Nvidia’s rumored GTX 1630 GPU is finally out, and it… doesn't look good

GTX 1050 Ti
(Image credit: Future)

Well, it happened. Nvidia’s much-rumored GTX 1630 GPU has arrived, with an official launch today and confirmed models coming from major GPU manufacturers including EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte, and Zotac.

The GTX 1630 is based on Nvidia’s older Turing architecture, similar to the GTX 1650 released in 2019. This is the first Turing-based GTX card to be released in two years, and will compete with AMD’s Radeon RX 6400 and Intel’s new Arc A380 in the super-budget GPU stakes - both of which run on current-generation architectures.

As far as specs go, it’s not very impressive. Power consumption and VRAM are basically identical to the original GTX 1650, but the memory bandwidth is cut in half and the die uses fewer CUDA cores too. 

These stats line up with recently leaked specs for the GTX 1630, which were compared frequently to Nvidia’s six-year-old GTX 1050 Ti (pictured above). Since this is the older Turing architecture, there’s no support for newer features like ray-tracing or DLSS.

TechPowerUp (via VideoCardz) has reviewed an early GTX 1630 unit from manufacturer Gainward, and concluded that while the card runs quietly and power-efficiently with great thermal performance, it’s just not powerful enough to warrant a purchase unless you need a very low-end discrete GPU for something specific. 

Pricing on the new card is also a bit unclear; Nvidia’s RRP seems to be around $150 based on initial pricing in China, but EVGA is listing its model for $200 and Colorful’s will retail for $169.

Opinion: We didn’t need this. Nobody needed this

Considering that Nvidia already has an effective stranglehold on the higher end of the GPU market with the mighty RTX 3000 cards (and RTX 4000 on the not-too-distant horizon), it’s difficult to understand why Nvidia would release this low-end card now, when the market is relatively crowded.

When you look at the pricing, it becomes even weirder. AMD’s RX 6500 XT officially retails at $200, and the massively dialed-back memory bandwidth on the GTX 1630 means that it offers less than half the in-game performance of the AMD card despite not being much cheaper. 

I can’t see any reason why someone would want to buy this new GPU, considering that it’s barely capable of playing modern games at 1080p and it’s not even that cheap.

One interesting thing that could save the GTX 1630’s functionality is AMD FSR, Team Red’s answer to DLSS, which unlike Nvidia’s upscaling tech is actually hardware-agnostic and could theoretically run on the 1630 to improve performance - albeit with a healthy dose of irony, given that the GTX 1630 can't even run Nvidia's own FSR competitor.

It’s possible that Nvidia had planned to launch this card earlier in the year to directly combat AMD’s budget GPU launch and provide some relief to cash-strapped gamers drowning in a world of scalpers and crypto miners. We know the GTX 1630 was hit with multiple delays, which could explain why it’s being kicked out the door without much fanfare now. 

There’s also a chance that Nvidia wanted to get rid of surplus stock of the 12nm TU177 chip that powers this GPU (and older GTX cards) before the RTX 4000 series launches. 

I couldn’t really fathom Nvidia’s reasoning, but hey; the GTX 1630 here, and it, well… it doesn't look good.

Christian Guyton
Editor, Computing

Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.

Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.