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The 5 Best Alternatives to the NVIDIA GTX 1650

Are you a gamer still trucking along with an NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics card? While the GTX 1650 was a solid budget GPU in its day, if you‘re looking to play the latest AAA games, its 4GB of VRAM and lack of ray tracing capabilities simply won‘t cut it anymore. The good news is, with GPU prices finally stabilizing after years of turbulence, you‘ve got plenty of options for affordable upgrades that will dramatically improve your gaming experience.

I‘ve rounded up seven of the best alternatives to the GTX 1650 you can get right now for under $400. But first, let‘s quickly go over what you should look for in a graphics card upgrade and the biggest factors that influence GPU performance.

What Makes a Good GTX 1650 Upgrade?

When searching for a graphics card to replace your aging GTX 1650, here are the main things to prioritize:

  • A meaningful performance boost to justify the cost of upgrading. You‘ll want a GPU that can comfortably handle modern games at 1080p with high/max settings, with 1440p as a bonus.
  • At least 6GB of VRAM, though 8GB is preferable to avoid bottlenecks. More VRAM allows the GPU to store more texture and geometry data.
  • A 192-bit or higher memory bus for faster VRAM access and throughput. The GTX 1650 was limited to a 128-bit bus.
  • Support for PCI Express 4.0 to get the most out of a modern system and take advantage of faster SSD speeds. The GTX 1650 only supports PCIe 3.0.
  • Faster clock speeds. The base GTX 1650 topped out around 1590 MHz boost clock. Newer GPUs can hit over 1800 MHz.
  • Ray tracing and DLSS capabilities are great to have, though not essential. These are only available on RTX 20 series and newer NVIDIA cards.

Keeping those criteria in mind, let‘s take an in-depth look at 7 of the best NVIDIA GTX 1650 alternatives you can buy in 2023:

  1. ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 EVO

Still a great 1080p performer years later, the RTX 2060 is the next logical step up from the GTX 1650. It doubles the VRAM to 8GB and expands the memory bus to 192-bit for substantially better performance. According to GPU Benchmarks, the RTX 2060 is around 66% faster than the GTX 1650 at 1080p.

In addition to the raw specs upgrade, the RTX 2060 also gets you ray tracing and DLSS thanks to its Turing architecture. So while it may struggle with ray tracing in the newest games, you can still experiment with this advanced lighting technique and use DLSS upscaling to boost framerates.

The downside is that the RTX 2060 does require supplemental power from a 6 or 8-pin connector, while the GTX 1650 could run entirely off the PCIe slot. So it may not be suitable for a prebuilt office PC upgrade. But for a larger desktop or new build, the RTX 2060 remains one of the best value propositions under $400.

  1. MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060

Moving into current-gen territory, the RTX 3060 is one of the best overall GPUs for 1080p gaming. It ups the VRAM to 12GB, giving you more headroom for texture packs and high-res assets. The 3060‘s Ampere architecture is also a major step up from Turing, with improved ray tracing and tensor cores.

The RTX 3060 has become a sub-$400 GPU as of mid 2023, with an MSRP $329. It‘s about 30% faster than the RTX 2060 at 1080p and can even handle 1440p gaming at 60 fps in most titles. This GPU hits the sweet spot of price and performance for gamers upgrading from older xx50 series cards.

The main thing to watch out for is the RTX 3060‘s 170W TDP, which will require a beefier power supply than the 75W GTX 1650. NVIDIA recommends a 600W PSU for the 3060, though 550W should suffice for most builds.

  1. ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 4060

The latest xx60 series entry from NVIDIA‘s Ada Lovelace generation, the RTX 4060 delivers a huge performance leap over the GTX 1650. According to Hardware Unboxed, the 4060 is around 120% faster at 1080p, making it viable for 1440p high refresh rate gaming.

With 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and a wider 256-bit memory bus, the RTX 4060 solves many of the memory bottleneck issues of older midrange GPUs. PCIe 4.0 support also allows it to better leverage fast NVMe SSD asset streaming.

The catch is that the RTX 4060 is currently retailing for $299, the very top of the "under $400" category. Early adopters will pay a premium, but the 4060 should become a stronger value in the coming months. It‘s also more power hungry at 200W TDP.

So while the RTX 4060 may not be the most practical GTX 1650 alternative for budget gamers at the moment, it‘s absolutely one to watch for holiday sales later this year. The generational leap is enormous if you can swing the higher PSU requirement.

  1. MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3050

What if you want RTX features and encoding in a GTX 1650 form factor? Enter the RTX 3050. This GPU has a modest 8GB of GDDR6 and sticks with the 128-bit bus, but adds RT and tensor cores for ray tracing and DLSS.

The MSI Gaming RTX 3050 is compact enough to fit in tight mini ITX cases, making it easier to transplant into a prebuilt system. With a 130W TDP, it only needs a single 6-pin power connector, or can even run off the motherboard in some configurations.

Performance-wise, the RTX 3050 is around 50% faster than the GTX 1650 at 1080p medium settings. It‘s not a killer 1440p card, but can still hit 60 fps at that res in well-optimized games if you tweak some settings. Really, this is the card to get if you have a prebuilt and want to dip your toes into ray tracing.

  1. ASRock RX 6600 XT Phantom Gaming

The lone AMD representative on this list, the Radeon RX 6600 XT delivers great 1080p performance at an affordable price (currently around $385). It‘s built on AMD‘s RDNA 2 architecture, which does support ray tracing, though doesn‘t have an exact DLSS equivalent.

The RX 6600 XT comes with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and a 2048-bit memory bus. It also has 32MB of AMD Infinity Cache, which helps improve memory bandwidth and reduces latency. AMD‘s Smart Memory Access can also boost performance if you pair the GPU with a Ryzen CPU.

According to Tom‘s Hardware, the RX 6600 XT is about 57% faster than the GTX 1650 Super, so expect an even bigger gap compared to the base model. It trades blows with the RTX 3060 in most games and is a very capable 1440p @ 60 fps contender.

The main drawback of the RX 6600 XT compared to the NVIDIA options is less mature ray tracing and the lack of DLSS. FSR 2.0 can help boost performance in supported games, but isn‘t as widespread as NVIDIA‘s solution yet.

  1. ASUS KO GeForce RTX 2060 Super

For a more substantial upgrade over the base RTX 2060, look no further than the 2060 Super. It bumps the VRAM up to 8GB and boosts clock speeds by 100-200 MHz, leading to around 16% better performance at 1080p.

The ASUS KO RTX 2060 Super currently retails for around $380, putting it in between the RTX 3050 and 3060 in price while matching the latter in speed. If you can find a good deal on a 2060 Super, it‘s arguably a better buy than the base 3060 since the two perform similarly and the older card is usually cheaper.

Compared to the GTX 1650, the RTX 2060 Super is a revelation, nearly doubling frame rates at 1080p and comfortably pushing 60+ fps at 1440p high settings. With 8GB VRAM and ray tracing support, it‘s a fantastic midrange GPU for the price.

  1. GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Eagle

At the very top of the sub-$400 range, we have the outstanding RTX 3060 Ti. Splitting the difference between the 3060 and 3070, this GPU offers performance approaching the latter while costing closer to the former.

With the full 3060 Ti die enabled, you get 4864 CUDA cores and higher clock speeds than the non-Ti model. This translates to roughly 17% better performance at 1080p and 1440p, putting the 3060 Ti in contention for smooth 4K gaming in less demanding titles.

The Eagle model from Gigabyte offers great cooling and reasonable factory overclocks without inflated pricing. It sticks to the reference 200W TDP, so make sure your PSU is up to snuff before upgrading.

If you can find an RTX 3060 Ti on sale, it‘s easily the best GTX 1650 upgrade pick for serious gamers. It will max out anything at 1080p and deliver a premium 1440p experience.

Making Your GTX 1650 Upgrade Pick

With the 7 alternatives laid out above, you should have a good idea of the landscape in the sub-$400 GPU market. To summarize, here are my upgrade recommendations for different use cases:

  • For 1080p @ 60 fps gaming: RTX 3050 or RX 6600
  • For 1080p high refresh rate and 1440p @ 60 fps gaming: RTX 2060 Super or RX 6600 XT
  • For 1440p @ 100+ fps gaming: RTX 3060 Ti
  • For prebuilt and SFF PCs: RTX 3050
  • For ray tracing on a budget: RTX 2060

Between these price/performance tiers, you can‘t really go wrong. The most important thing is picking a GPU that fits your budget, your monitor resolution/refresh rate, and your system‘s power supply and thermal limits.

Frequently Asked Upgrade Questions

Before we wrap up, I want to address some common questions I see about upgrading from the GTX 1650 to a more powerful GPU in 2023.

  • Is the GTX 1650 still good in 2023?

For 720p gaming in older titles, the GTX 1650 remains passable. But for modern AAA releases at 1080p and above, it simply doesn‘t have the horsepower to keep up anymore. 4GB of VRAM, 128-bit memory bus, and lack of ray tracing put a hard ceiling on the GTX 1650‘s capabilities in 2023. You‘re better off upgrading to one of the alternatives in this article if you want to properly experience the latest games.

  • Can a prebuilt PC handle any of these GPUs?

The RTX 3050 and some models of the RX 6600 can work in a prebuilt system thanks to their low power requirements and small form factors. But the other GPUs in this roundup will likely require a new or upgraded power supply and possibly a case swap if you‘re working with a slim OEM machine. Prebuilts usually have proprietary motherboards and restricted expansion slots, so a ground-up custom PC may be necessary to fully take advantage of a GPU upgrade.

  • Should I upgrade my CPU/RAM as well?

If you‘re currently using a very old processor (like a Core i3/i5 from 4+ years ago) with your GTX 1650, it‘s probably a good idea to also upgrade your CPU and RAM to match your new graphics card. A fast GPU can absolutely be bottlenecked by outdated supporting hardware. For most midrange GPUs, shoot for at least a 6-core CPU from the past 2-3 years and 16GB of DDR4 3200 MHz RAM.

  • What RTX 40 series card is the GTX 1650 equivalent?

The closest match would be the upcoming RTX 4050, which is rumored to have 4GB GDDR6 VRAM and a 128-bit memory bus. This card will likely deliver GTX 1660 Ti levels of performance, making it a good entry point for budget gamers who want RTX features and DLSS 3 support. We don‘t have pricing info yet, but it should come in around the $200-$250 range.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it, a comprehensive guide to the best NVIDIA GTX 1650 alternatives for upgrading your gaming PC in 2023. With GPUs like the RTX 3060 and RX 6600 XT now available for under $400, it‘s never been a better time to make the jump from your aging GTX 1650.

No matter your budget or performance target, one of the cards highlighted above should fit the bill nicely. Just be sure to do your research on compatibility with your existing system before taking the plunge.

I hope this article gave you a better understanding of the current sub-$400 GPU landscape and equipped you with the knowledge needed to make a smart upgrade decision. Feel free to reach out in the comments if you have any other questions about moving on from the GTX 1650.

Happy gaming!