With the GeForce GTX 650 Ti, Nvidia has now completed the GeForce 600 Kepler family and looks (at last) to have the Radeon HD 7770 in its sights. This new mid-range reference does however have plenty to do as AMD has gradually been repositioning the Radeon HD 7850 1 GB to keep pace.
The Radeon HD 7770 in its sights…
Although the Kepler family has allowed Nvidia to make up ground on AMD in terms of energy yield and provide some ferocious competition at the high end, the roll out further down the range has been more problematic. The reason for this is that a higher cost architecture with an equivalent size chip puts Kepler at a disadvantage with AMD’s GCN architecture.
AMD's Pitcairn and Cape Verde GPUs thus have a performance advantage over the Nvidia GK106 and GK107 GPUs. Of course, the hardware of these GPUs isn't the only thing that decides their positioning but, given the higher production costs at 28nm, AMD does have more room for manoeuvre in terms of offering a better price/performance ratio.
We saw this recently with the GeForce GTX 650, which is equipped with the GK107 and gives performance on a par with the Radeon HD 7750, but costs the same as the Radeon HD 7770. With a view to facing the HD 7770 down with the GeForce GTX 650 Ti, Nvidia has had recourse to a bigger GPU, the GK106, in a cut down version. It now has a 128-bit memory bus (instead of 192-bit) and one of the five blocks of processing units (SMXs) is deactivated. You’ll be able to find more details on this GPU in the report on the GeForce GTX 660
Such a configuration looks as if it should have the advantage over the Radeon HD 7770, but at what price? The GeForce GTX 650 Ti will cost you €150 or €140 against €120 for the Radeon HD 7770. This positioning looked okay as AMD had left a large hole in its range between the HD 7770 and the HD 7850. Nvidia also enjoys a better brand image, which means it doesn’t have to fight as hard when it comes to price/performance ratios.
… but this was to ignore the Radeon HD 7850 ambush!
Unfortunately for Nvidia however, AMD is working its pricing well to put the pressure on in every segment. Over the last few months, the Radeon HD 7850 1 GB has been getting closer to this segment and AMD has now taken advantage of the arrival of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti to finalise this new positioning.
Introduced six months ago at €210 in a 2 GB version, the Radeon HD 7850 is now available from large etailers for €150 in its 1 GB option, with moreover a pretty tidy bundle including Sleeping Dogs or DiRT Showdown, or even both! Nvidia must be tearing its hair out! Will the GeForce GTX 650 Ti have any chance?