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Sparkle Dragon Cyclone GTX 650

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Posted March 17, 2013 by Jake in Video Cards

Rating

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Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Price at time of Review: $110
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Excellent value; Low noise; Swappable fans; Small PCB/Cooler design; Beats Radeon 7750; Good gaming for the price
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

Negligible cooling performance between the fans on Auto setting
 
BOTTOM LINE:
Modest gaming horsepower, low noise levels, and excellent value for gamers on a tight budget.
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by Jake
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More Kepler

First off, a bit of background about Nvidia’s Kepler for those who may be living under a rock and unfamiliar. As we first saw with the original GTX 680 launch, and then again with the GTX 670, GTX 660 Ti, GTX 660, and GTX 650 Ti, Kepler is a significant improvement in hardware technology, performance, features, and software from previous GeForce generation cards.

The modest GeForce GTX 650 doesn’t get all the features though; namely, GPU Boost isn’t included here, which isn’t surprising given the lower performance and more budget-oriented target market. A factory overclock on this Sparkle card will help performance to a small degree, but there simply isn’t enough horsepower to make a big impact. As a result, the GTX 650 is rather handcuffed in that regard, though it’s not really a problem because this isn’t a powerhouse flagship gaming card to begin with.

In terms of particulars, the GTX 650 comes with 2 SMX’s, 384 CUDA cores, 16 ROP Units, and 32 texture units. The memory runs at 128-Bit here, whereas the GTX 660 had 192-Bit. There is also reduced memory here, with 1GB of GDDR5 memory rather than 2GB found on the 660 as well. The reference clocks speeds this time are 928 MHz Core and 1350MHz memory, although this Sparkle card comes with a factory overclock as the core has been increased to 1033MHz. The memory speeds remain unchanged.

Graphics cards in this price range have traditionally focused on 1280 and 1680 resolutions, although Nvidia is claiming the GTX 650 is capable of 1920 resolution gaming. We suspect that will entirely depend on the image quality settings you choose, however, as modern game engines will overwhelm this card at the highest settings. That said, it should prove to be a great value at about $110 for gamers on a tight budget.

Here’s an image that shows a bit more detail on the particulars:

As you can see, the Sparkle Dragon Cyclone comes with a factory overclock, as the Core is running at 1124MHz (1058MHz stock), while the Memory also receives a boost to 1400MHz (from 1250MHz stock).

Let’s look a closer look next.

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