Nvidia was rather clandestine with last week’s GeForce GTX 1650 launch, choosing to withhold third-party benchmarks and performance reviews until after the budget graphics cards hit store shelves.

Suffice to say, buying a graphics card before you know what it’s even capable of probably goes down as foolish endeavor, but you know what they say about a fool and his money. Nevertheless, the GeForce GTX 1650 is now out in the wild, which means we also have the game performance benchmarks for Nvidia’s latest yet not-quite-greatest.

If you’re weighing up your options in terms of budget and mid-tier graphics card upgrades, Nvidia’s now played most of its hands for this GTX 16 series generation. The new GeForce GTX 1650 comes in at the bottom of the heap for $149, then we have the $219 GeForce GTX 1660, and, finally, we have the $279 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. Look any higher than that and you’ll find yourself with a premium GeForce RTX 20 Series GPU.

The GeForce GTX 1650 uses a TU117 GPU, offering dramatically reduced specs compared to the GTX 1660 and the GTX 1660 Ti, both of which use a variant of the TU116. 

GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics Card Specs

  GeForce GTX 1050 GeForce GTX 1650 GeForce GTX 1660 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
Architecture GP106 TU117 TU116-300 TU116-400
Process 14nm 12nm 12nm 12nm
CUDA Cores 640 896 1408 1536
TMUs 40 56 80 96
ROPs 32 32 48 48
Base Clock 1354 MHz 1485 MHz 1530 MHz 1500 MHz
Boost Clock 1455 MHz 1665 MHz 1785 MHz 1770 MHz
Memory 2GB GDDR5 4GB GDDR5 6GB GDDR5 6GB GDDR6
Memory Interface 128-bit 128-bit 192-bit 192-bit
Memory Speed 7 GHz 8 GHz 8 GHz 12 GHz
Memory Bandwidth 112.1 GB/s 128 GB/s 192.1 GB/s 288 GB/s
Price $109 $149 $219 $279

Nvidia has been keen to espouse the GeForce GTX 1650 as a major performance leap over the GeForce GTX 950. But, well, that's a low-end 4-year-old graphics card so that shouldn't really even be in the discussion in 2019. What we're really interested in is how the GeForce GTX 1650 compares to the current crop of GeForce GPUs, and whether it's worth buying versus its more expensive brethren.

The GeForce GTX 1650 comes in at close to half the price of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, but what does mean for its cut-down performance? Here we take a look at expected frame rates when using these graphics cards at 1080p while playing the latest AAA PC titles.

GeForce GTX 1650 v GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming FPS Performance @ 1080p 

 As you'd expect, the GeForce GTX 1660 is clearly the faster graphics card, averaging frame rates of 69.7 FPS across all tested titles at 1080p/Ultra, while the GeForce GTX 1650 manages just 49.4 FPS. That's a 41% advantage in terms of real gaming performance for the GeForce GTX 1660, evidence aplenty that Nvidia's new pocket Turing isn't exactly a powerhouse.

In a number of benchmarks, the GTX 1650 actually pulls fairly close to the GTX 1660. Once you get to the VRAM hungry games such as Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, however, you really begin to see the $149 GeForce GTX 1650 begin to struggle comparison. Still, for $70 cheaper, you'd expect this to be the case. The GeForce GTX 1650 is a 1080p video card, but it's evidently not designed for 1080p/Ultra, and instead is better suited to Medium and High graphics presets.

GeForce GTX 1650 v GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Gaming FPS Performance @ 1080p

And here we have an even more lopsided comparison. The $279 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti averages an impressive 80.5 FPS, offering 63% higher frame rates than the GeForce GTX 1650. It's a bit of a tonking, to be honest, but one graphics card is almost twice as expensive as the other. This provides ample evidence that the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is a fantastic 1080p video card and can hit 60 frames per second in almost every AAA game you throw at it.

GeForce GTX 16 Series Value For Money (Cost Per Frame)

That's the performance out of the way then, and it follows a totally predictable pattern. But what about which GeForce GTX 16 graphics card is the best value for money? Here we've taken the average frame rates achieved all benchmark tests by the GeForce GTX 1650, GeForce GTX 1660, and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, calculating an average frame rate and then dividing the MSRP by this amount. Simple.

  GTX 1650 GTX 1660 GTX 1660 Ti
Average Frame Rate 49.42 FPS 69.74 FPS 80.54 FPS
Price $149 $219 $279
Cost Per Frame $3.00 $3.14 $3.46

As we often see, the cheaper the graphics card, the better the cost to performance ration. Usually, we see a sweet spot around the x60 GeForce cards though, offering great value paired with great performance. Due to the across the board price rises this generation (the GeForce GTX 1050 was $109), there really isn't that much difference in terms of cost per frame across the entire range of GTX 16 graphics cards. The GeForce GTX 1650 is, theoretically, the best value, but the GTX 1660 Ti is almost double the price yet offers nearly double the frame rates. It's not the night and day difference we were expecting, meaning none of these GPUs stands out from the pack as the pick of the bunch.

The end result is fairly simple for prospective GeForce owners - pay more and you'll be rewarded with a similar jump in frame rates. The value proposition does go down the higher you go, but not to any hugely consequential degree.