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Power consumption

Under load, the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost draws substantially more power than other cards in its price range. The differences at idle only amount to a few watts, though.

(I should reiterate that I underclocked faster cards to emulate both the Radeon HD 7850 2GB and the GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB. As a result, the data for those cards may not be exactly representative.)

Noise levels and GPU temperatures

Both the reference 650 Ti Boost and the EVGA variant have hamster wheel-style blowers, and they're not particularly quiet, as the numbers above demonstrate. I could hear a distinct growling or grumbling coming from the fans on both models, even at idle. When running a game, the growling turned into a sort of buzzing, not unlike the sound of an old fluorescent tube—and there was white noise added to the mix. The noise might be forgivable if the cards stayed particularly cool, but they don't appear to.

The Radeon HD 7850 1GB was also a little loud under load. The XFX Black Edition we underclocked to simulate a reference-clocked 7850 2GB was practically silent, no doubt thanks to its dual-fan cooler, though it did run a little hot. For what it's worth, the cheapest card XFX offers with the same cooler costs $230. Other card vendors make cheaper dual-fan versions of the 7850 2GB—this Gigabyte model is available for $195.