Tucked inside NVIDIA’s announcement of their spring refresh of their mobile GPU lineup, the company included a new low-end mobile part, the GeForce GTX 1650 GDDR6. Exactly as it says on the tin, this was a version of the company’s GTX 1650 accelerator, except with newer GDDR6 instead of the GDDR5 it launched with. Now, in one of NVIDIA’s more poorly kept secrets, their desktop product stack is getting a version of the card as well.

While not a launch (as NVIDIA likes to frame it), the desktop GTX 1650 GDDR6 has none the less finally become an official product this past Friday, with partners unveiling their cards and NVIDIA adding the specifications to their website. Sitting alongside the existing GDDR5 version, the GDDR6 version is intended to be a parallel, generally equal SKU. As NVIDIA makes the transition from GDDR5 to GDDR6 at the bottom edge of their product lineup, the updated card gets access to faster memory, but interestingly the GPU clockspeeds are also tapered back a bit.

NVIDIA GeForce Specification Comparison
  GTX 1660 GTX 1650 Super GTX 1650 (G6) GTX 1650 (G5)
CUDA Cores 1408 1280 896 896
ROPs 48 32 32 32
Core Clock 1530MHz 1530MHz 1410MHz 1485MHz
Boost Clock 1785MHz 1725MHz 1590MHz 1665MHz
Memory Clock 8Gbps GDDR5 12Gbps GDDR6 12Gbps GDDR6 8Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 192-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit
VRAM 6GB 4GB 4GB 4GB
Single Precision Perf. 5 TFLOPS 4.4 TFLOPS 2.85 TFLOPS 3 TFLOPS
TGP 120W 100W 75W 75W
GPU TU116
(284 mm2)
TU116
(284 mm2)
TU117
(200 mm2)
TU117
(200 mm2)
Transistor Count 6.6B 6.6B 4.7B 4.7B
Architecture Turing Turing Turing Turing
Manufacturing Process TSMC 12nm "FFN" TSMC 12nm "FFN" TSMC 12nm "FFN" TSMC 12nm "FFN"
Launch Date 03/14/2019 11/22/2019 04/03/2020 04/23/2019
Launch Price $219 $159 ~$149 $149

By the numbers, the new GDDR6 version is largely the same as the GDDR5 version. Both are 75W cards based on NVIDIA’s entry-level Turing TU117 GPU. However the GDDR6 version of the card both gains some and loses some in the process. NVIDIA swaps out the GDDR5 for newer GDDR6 – and thereby finally confirming that TU117 is GDDR6-capable – however the cards also take a slight clockspeed nerf. As a result the GDDR6 version of the card has a whopping 50% more memory bandwidth – bringing it to 192GB/sec – but 5% lower GPUs clocks and throughput.

In discussing the matter with NVIDIA, we were told that the GPU clockspeed change was to equalize performance and power consumption between the two parts. Which makes sense to a degree – the GTX 1650 is a particularly special part in NVIDIA’s lineup since it’s the fastest card they offer that can be powered entirely by a PCIe slot, which is to say it can’t have a TDP over 75 Watts. So with the GDDR5 version already close to that limit, if the switch to GDDR6 memory drives up power consumption at all (be it the memory or the GPU’s memory controllers), then something else has to be dialed back to compensate.

Meanwhile, equalizing performance is something of a secondary goal in this situation, especially because of the potency of GDDR6 memory. NVIDIA doesn't intend for the GDDR6 version of the GTX 1650 to be its own product; the next card up after the GTX 1650 remains the GTX 1650 Super. But given what we’ve seen on other Turing parts such as the GTX 1660 series, where a similar switch netted a further 10% in performance, I would expect the GTX 1650 to see the same kind of modest benefits from the faster memory. This in turn would more than outweigh the 5% GPU clockspeed drop. So don’t be surprised if the GTX 1650 with GDDR6 turns out to be a bit faster than its pre-existing GDDR5 counterpart, though it shouldn’t be by very much.

Otherwise, the GTX 1650 GDDR6 will end up filling the same general role as the original GTX 1650. The entry-level card is the cheapest (and the slowest) of the Turing family, offering as much performance as NVIDIA can pack into a 75 Watt TDP. And while the cards should still be relatively small, I do find it interesting that NVIDIA lists the length for the (non-public) reference card at 5.7-inches, 0.6-inches longer than the GDDR5 version. GDDR6 cards require a new PCB, so this raises the curious question of whether GDDR6 designs can’t be made quite as compact as GDDR5 designs.

Overall, this low-key release should mark a more important turning point in the state of GDDR memory. If NVIDIA and its partners are now willing to release GDDR6 versions of low-end cards, then this is a strong indicator that GDDR6 has finally lost most of its new technology price premium, and that memory prices have fallen by enough to be competitive with 8Gbps GDDR5. GDDR6 prices were a sticking point for the profit-sensitive NVIDIA during the original Turing product stack launch, so while it has taken an extra year, the company is finally offering a top-to-bottom GDDR6-based product stack.

NVIDIA’s partners, in turn, are already rolling out their cards, with designs from Gigabyte, MSI, EVGA, and others. As with the original GTX 1650 cards, it looks like many of these will be factory overclocked, throwing out the 75W power limit in order to get some extra performance out of the TU117 GPU. Meanwhile, pricing for the GDDR6 cards appears to be identical to their GDDR5 counterparts, underscoring the transitionary nature of this release.

Source: NVIDIA

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  • jimjamjamie - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    I think it would be beneficial to include the memory bandwidth numbers in the comparison table. Reply
  • Slash3 - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    Absolutely. Reply
  • RaistlinZ - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    That's crazy talk. :Þ Reply
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  • wizfactor - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    I hope Nvidia has the sense to give the GTX 1650 a fair price. $149 is horrible value when the 1650 Super, a far faster card, is only $10 more.

    If anyone has a PSU so cheaply made that it's dangerous to provide 6-pin power to any kind of discrete GPU, then that computer has bigger problems than needing the GPU to be powered only by the PCIe slot.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    There are a fair number of OEM desktops around that would not have the necessary power. In the case of business class hardware, the quality is generally pretty high due to the need for longer warranties from the vendor to cover the full expected lifespan of the system. In those cases one of the x030 class GPUs is a good fit. The 1650 is pushing it a bit for sub-300 watt PSUs so an upgrade would be necessary which can be a pain in a business class system. Not that there are a lot of desktops out there in the wild anyway with most companies issuing out laptops (something likely to become even more common now that we are in a work-from-home world). Reply
  • wizfactor - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    I am sure there is a computer out there where support for an extra 6-pin power cable doesn't exist. With that said, I don't think there are that many people who are in a position where this is their only choice for a computer and it's impossible to upgrade the power supply. If anyone is that person, then the GTX 1650 is the way to go, but only because they don't have a choice.

    I bet the vast majority of PC builders do have a choice. For them, the GTX 1650 makes no sense at $150. The $10 extra for the Super is a must.
    Reply
  • eek2121 - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    I don’t know of a single OEM out there that ships such a configuration. If there is one, shame on them. Does 25W really make or break things? Reply
  • Alistair - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    there is no computer that can't run the 1650 Super, at worse, you can use an adapter to create a six pin out of your HDD power cable

    $120 and we'll talk, this card should have been put in the dumpster long ago
    Reply
  • Dahak - Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - link

    Look at all the dell's, hp's, lenovo's especially the SFF machines which may not have a 6-pin gpu power but if the 1650 is available as a low profile card, would still work in these type of machines Reply

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