Asus GTX 650-E unveiled - a graphics card for the low-wattage generation

This is the new Asus GTX 650-E, a low-power graphics card that takes all the juice it needs from your motherboard, without the need for a secondary power connector from the PSU itself. That means even if you don't have a PSU capable of juicing up a standard GTX 650 you ought to be able to get Asus' wee GPU running in your rig.

Looking at Asus' new GTX 650-E though you have to wonder why exactly Nvidia demanded a PCIe power connector as standard for the GTX 650 reference design in the first place.

The PCIe connector on your motherboard is capable of jamming up to 75W into your graphics card through the PCI-Express bus itself, and the standard reference design of the GTX 650 is only set to draw a maximum of 64W. This GTX 650-E is rated at just 60W as a maximum TDP.

Still, kudos to Asus for putting together a board sans PCIe-connector for this Nvidia card.

It may not be the quickest of the last generation of graphics cards, but the closest AMD card capable of running off the PCIe bus alone is the Radeon HD 7750 and that's significantly slower than the standard GTX 650.

This Asus GTX 650-E version isn't cutting corners on the specs either, offering both 5GHz 1GB and 2GB GDDR5 options with the full 1,071MHz GPU clockspeed and 384 CUDA cores.

The GTX 650-E offers a versatile graphics upgrade for those without the PSU grunt to run a speedier card, but inevitably you are paying for that privilege. The equivalently priced Radeon HD 7770 may require a 6pin PCIe connector because of its 80W TDP, but it's a proper 1080p gaming GPU that will offer playable FPS rates in the latest titles at high settings.

As impressive as this little energy-friendly board is, for our money I'd be upgrading my PSU first.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.