Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC Edition vs MSI Radeon RX 570 Armor 8GB
$178 vs $168
It seems bizarre that Radeon RX 570 cards were going for around $300just a few months ago, but the desertion of currency miners from the gaming GPU market has finally brought prices back down to a more rational level, with prices starting from just $160 inc VAT for 4GB cards.
Meanwhile, Nvidia has further expanded its line-up of Turing GPUs into the budget space, with the GeForce GTX 1650 picking up where the GTX 1050 Ti left off. It’s clearly a good time to build a new gaming PC if you’re looking to do it on a tight budget, but should you pick up Nvidia’s brand-new affordable GPU, or AMD’s aging Radeon RX 570 after its price cut?
We asked a similar question in our graphics cards Labs test last month,when the veteran AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 convincingly wiped the floor with Nvidia’s Geforce GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti, at least in terms of framme rates. It’s a strange situation. These old AMD GPUs hardly represent exciting new technology, but the drops in pricemean they can offer astounding value for money.
In order to assess the situation, we decided to take a look at Zotac’s GeForce GTX 1650 OC Edition, and pit it against MSI’s Radeon RX 570 Armor 8GB, a card that costs just $8 more. Before we get into performance comparisons, though, let’s take a look at what’s inside Nvidia’s new GPU.
*Zotac GeForce GTX 1650
Inside the GeForce GTX 1650
After the GeForce GTX 1660 stripped the RT and Tensor cores from the Turing architecture, the GXT 1650 goes a step further. Based on Nvidia’s TU117 GPU, this comparatively small chip (200mm2 compared to the TU116 GPU’s 284 mm2) reduces the GPU down to just two graphics processing clusters (GPCs), with a total of 14 streaming multiprocessors (SMs). Divide it all up into the tiniest little blocks and you get 896 stream processors – an increase of 128 over the 768 stream processors found in the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.
Interestingly, however, the TU117 GPU has 16 SMs when all its parts are fully enabled, which means there may well be headroom for a GTX 1650 Ti to be released in the future, based on the same GPU with 128 extra stream processors unlocked.
At stock speed, the GTX 1650 is clocked at 1485MHz with a 1665MHz boost clock, and it’s backed up by 4GB of 2GHz (8GHz effective) GDDR5 memory. However, the memory is only attached to a 128-bit wide interface, giving you a total memory bandwidth of 128GB/sec, with 32 ROPs. As a point of comparison, the Radeon RX 570’s memory is only clocked at 1.75GHz (7GHz effective), but its use of a 256-bit wide memory interface makes for a total bandwidth of 224GB/sec.
Like the GTX 1660, you also still get some of the benefits of the Turing architecture, despite not having the RT and Tensor cores, which are used for real-time ray tracing and deep learning features (such as Nvidia’s DLSS anti-aliasing mode) respectively. These include the ability to execute integer and floating point instructions concurrently, rather than separately, reducing the number of instruction slots needed to perform an operation that makes a lot of use of both types of instruction.
You also get the enhanced cache system found in other Turing GPUs, with a unified 96KB L1 cache for each SM, part of which can be configured to work as either 32KB or 64KB of shared memory. Nvidia claims these tweaks should make the GTX 1650 up to 70 per cent faster than the GTX 1050, and improve power efficiency by up to 40 per cent too.
*MSI Radeon RX 570
What’s most striking about the Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC Edition is its size. This tiny graphics card is barely wider than a 16x PCI-E slot, and it has no power connectors either – it’s ideal for use in a compact mini-ITX system. Even the cooler is simple, with a sunflower heatsink topped by a 90mm fan – the GTX 1650 is clearly cool and power-efficient.
Even so, Zotac has upped the boost clock to 1695MHz. On the downside, you don’t get many display outputs, with just single DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI-D connectors on the backplate. That should still be enough for most people’s budget GPU needs, however.
By comparison, the MSI Radeon RX 570 Armor 8GB is pretty hefty. It uses MSI’s Zero Frozr cooler, which switches off the two 85mm MSI Torx fans when the GPU is idle. It also has a large heatpipe assisting its array of heatsink fins, while an 8-pin power connector sits on the top. Our review sample also comes equipped with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, which means it costs a bit more than the 4GB cards, although the price of $125 inc VAT is still very competitive.
Unlike the minimal Zotac card, the MSI also includes three DisplayPort outputs, as well as HDMI and DVI-D connectors. MSI has also upped the clock speed of the Armor Radeon RX 570 card, but only a little, taking the boost from 1244MHz to 1268MHz. Both these cards were exceptionally quiet during testing, even when running games for long periods of time.
We tested both these cards at 1,920 x 1,080 and 2,560 x 1,440, but it’s clear that they can only handle games at the former resolution – that’s to be expected from graphics cards in this price league.
A quick look at the graphs will show you that the AMD Radeon RX 570 is the clear choice at this price as well. It managed to play all our demanding test games at 1080p without dropping below 30fps, and in most games, its minimums hovered around the 40fps mark.
The GeForce GTX 1650 didn’t fare too badly, however. It kept up with Battlefield V at 1080p without dropping below 48fps, and its minimum of 31fps in Shadow of the Tomb Raider is playable too. However, it dropped down to 25fps in Total War: Warhammer II; the Radeon RX 570 clearly has much more headroom.
Where the GTX 1650 really excels is its power draw. Our test system drew just 117W from the mains with the GTX 1650 running games at full load, which is an incredible result. The Radeon RX 570 might be the clear winner in terms of frame rates, but if you want to build a mini machine with tight demands on the size of components and power draw, the Zotac GTX 1650 OC is still capable. By comparison, our test system drew a massively higher 203W from the mains with the Radeon RX 570 running at full pelt.
As always, we wanted to see if there was any extra headroom on these cards, and both of them obliged. The Zotac GTX 1650 card let us take the memory up to 2.2GHz (8.8GHz effective), and we could push the GPU boost clock all the way up to 1860MHz too. That’s a decent boost, but it still wasn’t enough to keep up with the Radeon RX 570, and the GTX 1650 still couldn’t hit a minimum of 30fps in Total War:WarhammerII.
Meanwhile, the MSI card let us clock its GPU up to 1360MHz, and we increased the memory clock to 2.1GHz (8.4GHz effective) too, adding a good 3-5fps to the minimum frame rates in our test games. However, this overclock increased the power draw even further, with our test system taking 281W from the mains. Comparatively, our system drew just 124W from the mains with the overclocked Zotac card.
In terms of cooling requirements and power efficiency, the GeForce GTX 1650 is quite an achievement. If you’re looking for a GPU that consumes very little power and takes up little space, then Zotac’s GeForce GTX 1650 OC is worth considering, although you’ll need to tone down the settings in some games.
For everyone else, though, the Radeon RX 570 is the clear winner in this price league. At 1080p, you’ll probably get away with buying a cheaper 4GB RX 570 card too, although an 8GB card is likely to get you through more in the way of future games. Either way, the MSI Armor cards are a great examples that make very little noise and don’t cost too much money.
Also, while the Radeon RX 570 consumes much more power than the GTX 1650, 203W is still an acceptable total system power draw – you’ll easily be able to run a Radeon RX 570 with a 450W PSU. The GTX 1660 is a better buy than both GPUs if you can afford it, but If you’re on a very tight budget, the Radeon RX 570 is clearly the way to go. Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC EditionSpecification:
Graphics processor: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650, 1485MHz base clock, 1695MHz boost clock
Pipeline: 896 stream processors, 32 ROPs
Memory: 4GB GDDR5, 2GHz ( 8GHz effective)
Memory interface: 128-bit
Outputs/inputs: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2b, 1 x DVI-D
Cooler: 1 x 90mm fan, dual-slot
Power connections: NonePlus:
+ Low power draw
+ Tiny PCB
+ Cool and quietMinus:
- Only 4GB of memory
- Drops below 30fps at 1080p
- Minimal display outputsMSI Radeon RX 570 Armor 8GBSpecification:
Graphics processor: AMD Radeon RX 570, 1168MHz base clock, 1268MHz boost clock
Pipeline: 2,048 stream processors, 32 ROPs
Memory: 8GB GDDR5, 1.75GHz ( 7GHz effective)
Memory interface: 256-bit
Outputs/inputs: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2b, 1 x DVI-D
Cooler: 2 x 85mm fan, dual-slotWidth 246mm
Power connections: 1 x 8-pinPlus:
+ Fast for the money
+ 8GB of memory
+ Never drops below 30fps at 1080pMinus:
- High power draw
- Old GPU architecture
Thanks to a massive price cut, the Radeon RX 570 is the clear choice in this price league, although the GTX 1650 draws much less power.
MSI 78% vs Zotac 71%