Should you buy the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super?
Definitely. The $160 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super is the best budget graphics card you can buy—at least for now. It’s a killer option for 1080p gaming.
While its still-available non-Super predecessor failed to make a dent versus AMD’s ancient, yet value-packed Radeon RX 500-series, the GeForce GTX 1650 Super equals or surpasses the Radeon RX 580’s performance in every game but Strange Brigade, while proving far superior in power efficiency. That helps it run much cooler and quieter than AMD’s options.
Nvidia’s graphics card can hit a comfortable 60 frames per second with most if not all graphics settings maxed out, even in modern games. You might need to drop some especially strenuous games down to High, but that’s still great for a $160 GPU. It’s got Nvidia’s latest and greatest Turing NVENC encoder, too, a boon for streamers and video editors.
Given how much more efficient the GeForce GTX 1650 is, we’d opt for it over the Radeon RX 580 every time. AMD’s game bundles and deals might sway you to Team Red, though. At the moment, Radeon cards offer three free months of Microsoft’s superb Xbox Game Pass for PC, as well as your choice of either Borderlands 3 or Ghost Recon Breakpoint. We found both those games ho-hum, but it’s a compelling offer if you planned on picking up either title anyway. With Game Pass you won’t need to splurge on any games for a while. Still, Microsoft’s subscription gaming service is cheap enough—$1 for the first month, and $9 per month thereafter—that we’d still generally recommend the GTX 1650 Super.
If the slightly faster Radeon RX 590 drops down to the GTX 1650 Super’s price range, though, it’s worth considering if you don’t mind its awful power efficiency. And if you don’t mind dialing down graphics options a bit, the Radeon RX 570 with all those free games are still worth considering at just $120 to $130 on sale—and we’ve even seen it as low as $100 in the lead-up to Black Friday. That’s ludicrous. In general though, you’re getting a lot more performance out of the GTX 1650 Super for just $30 or so more.
Moving onto the $170 Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Super specifically, we can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a well-built, attractive, and borderline silent version of a great graphics card, loaded with premium features like a metal backplate, customizable RGB lighting, idle fan stop, dual BIOSes, a significant factory overclock, ports galore, and a fan header that ties control of one of your case fans to your GPU temperature. For a mere $10 premium? It’s a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, the ROG Strix isn’t available at retail at the time of publication. Two other Asus GPUS— the $165 GeForce GTX 1650 Super Phoenix Fan Edition and $160 Asus TUF GTX 1650 Super—are, and you should expect similar bottom-line gaming performance out of them, though these alternatives don’t pack all the same extras as the Strix.
Wrapping it up, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super is the best budget graphics card you can buy for 1080p gaming, and the Asus ROG Strix is a sterling custom version of it with a barely-there price premium. Both come highly recommended. It remains to be seen how long they hold onto the crown, though, as AMD’s Radeon RX 5500-series graphics cards are scheduled to launch sometime this quarter, built using the next-gen Navi architecture with support for GDDR6 and PCIe 4.0. We know they’re targeting 1080p gaming for the masses, but pricing and performance still remain a mystery.
For now, Nvidia can take a much-deserved victory lap. Hail to the new budget gaming champion.