The performance gap between Nvidia’s GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti was so big that they had to try and fill it with the 1650 Ti. Unfortunately the 1650 Ti doesn’t do a very good job of this, it doesn’t actually perform that much different than the 1650, so is it worth paying more for?
I’ve compared both in 20 games and applications to show you the differences.
GPU spec differences
Comparing the GPU specs side by side can be confusing. The Ti can potentially be the same as the lower non Ti version that came out first. Both can have the same CUDA core count, clock speed ranges can be a little different, and the memory can be the same. Notice I said “can” a lot there. There are some important caveats, older 1650s can have slower GDDR5 memory and that’s not going to be something listed in the laptops spec sheet alongside 1650. The CUDA core count of the 1650 can also differ, again something you won't see in the spec sheet, and the power limit will also differ.
Basically this means you don’t really know what you’re getting when you pick a 1650 laptop unless you check reviews first, so performance could vary.
Laptops used for testing
The two laptops I’m testing here are the Acer Nitro 5 with GTX 1650, and Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 with 1650 Ti. These are the exact specs of the graphics of both laptops that I’m testing, so note that my 1650 does not have the “up to” 1024 CUDA cores that Nvidia specify. Both of mine do otherwise have the same 50 watt power limit, and both of my laptops also use GDDR6 memory.
Ideally I’d be using the exact same laptop with just a GPU change, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make that happen. Both of these laptops still have the same 6 core Ryzen 5 4600H processor and 16gb of DDR4-3200 memory in dual channel, and considering that I’m going to be focusing on higher setting presets in games which are typically more GPU bound, we should still be in for a pretty fair comparison, so with that out of the way let’s get into some results.
20 games tested
Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the game’s benchmark. The 1650 Ti was less than three FPS higher than the non Ti, so not too much difference at all, yet this is still one of the largest performance differences out of the games covered, with the Ti almost 8% ahead.Control was essentially the same on both. Technically the non Ti 1650 was ahead, but it’s less than half a frame which is definitely within the margin of error range. Apex legends was less than 4 FPS ahead on the 1650 Ti with all settings at max, which was an above average difference, putting the Ti around 5% faster in this game. Battlefield 5 saw the largest difference out of all 20 games with the Ti 16% ahead of the non Ti in average FPS at ultra settings. CS:GO typically depends more on the CPU rather than GPU, so it wasn’t a surprise to see the smallest difference out of all games tested here.
Average differences over all 20 games
The Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti was less than 5% faster than the GTX 1650 on average out of the 20 games that I’ve tested. As we can see, results can vary significantly by game. Some outliers include Fortnite and Control which were slightly ahead on the 1650 non Ti, but the difference in Fortnite was like 2 FPS and control was less than 1 FPS, so it’s still about equivalent performance. Battlefield V was a bit of an outlier though, scoring 16% higher on the 1650 Ti.
Honestly I’m surprised the difference was even this big given both had the same power limit and the GPU specs are otherwise the same.
If my 1650 laptop happened to have the same 1024 CUDA cores as the 1650 Ti, the difference would be even smaller. On the other hand if my 1650 was an older GDDR5 model, then the difference would be a bit larger.
I’ve also tested FireStrike and TimeSpy from 3DMark, and the 1650 Ti was just 6% ahead in the Timespy graphics score, and less than 5% ahead in firestrike graphics score, so similar to some of the games and not much of a difference. I’ve also tested SPECviewperf which tests various professional 3D workloads. The 1650 Ti was ahead in most cases, but the margins could vary significantly depending on the specific test.
Prices of these GPUs are going to vary entirely based on what laptop they’re in. It’s really hard for me to fairly compare price, and not just because of all those issues mentioned earlier with the 1650 having different options. A lot of the 1650 Ti models also offer things like extra storage, which will be a factor in the total overall cost difference.
The best example I could find was the Lenovo Legion 5, as they let you simply select which of these two GPUs you’d like. The 1650 Ti is $50 USD more than the 1650 at the time of recording this video in late 2020. Most other examples I found were closer to a $100 difference, so the $50 difference in the Legion 5 seems to be more of a best case. The Legion 5 was $810 with the 1650, or $860 with the 1650 Ti, so around 6% more money for the Ti, which is a similar margin to the average performance boost seen in games.
1660 Ti instead?
But when we consider you can probably get a 1660 Ti laptop with better processor on sale, paying more for the 1650 Ti may be harder to justify, as I’ve found the 1660 Ti to perform around 50% faster in a similar selection of games when compared to the 1650, a much nicer increase.
Is 1650 Ti worth it?
Ultimately, I think the 1650 Ti fails to deliver on what it was meant to, it doesn’t really do a good job of filling in the gap between the 1650 and 1660 Ti, it appears that Nvidia just turned up the power limit a little. There’s no way I’d consider spending $100 more to upgrade from the 1650 to the 1650 Ti. The confusion between the older 2019 1650 and newer 2020 1650 is also confusing for consumers.
Basically you don’t really know what level of performance you’re going to get from the 1650. It just feels a little dodgy to keep the same name and change it a bit. In this testing I have of course focused on using higher setting presets, as these are typically more GPU bound, and this is a GPU comparison. You can of course get much higher FPS than what I’ve shown in this video by turning settings down a bit.
I’ve actually tested both of these laptops in 20 games at all setting levels if you want to see how they perform with different settings.