRP)|
Here we see what the ASUS GTX 650 Ti DCII TOP has to contend with and there is some stiff competition here especially with the similar clocked Gigabyte model sporting twice the available VRAM.
SAP (Super Allow Power)
ASUS has great pride in the components they infuse into their graphics offerings very much like the motherboards we have covered previously. ASUS has what’s called SAP or Super Alloy Power which covers the components in the very VRM we are discussing. The components are hand picked for quality and performance based around not only power delivery but efficiency as well. The components in the SAP solution are super durable for a rated lifespan of up to 2.5X what reference cards would offer and also with the DIGI+ controller you’re talking ultimate precision which means better voltage stability, better overclcoking potential and overall better power efficiency clock for clock.
Here we see the VRM Chokes, Mosfet/driver Assemblies and the solid state caps which make up the SAP components or to simplify the super strong and efficient VRM.
Here we see what makes the difference for the DIGI+ solution which has to do with the accuracy and efficiency of the Digital controller in comparison to the analog VRM control we see on many other solutions. This level of control allows for unprecedented voltage accuracy, along with lower signal noise and overall more overclockability due to the tighter stability offered by the DIGI+ digital controller.
DCII (Direct CU II)
ASUS DirectCU II coolers are the ASUS way of saying maximum cooling and plenty of quiet with one naming scheme. DirectCU II coolers are direct touch heatpipes to the GPU surface ensuring the heat is wicked away from the GPU and up into the cooling fin array as quickly as possible. From there the custom shrouded dual fans push air through the fins effectively but most important quietly to keep the GPU as cool as possible so hopefully it will never hit a temp to need a higher or noisier fan speed. The air pushing through the fin array also helps cool board components and the VRM cooler as well which is a nice little added bonus to this style cooler since we all know cooler components tend to run stronger, longer and with better efficiency.
PCIe Power LEDs
One really cool feature is that there are status LED’s on each PCIe connector and these help you recognize that power is actively being sent to each connector of the card.
The green similar to seen above indicate everything is working well. However if the PCIe cable is not active or is not installed at all, it will give you the red light which tells you something is wrong. We could definitely see some value in this when diagnosing issues. A dead PCIe power cable could cause you to pull your hair out without these kinds of indicators.
ASUS offers its own software utility and its functionality has grown with generations just like the cards it supports. Of course the card can be overclocked but also voltages can be tweaked and within the GPU Tweak app we can even launch the GPU info utility which is a full custom version of GPUz. This is a really cool feature and a benefit especially to benchmarkers who we can definitely see using this card with some of the awesome tweaks we will discuss in the card overview.
There are many tools within the GPU Tweak menus some a little more hidden than others. First off directly form the GPU Tweak utility itself you can check for BIOS updates and even update from within the program. For anyone whos ever updated a vBIOS before knows that having a tool that can do this in a mere few clicks is really handy.
The charts besides offering real time monitoring can also be setup to log thermals, voltages and clocks so that after benchmark or gaming runs you can see if there was any thermal issues or throttling that may have affected performance.
And another neat feature that many never delve into but its worth visiting is the custom fan profiling. This allos a specialized ramping of the fan according to a graph you set custom for your thermal/acoustic needs. Honestly after using this card awhile I would say the fan profile is damn near perfect as it keeps the card cool when under load and also super quiet when just messing around on the web.
The utility does come on the disk but its always advised to get the latest version HERE and search GPU Tweak in the ASUS page linked.
Overview of the ASUS GeForce GTX650 DC II TOP
The packaging is similar to what we have seen form other TOP model GTX 600 series cards with the read tear marks through the simulated aged metal surface. It is simple but emphasizes a feel of power or a beast waiting to get out. The rear is fairly standard with a few dedicated coverages of key features and a outline of the display connectors
Here is a list of all items included in the accessory pack:
- Installation Manual
The accessory package assumes you will have the required 6 pin to power the card but tahts kind of a given now days as we have not seen a PSU in some time that did not have at least a single if not multiple 6 pins.
Click Images to Enlarge
Here we see the card laying out all pretty. One thing you notice right away is that the PCB cuts off well before the cooler so ASUS definitely put some extra cooler surface area in place to ensure that GPU stays more than cool no matter the condition.
Click Images to Enlarge
The rear of the card is left naked with no backplate in sight. the cutout similar for the PCIe power cable latch can be seen here and it helps as you do not have to try and wedge your finger between the cooler and plug to detach the power cable. Also below the 6 pin PCIe power cable connector we see the dual LED’s which will shine either RED if power is not plugged in or malfunctioning, or green if plugged in and operating normally. One thing to note is that the GTX 650 Ti does not support SLI which was kind of a disappointment as the previous gen GTX 550 could run in 2 Way SLI mode.
Click Images to Enlarge
The outputs are standard with:
- 2x DVI-D
This is plenty of connectivity and also covers pretty much any type of display you could use from a standard analog to newer digital display.
Click Images to Enlarge
The cooler is beefy and very well built. It has a very dense fin array with a large ALU heatsink at the base which the heatpipes are flattened into. These pipes rest against the GPU and pipe outward to the extended fin array. One thing to note is that the fan closest to the rear IO is thicker than the further fan which is a thinner design. The thinner design is likely possible due to the fact that the outer fin array is largely uninhibited and is free flowing and therefore does not need much pressure such as the thicker fan offers.
Popping the top on the TOP
Click Images to Enlarge
Here we get to the goods taking a quick look at what this sweet thing offers with the cooler removed. the VRM design is quite simple with a 4 Phase SAP design that is specially engineered for durability, high power loading and excellent performance potential. The cooler we see the triple heatpipes flattened out to make a good mount against the GPU surface.
A Closer Look
Click Images to Enlarge
Getting a better look at some of the key components we start by looking at some of the 4 phase DIGI+ powered VRM. here we can see the SAP components all in place to provide excellent voltage stability and power handling capability for unstoppable performance. Next up is the DIGI+ controller which is a digital design to allow unparalleled voltage accuracy and efficiency for a card that not only can run fast but can run well, with great efficiency and power management. The memory used on the card is Hynix H5GQ2H24AFR-ROC which we have seen before and is normally rated at approximately up to 6.0Gbps which means it ready to move some serious data. Default for the memory is the same across all of the boards tested at 5400MHz but we will see how much farther we can go with this.
Testing & Methodology
We’ve expanded our testing suite considerably since the X79 chipset release, and will continue to use the same methods for most of the motherboards and CPU’s we test. In the interests of thoroughness and accurate results, we run each test at least three times, and some tests more than that. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.
The OS we use is Windows 7 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.
Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear Prefetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.
|Case||Thermaltake Level 10 GT|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-3770K/Intel Core i7-2600K|
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus V Gene
|Ram||16GbpsB Patriot Viper Xtreme 2400MHz +|
|CPU Cooler||Swiftech H20-220 Edge|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB|
|SSD||Intel 510 series SATA III 120GB|
|GPU||ASUS GTX 650 Ti DCII 1GB|
|PSU||Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W|
|Mouse||Tt eSPORTS Black gaming mouse|
|Keyboard||Tt eSPORTS Meka G1 mechanical gaming keyboard|
We will use the following applications to test the performance of the graphics card.
Synthetic Benchmarks & Games
|Aliens vs. Predator|
|Batman: Arkham City|
|Just Cause 2|
|Lost Planet 2|
The GTX 650 Ti is an interesting card to clock as it does not have the GPU Boost feature as the higher model 6 series cards employ. This almost harkens back to previosu gen cards in terms of overclock as you simply set it and go.
Starting with the GPU we found the card may start at 1033 MHz but we were able to get it up to 1220 MHz before losing stability. This was the limit as we could get further but stability was not 100% as extended testing found it slightly unstable. The memory climbed to just under 6GHz at 5920 MHz effective memory clock. This equals a 18% increase for the GPU and a little over 9% on the memory.
|Clock||Max stable MHz
|GPU Base clock||1220|
|Memory clock||1480 (5920)|
In order to ensure no system bottleneck we clocked the CPU to 4.6GHz to ensure there is no reason the system will slow down the cards performance at all.
Some may ask why we chose the mainstream Z77 system and we can explain. Up until recent the X79 enthusiasts platform does not really support PCIe Gen 3 on the Nvidia 600 series GPU’s and come to find out it is due to the inherent instability many have seen with the X79 platform with Gen 3 products. This is why Nvidia has been hesitant to enable it, and now there is a workaround via registry to get it working but in order to ensure best possible testing scenarios we have stuck to the natively supported Z77 platform.
Important note: Overclocking can cause component failure. Please exercise caution when attempting any level of overclock on system components.
The temperatures were recorded with full loaded Metro 2033 benchmark looping for over 10 minutes or longer depending how long it took for the card to level out in temps and sat at a plateau.
|GPU Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|ASUS GTX560 Ti DCII TOP||27C/47C|
The DirectCU II Cooler cannot be denied here as it was extremely cool even though the low thermal of the chip doesn’t hurt either. The fans if manually setting them to max fan speed can definitely put out some noise but with the thermal properties of this card we see no reason why you would need to.
As we expected the ASUS 650 Ti is running neck and neck with the Gigabyte model as the clock speeds are similar this is not really a surprise. One thing that is a surprise is that the extra memory does not really help the Gigabyte card like we expected in this test in the Xtreme preset.
Unigine Heaven 3.0
Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.
Here the ASUS and Gigabyte lead the 650 Ti field again with marginal difference between the two and actually so small it is within the margin for error.
In Battlefield 3, the Gigabyte card picks up a minor boost at the 1080 resolution, but otherwise the ASUS cards hangs in tough thanks to its out of the box overclock.
Metro 2033 is a demanding game: the Crysis of today’s benchmarking. Very few single GPU cards can handle it, and the mid-level GTX 650 Ti predictably fails to keep up at very high settings. However, keep in mind that this card isn’t meant to handle this level of gaming.
Batman Arkham City
The card does very well in Batman: Arkham City, beating both 560′s and the reference card. The ASUS card once again hangs very close to the Gigabyte but the 2GB card at higher res pulled off 1 FPS higher.
Just Cause 2
The 650 Ti models perform nicely in Just Cause 2 and the overclocks on these cards help it perform just that much better.
Lost Planet 2
Lost Planet 2 finds the 650 Ti models well within playable framerates and the ASUS card is only ever so slightly behind the Gigabyte 2GB model.
Dirt 3 has not shown to be the most stressful benchmark in our suite but it is a pretty game and does show the performance a card has to offer. The 650 Ti’s make easy work of it and the ASUS card pulls slightly ahead of the other models in this test.
When we first got the small 650 Ti, it was rather anticlimactic, as we are performance enthusiasts, and this card doesn’t offer that much for us. Being a more mainstream model, it simply doesn’t fit what we normally would go crazy over, but after seeing the overclock capability and what this card can do on such low power consumption we can see some serious potential here for an awesome budget gaming system.
We love that the card can play most games at relatively high settings and it stays super cool in the process. The ability to run the full 4 displays is also very nice.
We feel like ASUS could have equipped the card with 2GB memory to enable much higher available VRAM and higher resolution performance. This would have been especially great considering the rather high price point.
We feel this card has a place in many budget gaming rigs especially on looks alone but the price cannot be denied as it is 10 dollars more than competitors that can perform equal or better.
|OUR VERDICT: ASUS GTX 650 Ti DirectCU II TOP|
|Summary: The 650 Ti DirectCU II TOP edition comes with a nice overclock and some very good headroom for more. It offers playable framerates in most games at higher settings for a nice price. For this it earns the Bjorn3D Silver Bear Award.|