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
Single Precision Perf. 5 TFLOPS 4.4 TFLOPS 2.85 TFLOPS 3 TFLOPS
TGP 120W 100W 75W 75W
(284 mm2)
(284 mm2)
(200 mm2)
(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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  • Samus - Friday, April 10, 2020 - link

    True, it's ridiculous it retails for $10 less than the super, which is like 30% faster.
  • DanNeely - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    It's not just MSRP price parity between GDDR5/6 cards indicating that this will be a quick switchover and not 2 versions remaining in parallel production long term. Coverage elsewhere has said that this is being driven by the DRAM makers EOLing their GDDR5 products; which will force a rapid phase out of the legacy variants other than what ends up lingering in retail inventory until it's discounted enough to move.
  • eek2121 - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    They need to stop rebadging cards like this. I will never understand why companies pull stunts like this. AMD is guilty of it as well.

    Why drop the clockspeed? If it performs too closely to the next model up, discontinue one of the SKUs and call it a day. NVIDIA eouldn’t have this issue if they didn’t have a different SKU for practically ever $10 that you can spend.
  • DanNeely - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    This was answered in the article. To be PCIe only for power; they couldn't increase the TDP above 75W. Which meant they had to lower clock speeds; the 10% faster performance from GDDR6 vs 5 is because the GPU spends less time waiting from ram and more time working and generating heat; if GDDR6 and/or GDDR6 controllers use more power as well that's something else that needs to be compensated for by lowering core clocks.

    Larger factory overclocks with an external power connector are possible in theory; but the narrow price gap between this and the 1650 Ti makes them unlikely unless the base model gets a price cut.
  • lmcd - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    Personally bought a 1650 so that I could skip routing the cable. I accidentally bought a comparatively-inflexible PSU for a case that needs good cable management and not routing the PCIe cable greatly improved the workability of the case.

    I'm not gaming on it either way but there's no iGPU to fall back on. Only disappointment was the last-gen encoder, but even then I'd still pick my main rig's 1070 on the basis of having more encoder units to work with.
  • Aikouka - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    Yeah, I really wish that Nvidia would've considered using the Turing NVENC with the 1650. I use a 1050 Ti in my Plex server, and while it technically works fine, I wouldn't mind slightly better hardware encoding visuals while sidelining my 1050 Ti as a simple test card. (It's really nice having a test card around that doesn't require PCI-E power!)
  • NICOXIS - Monday, April 6, 2020 - link

    How long until GDDR7?
  • nandnandnand - Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - link

    GDDR5 was revealed by Samsung Electronics in July 2007.
    In January 2016, JEDEC standardized GDDR5X SGRAM.
    At Hot Chips 2016, Samsung announced GDDR6 as the successor of GDDR5X.

    There might never be a GDDR7. The industry could move entirely to HBM or a different 3D stacking scheme. There could be a GDDR6X.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - link

    A few glimpses of GDDR7 - in the form of chip design IP - have recently became visible to the public. Dunno how far along it is, but someone appears to be tinkering with the standard.

  • GPURepublic - Thursday, August 19, 2021 - link

    I've found the GTX 1660 way better than other GTX 1600 series graphics cards. It's worth spending a bit more for GTX 1660 or 1660Ti than wasting money on a low-end GPU like this. This is what I've read on https://gpurepublic.com

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