I have recently been wanting to build an affordable gaming PC that can sit in the living room, which is also a capable media PC with Plex server and hardware transcoding.
Following a recent eBay 15% off voucher, I impulse bought the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Windforce OC 4G, which is about the bottom rung of the ladder when it comes to gaming cards. I also then got carried away and bought a Zotac GTX 1660, which is a bit more competent.
The GeForce GTX 1650 Windforce OC 4G is currently priced at just £163.72 on Amazon which isn't the cheapest GTX1650 on the market, but the twin fan design allows the card to be used in passive mode, which is perfect for a PC used for media. When I ordered it from CCL Computers, it was £160 with a final price of £136 which changes the cost/performance quite a bit.
- Powered by GeForce® GTX 1650
- Integrated with 4GB GDDR5 128-bit memory interface
- WINDFORCE 2X Cooling System with alternate spinning fans
- 80 mm unique blade fan
- Core Clock 1710 MHz (Reference card is 1665 MHz)
The new TU117 GPU consists of 896 shaders and a base clock of 1,485MHz and boost clock speeds of 1,665MHz, featuring 4GB of GDDR5 at 8Gbps with a bandwidth of 128GB/s with a 75W TDP. Thanks to the custom PCB, dual WINDFORCE 2X cooling system and Ultra durable components the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4G graphics card offers 1710 MHz boost Core clock
Design and Build
I ended up with both the Gigabyte GTX 1650 and the Zotac GTX 1660 arriving at the same time, which made an interesting comparison.
The Gigabyte is clearly a more premium model, even though it is only a GTX 1650 it is significantly larger than the Zotac with a larger PCB, and much larger fans and heatsink.
You only need a 6-pin PSU connector as this is rated at just 75W TDP. This will work perfectly for a multi-monitor work set up as it has three HDMI ports and a display port.
Some of the technologies used are:
WINDFORCE 2X COOLING SYSTEM
WINDFORCE 2X cooling system features 2x 80mm unique blade fans, alternate spinning fan, and 3D active fan, together delivering an effective heat dissipation.
The GIGABYTE patent “Alternate Spinning” is the only solution that can solve the turbulent airflow of adjacent fans. Since the adjacent fans rotate in the same direction, the airflow direction is opposite between the fans, which will cause turbulent airflow and reduce heat dissipation efficiency. GIGABYTE turns the adjacent fans in the opposite direction, so that the airflow direction between the two fans is the same, reducing the turbulence and enhancing the airflow pressure.
UNIQUE BLADE FAN
The airflow is spilt by the triangular fan edge, and guided smoothly through the 3D stripe curve on the fan surface, effectively enhancing the airflow.
Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs are specially designed to produce lower switching resistance for faster electric current charging and discharging at extremely low temperature.
This was tested on my main PC for benchmarking, as this allows me to keep future reviews using the same hardware.
- AMD Ryzen 2700 – at stock clocks for the review
- ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F
- 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000 MHz
- Samsung 970 EVO 500 GB NVMe
In Time Spy this scored 3654 compared to 5423 of the GTX 1660 the GTX 1070 that I use on my main PC scored 5947
In Firestrike Ultra this scored 1413 while the GTX 1660 was more than double at 2669
While this is capable of gaming at 1080p in all the games I tested and can even push things to 1440p it sits a bit too low down in performance for my needs.
In Far Cry 5 with DX11 at 1080P, it achieved a competent 57+FPS on average with similar levels of performance in GTA5 at around 55fps on average.
In Rise of the Tomb Raider which I tried at 1080p and 1440p it achieved 50FPS and 35FPS.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt averaged 48fps at full-HD using the High preset with High post-processing
The main issue is that the comparatively priced Radeon RX 570 8GB, which I have not personally tested, achieves higher frames per second in all of these gamers. Then there is the GTX 1660, which costs about £50 more provides considerably more performance and works well as a 1440p gaming card.
The fans on this card run in passive mode in most scenarios apart from gaming, with this card I found them less likely to spin up than the GTX 1070, which is likely due to improved power efficiency between generations. When the fans do spin up, the fan noise is not loud, but the audio profile is quite high pitched. With my case closed and sat away from me, the sound was not an issue.
In comparison the smaller fans of the Zotac GTX 1660 span up a lot easier, I wouldn’t say they were louder, but the pitch subjectively seemed higher, with it using smaller fans this is quite likely accurate.
Gigabyte AORUS Engine
I tested this at stock, but you can overlock it with the Gigabyte software.
The cutting-edge intuitive interface allows you to adjust the clock speed, voltage, fan performance and power target in real-time according to your game’s requirements.
For me, at least, the main reason to use this software is to tweak the fan profile to keep it in passive mode for as long as possible.
From a purely gaming perspective, the Radeon RX 570 is going to be a superior option, the 8GB MSI Radeon RX 570 ARMOR OC can be bought for less than £150 which definitely provide better performance.
Alternatively, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G is £215 and will provide a massive bump in gaming performance.
For none gaming options, especially for a HTPC, this could work out to be a decent card. This is also the current minimum recommendation for madVR at 3840 x 2160p on media PCs and will enable 4K HDR with Netflix using e Microsoft Edge browser or the Netflix app.
From a bit of searching compatibility with Plex hardware transcoding on the Radeon RX 570 seems to be unknown. Though it is worth noting that since last year AMD GPUs are now compatible with Netflix 4K HDR.
This has a lower power consumption than the AMD card and should work in a passive mode much better, again, making it a good choice for an HTPC.
Overall though, while this is a good card for what I paid for it, considering the normal RRP you would be better off spending a little extra and getting a GTX 1660 model. With the two cards, I used the GTX1660 is 34% more expensive but provides 48% higher performance in Time Spy.
It is worth mentioning that I am impressed with the overall Gigabyte package, the design is far superior to the Zotac model I also bought, though this does sit towards the top end of the GTX1650 options while the Zotac is on the bottom end of the GTX1660
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Windforce OC 4G Review
Overall - 75%
A good card for low powered, affordable HTPCs, but for gaming the GTX 1660 or Radeon RX 570 will provide better bang for you buck.