Opinion | INNO3D and MSI join Gigabyte in the oddest graphics card release of 2020, GDDR5 shortage or not
As predicted, other AIBs have followed Gigabyte in releasing GDDR6 versions of the GTX 1650. INNO3D has released the GTX 1650 D6 Twin X2 OC and Compact, for example, while MSI has announced multiple GDDR6 SKUs too.
While we questioned the reasoning of releasing a GDDR6 version of the GTX 1650, NVIDIA has offered an explanation. Responding to PCGamer, NVIDIA stated that it has "transitioned" the GTX 1650 to GDDR6 VRAM because of an industry shortage of GDDR5.
PCGamer has also confirmed that the refreshed GTX 1650 remains on the same TU117-300-A1 GPU as its GDDR5 sibling. However, the switch to GDDR6 VRAM has increased the card's memory bandwidth from 128 GB/s to 192 GB/s.
So, when GDDR5 versions of the GTX 1650 go out of stock, AIBs and NVIDIA will probably replace them with GDDR6 models. We would not rule out this being done silently, although some AIBs may still announce a GDDR6 release.
Here's the thing: NVIDIA already released a GDDR6 version of the GTX 1650, the GTX 1650 SUPER. If GDDR5 memory is no longer an option, then why not phase out the GTX 1650 altogether? It is not like AIBs are just swapping out GDDR5 for GDDR6, as Videocardz has already confirmed that Gigabyte has changed the packaging and card shroud of its GDDR6 GTX 1650 SKUs.
Additionally, AIBs are describing the GDDR6 GTX 1650 in practically the same terms as NVIDIA describes the GTX 1650 SUPER. Taking INNO3D as an example, it describes the new GDDR6 GTX 1650 as offering "performances that’s up to 2x the GeForce GTX 1050", semantically identical to NVIDIA's description of the GTX 1650 SUPER as being "2x faster than the previous-generation GTX 1050".
Since AIBs and NVIDIA are referring to the GDDR6 GTX 1650 and GTX 1650 SUPER by the same metrics, would it not have been more prudent to phase out the GTX 1650 and make the GTX 1650 SUPER the entry-level GTX 16 series? Instead, the series is now even more confusing. Perhaps another factor is driving the decision to keep the GTX 1650 going, unless we are missing something? One positive perhaps, as you mentioned the other day, is that single slot, low-profile, GTX 1650 cards will receive a GDDR6 upgrade.