This is the saddest GPU launch in history and for once I'm not talking about the Intel Arc A380

Colorful GTX 1630 graphics card exploded shot
(Image credit: Colorful)

We knew it was coming, but I still didn't want to believe Nvidia was really going to release such a graphics card as the GTX 1630. I didn't want to believe that in 2022 things were so bad that the green team would go back and scrape out the silty bottom of the Turing GPU well.

And yet here we are; a new GPU sliced to the bone with almost a third of the CUDA core count of the GTX 1650 Super, retailing with an MSRP of $10 more than that actually pretty damned good mainstream GPU.

The $169 MSRP has come via Colorful, which is releasing a modestly higher clocked version of the card with a dual-slot cooling design and a 6-pin PCIe connector. Asus has also announced to us three different versions, including a couple of nominally more overclocked cards. And I would expect those to be priced into the $200 mark.

In terms of the GTX 1630's pallid specs list, the TU117 GPU boasts just 512 CUDA cores, features 4GB of GDDR6 memory on a 64-bit memory bus (yes, you read that right), and clock speeds of 1,815MHz. In fairness, that's the one place where the GPU has the edge on its Turing brethren—it's the highest clocked GTX 16-series card Nvidia has ever produced. Yay.

By contrast, when it was released back in 2019, the GTX 1650 Super came with a TU116 GPU featuring 1,280 CUDA cores, 4GB GDDR6, and a 1,725MHz boost clock speed. All for a more modest $159.

Remember when graphics cards actually had some notion of value attached to them? I would understand if you don't, it's been a while. 

We've been talking about it today and still can't settle on where this has come from. Did Nvidia uncover a stash of broken TU117 GPUs it had hoarded away for a rainy day and has now chopped them up and resold them on to AIBs? Or has it actually decided to start manufacturing these cheap old chopped-down GPUs afresh knowing it can sell them on for a massive profit?

Neither sounds like a particularly positive outcome for us PC gamers.

Asus TUF GTX 1630 graphics card

(Image credit: Asus)
Screen queens

(Image credit: Future)

Best gaming monitor: Pixel-perfect panels for your PC
Best high refresh rate monitor: Screaming quick screens
Best 4K monitor for gaming: When only high-res will do
Best 4K TV for gaming: Big-screen 4K PC gaming

The GTX 1650 Super was actually a great 1080p GPU when it launched, and would still deliver an effective 1080p gaming experience on a host of popular games. The new GTX 1630, by contrast, absolutely won't. Checking out TechPowerUp's review of the Gainward version and its average frame rates across its full suite of gaming benchmarks sees the GTX 1630 performing 54% slower than the GTX 1650 Super.

The argument, I guess, is that you can't buy a GTX 1650 Super new for that MSRP right now, but honestly there are enough listed second-hand on Ebay today, for way less than the price of a GTX 1630 that I would totally recommend giving the used market a go before you go anywhere near this latest Nvidia card.

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.