The GeForce GTX 660 Ti
Just a few short months ago NVIDIA released their second video card based on Kepler, the GeForce GTX 670. In that time the GeForce GTX 670 has become a very hot seller, maybe not quite as hot as this summer has been, but there is no denying the performance potential of the card. Many of you have been clamoring for information about a more affordable Kepler but very little has been talked about over the last few months.
Today, as they say, is a new day. NVIDIA pulls the wrappings off of their latest in the Kepler line, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti. Once again NVIDIA hearkens back to the GeForce 3 and GeForce 4 lines from eleven years ago (has it really been that long?) with the Ti designation. The GeForce GTX 660 Ti slots itself below the GeForce GTX 670 in the Kepler performance hierarchy. It is designed to be the performance per dollar sweet spot that many of you have been clamoring for.
Starting at $299, NVIDIA has packed plenty of performance into the GeForce GTX 660 Ti. The foundation of the card, the GPU itself should seem very familiar most, it's identical to the GeForce GTX 670. Yes, this little beast comes to the fight carrying the same 1344 CUDA Cores, 112 Texture Units, and 7 SMX's as its bigger brother. The Base Clock, Boost Clock, Memory Clock, and 2GB of memory is also the same. The only difference is that the number of ROP Units has been decreased to 24 from 32, the memory bus has been reduced to a 192-bit bus from a 256-bit bus and the L2 cache size is now 384KB instead of 512KB. The memory bandwidth on the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is ~144 GB/s versus ~192 GB/s on the GeForce GTX 670/680, which is a 25% reduction.
How big of an impact will these changes make in the tests? We will have to see. Thanks to the reductions, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is more power efficient with just a 150W TDP rating when not overclocked.
You may be thinking that the memory bus may hold back performance but that would be an incorrect assumption. The GeForce GTX 660 Ti is designed for gamers who aren't running multiple monitors or some of the more exotic set ups, with emphasis on non-AA enabled 2560x1600, AA enabled 1920x1200 and 1920x1080. You'll be pleasantly surprised to find the GeForce GTX 660 Ti can outperform the GeForce GTX 670 at lower resolutions thanks to aggressive boost and overclocked speeds from companies like ASUS, EVGA, and MSI.
Speaking of overclocking, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti does not disappoint and is capable of some incredible memory overclocks, allowing the card to make up a bit of ground due to it's lack of bus width with raw speed. Enough talking already, let's take a look at the hardware on hand and see what it can do!
ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP
ASUS will be launching three NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti video cards this month. The interesting thing to highlight with ASUS is that there is absolutely no difference between any of the cards in regards to their physical design or the components used on the cards. The difference is solely based on yield and binning differential.
| ASUS GTX660 Ti Graphics Cards
|GPU boost clock||980MHz||1058MHz||1137MHz|
|GPU base clock||915MHz||967Hz||1059MHz|
ASUS informed us that the standard card with the will be available on launch date for $304.99 or less, but both the OC and TOP models will be slightly delayed. ASUS expects the OC version to be available early next week and the TOP is expected to show up at retailers in 10 to 14 days. All three of the cards feature 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 6008MHz (1502MHz), so the only difference in them is the GPU clock speed on the 1344 CUDA cores. As you can see the standard ASUS card is clocked at the NVIDIA default clock speeds of 915MHz base clock and 980MHz boost clock. The ASUS OC version steps up the game a bit, so you are getting 52MHz more on the base clock and an extra 78MHz on the boost clock. For those that want the best cards the TOP version is overclocked to 1059MHz on the base and to 1137MHz on the boost. This is an overall increase of 144MHz on the base clock and 157MHz on the boost clock. At the end of the day ASUS is charging an extra $25 to give you a base clock that is 15.7% higher than the NVIDIA reference design. If you don't want to mess with manually overclocking your graphics card, this extra cost is easily justifiable.
We received the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP 2GB video card from ASUS to review today. This is very different from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti reference design as it features a custom PCB, GPU cooler and is factory overclocked. ASUS has become very good and making video cards over the years, so this card should be top notch. The ASUS part number of the card that we are looking at today is GTX560TI-DC2T-2GD5. This card is a TOP version with a base clock of 1059MHz and a boost clock of 1137MHz on the 1344 CUDA cores. The 2GB of GDDR5 memory runs at 1502MHz (6008MHz effective).
The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP bundle is pretty sparse. It comes with a DVI to VGA video adapter, a 4-pin MOLEX to 6-pin PCIe power adapter, the setup guide and driver disc (inside the setup guide booklet). At launch NVIDIA will be providing Borderlands 2. Borderlands 2 comes out on September 18, 2012, so obviously it will be a game key that you'll be able to use next month.
The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP is 10.7" in length and is a dual-slot card. As you can see the GPU cooler is offset to the right for some reason and hangs off the right side of the PCB.
Flipping the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP graphics card over we can see that it is pretty bare with the exception of six GDDR5 memory chips that make up part of the 2GB of on-board memory. This PCB is custom designed and uses ASUS
DIGI+ VRM with 6-phase Super Alloy Power (SAP) technology. SAP components are the choke, capacitor and the mosfet. This is of course the heart of the video card, so having good quality components here is critical for power efficiency and stable overclocking.
ASUS claims that Super Alloy Power (SAP)
gives you a 15% performance boost, 2.5 times longer lifespan, 35°C
cooler operation. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti reference design has a 4 phase GPU PWM design that is analog. ASUS also uses 9 POSCAPs (solid electrolytic chip capacitors) versus just 2 on the NVIDIA design to lower power noise, enhance overclocking and improve overall stability.
The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP video card uses 2GB of Hynix GDDR5 memory. The exact part number is H5GQ2H24AFR-ROC. According to the Hynix website these specific IC's are rated to run at 6.0Gbps at 1.6V.
The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB GDDR5 graphics card has a total of four display connectors. You have a dual-link DVI-I, dual-link DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. All of the video outputs are standard size, so no adapters are needed, which is nice. The only downside to using full size connectors is that the exhaust fan outlet is small, so it will be interesting to see how this card does when we test temperatures.
ASUS went with their custom DirectCU II GPU cooling system to help keep this Kepler based video card nice and cool. This DirectCU II cooler uses three copper heat pipes that are in direct contact with the GPU to speed up heat dissipation for over 20% cooler performance.
You can see that the heatsink stops short of the end of the card, so ASUS has a metal 'shield' that helps direct air from the end of the card to the exhaust port.
The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP has two 80mm cooling fans for doubled airflow. These fans are pretty quiet and can be easily controlled with the ASUS GPU Tweak utility if you'd like to manually adjust the pair of fans. The Kepler GPU is the heart of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti, so keeping it cool is critical and a good GPU cooler is necessary.
ASUS also uses what they call a dust-proof fan that is better sealed to prevent dust from getting into the housing assembly and ruining the fan bearing. ASUS says the fans on this card should last 50,000 hours due to the dust-proof technology versus the 40,000 hours of a standard cooling fan. This is something you can't see by just looking at the card, so we've included the ASUS marketing slide that highlights this technology.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti supports triple-SLI and has a pair of SLI connectors along the top of the PCB for multi-GPU systems. You can also see that ASUS uses a brace that helps to add rigidity to the card to prevent the PCB from flexing.
ASUS used two 6-pin PCIe power connectors on the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP video card and recommends at least a 550 Watt power supply with a minimum +12V current rating of 38A. ASUS has a pair of LED lights under each PCIe power connector. These two LED lights are a form of quick diagnostic for issues when connecting power to the video card. Depending on the presence or lack of presence of power connections ( or secure fitting ) the card will display an LED - RED or Green. Green meaning power connections are correct and Red meaning power connections are not.
ASUS made a 15 minute long video on this card, so you can watch that above if you like.
EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti SuperClocked
EVGA is launching six NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti video cards today with three of them having the standard 2GB of memory and the other three having three GB of memory.
- EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB - $299.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Superclocked 2GB -$309.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti FTW 2GB - $329.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti+ 3GB - $329.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Superclocked+ 3GB - $339.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti FTW+ 3GB - $359.99
The EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti video card that we will be looking at today is the Superclocked 2GB version that is priced at $309.99. This card comes dressed like Johnny Cash... in all black. This is a very nice looking card and as you can probably tell, is a referenced design cooler with the EVGA logos adorning it. The stock cooler does a great job of keeping things cool and mostly quiet as long as you aren't trying to overclock it to the moon.
Another angle on the card where you can see the branding and another EVGA logo. As we mentioned on the first page, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti Super Clock is nearly identical to the GeForce GTX 670, including the length of the card at 9.5". The EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Super Clock comes in with the lowest clock speeds in our testing here today. The core is clocked at 980 MHz, memory at 6008MHz, with the Boost Clock at 1059MHz.
Here we have a close up of a the rubber cover protecting the pair of SLI bridges. That's right, GeForce GTX 660 Ti is capable of 3-way SLI!
Up close and personal with the pair of 6-pin PCI-e power connectors. There is plenty of space for even chubby fingers to plug and unplug the power cables.
Here we have the backside of the card. Notice how short the actual PCB is, with the fan and shroud hanging off the left side.
Finally, we have the box, some stickers, and setup guides that are included with the card.
MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti Twin Frozr
MSI will have two GeForce GTX 660 Ti offerings, the N660Ti PE 2GD5/OC gracing our pages here with a price of $309.99. The second card will be a reference design and will carry a $299.99 price tag. For $10, the N660Ti PE 2GD5/OC is a steal!
Last in the preview but certainly not the least, we have the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti Twin Frozr, or N660Ti PE 2GD5/OC if you're looking for the exact model name. Clearly this is a departure from the reference design heat sink and cooler. At start up the fans are audible but quickly fade to nearly inaudible. The heat sink does a great job of keeping the card cool but does tend to dump some heat into the rest of the system.
Another shot of the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti Twin Frozr fresh out of the confines of its static bag. Notice the light blue plug and PCI-e connector covers. This is a nice touch for keeping dust and small fingers out of places they shouldn't be. Priced at a reasonable $309.99 the N660Ti PE 2GD5/OC is sure to be a hit! The clock speeds of this beast are 1020MHz GPU Core, 6008MHz memory, and 1098MHz GPU Boost.
Here we can see the pair of 6-pin PCI-e power connectors. Spacing is a little tight for removing the cables but we've certainly seen worse.
Here we can see the connectors for the card. It is packing a pair of DVI connectors, the bottom is a DVI-I while the top is DVI-D. Display Port is at the bottom left and HDMI is in the middle. It looks this is the reference bracket for the GeForce GTX 660 Ti and with this cooler arrangement doesn't seem to do anything as we could feel no heat coming from the vent.
Here we have the back side of the card where there are two memory chips at the bottom. Since MSI is using a non-reference cooler there is nothing hanging off the end of the card. MSI uses a custom PCB on their card, where the reference card has a 6.8125 inch long PCB, the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti Twin Frozr uses a 9.5 inch long PCB.
Up close with the SLI bridges. The MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti is 3-way SLI ready!
Finally we have the bundle. MSI includes a DVI to VGA adapter and two molex to PCI-e power adapters. A driver disk with MSI Afterburner overclocking utility and User Guide are in the package as well.
MSI will have two GeForce GTX 660 Ti offerings, the N660Ti PE 2GD5/OC gracing our pages here with a price of $309.99. The second card will be a reference design and will carry a $299.99 price tag. For $10, the N660Ti PE 2GD5/OC is a steal!
Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.Drivers used for testing:
- Catalyst 12-7 BETA
- GeForce 305.37
The Intel P67 platform we used for video cards was running on the ASUS P67 Deluxe motherboard. Kingston Genesis memory was used in a 4x2GB configuration running at 1333MHz with 1.5v and 9-9-9-21-1t timings.
Intel Sandy Bridge Test Bench
|Processor||Intel Core i7 2500K||Live Pricing|
|Motherboard||ASUS P67 Deluxe||Live Pricing|
|Memory||Kingston Genesis 2133MHz||Live Pricing|
|Hard Drive||Crucial 128GB M4 SSD||Live Pricing|
|Video Card||Diamond HD 7970||Live Pricing|
|CPU cooler||Corsair A70||Live Pricing|
|Chassis||None - Open Bench|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX850||Live Pricing|
- Video cards Tested:
Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios. It is the sequel to the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. The game was released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The PC and Onlive version was released on November 22, 2011.
Batman: Arkham City uses the Unreal Engine 3 game engine with PhysX. For benchmark testing of Batman: Arkham City we ran the game in DirectX 11 mode with 8x MSAA enabled and all the image quality features cranked up. You can see our settings in the screen capture above. Hardware physics was enabled.
Benchmark Results: Clearly hardware physics is brutal on even these high end cards. While not exact comparable, the trio of GeForce 660 Ti runs neck and neck against the GTX 670, falling behind by only 1 fps at 2560x1600.
Just Cause 2
Just Cause 2 is a sandbox style action video game developed by Swedish developer Avalanche Studios and Eidos Interactive, published by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2006 video game, Just Cause.
Just Cause 2 employs a new version of the Avalanche Engine, Avalanche Engine 2.0, which is an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game will be set on the other side of the world, compared to Just Cause, which is on the fictional tropical island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Rico Rodriguez will return as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former boss, Tom Sheldon.
Benchmark Results: As this is an AMD backed title, it's not too surprising to see them leading the way here. The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti pulls ahead of the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti and EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Super Clock here by the narrowest of margins.
3D Mark 11
3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
Benchmark Results: 3D Mark is great at showing us theoretical performance. Here we can see just how powerful the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is compared to the GeForce GTX 670. The MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti pulls ahead of the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti in GPU score, followed by the GeForce GTX 670 at over 300 points behind!
Unigine Heaven 3.0
The 'Heaven' benchmark that uses the Unigine easily shows off the full potential of DirectX 11 graphics cards. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging, experience of exploring the intricate world is within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extent and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming. The distinguishing feature of the benchmark is a hardware tessellation that is a scalable technology aimed for automatic subdivision of polygons into smaller and finer pieces so that developers can gain a more detailed look of their games almost free of charge in terms of performance. Thanks to this procedure, the elaboration of the rendered image finally approaches the boundary of veridical visual perception: the virtual reality transcends conjured by your hand.
For this benchmark we used Heaven DX11 Benchmark Version 3.0, which just came out on March 7th, 2012. We haven't run this benchmark in over a year, so it will be interesting to see how this new generation of video cards handles this benchmark. We wanted to see how the cards would do with mild settings, so we disabled AA and AF and set the Tessellation to moderate. We ran the benchmark at 2560x1600 and 1920x1080 to see how the cards would perform with a variety of settings.
Benchmark Results: The GeForce GTX 670 finally steals the show here. At 1080p only the AMD HD 7970 is able to break into the GeForce GTX 660 Ti domination.
Rift-Planes of Telara
Rift is a MMORPG set in a fantasy world called Telara, which is the focal point of several different elemental Planes. These Planes are realities representing the elemental forces of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, Life, and Death, and it is at the one point where every one of these Planes intersect with each other that Telara exists. Each Plane is governed by a Dragon-deity, which is the personification of that elemental force. Through the actions of the Dragon of Extinction, Regulos, the various Dragons have united in an alliance known as the Blood Storm, for the purpose of invading Telara and gaining use of the intersection of all of their realms. In the past, the Blood Storm was defeated by the inhabitants of Telara with the help of the Vigil, the most powerful of the native gods of Telara.
We used the above in game settings to benchmark Rift
As we ran through the Guardian city of Sanctum we were let down that there wasn't more performance to be found. As this is always the most difficult area to navigate we wanted to see if a faster video card would help. Clearly, this being an MMO shows just how CPU limited these powerful cards are.
Dirt: Showdown is a video game published and developed by Codemasters for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was released in May 2012 in Europe and in June in North America. It is part of the Colin McRae Rally game series.
Dirt: Showdown removes several of the gameplay modes featured Dirt 3, and introduces new ones. Gameplay modes can be classified as Racing, Demolition, Hoonigan or Party. We ran the built in Benchmark at Ultra settings to get a true feel of what this engine has to offer!
It is very important to note that Global Illumination and Advanced Lighting have massive performance penalties when enabled, something not seen in other titles in the Dirt series. It seems to affect NVIDIA hardware more so than AMD. We ran with and without the settings enabled to show our readers that these two settings can make a world of difference to your gaming experience.
Performance of all cards here is excellent. At 1920x1080 resolution the trio of GeForce GTX 660 Ti are keeping up with the more expensive AMD HD 7950 and even the GTX 670.
Across the board we take a huge performance hit compared to the custom setting. If you have poor performance and are running Ultra settings we highly recommend disabling the Global Illumination and Advanced Lighting features.
First up on the hot seat we have the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti Twin Frozr. It took just about 7 minutes for the heat sink to reach its maximum temperature. That tells us that it is doing a great job of moving the heat off of the card! The maximum temperature reached was 72c. At 43% the fans were still extremely quiet. At idle the fans are spinning at just 31% and can't be heard over the PSU and CPU fans. When booting up you will hear them spin up for just a moment.
Next up was the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Super Clock. Remember that EVGA stuck with the reference designed cooler for the GeForce GTX 660 Ti entry. You can see that the maximum temperature reached is 75 degrees. It's also worth noting that it took just short of 3 minutes to reach its maximum. The fan was spinning at 49% and was louder than the CPU and PSU fan.
Finally we have the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti. Its maximum temperature was 70 degrees and it took over 6 minutes to get there. The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti was the quietest card in our GeForce GTX 660 Ti trio. The fans do not throttle up on bootup, so it is unlikely you will ever hear the fans on this video card.
The EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Super Clock is still a relatively quiet card, especially compared to an AMD HD 7970. In this case it is simply outmatched by the pair from ASUS and MSI which are outfitted with excellent cooling solutions. All of these cards will keep temperatures in check and allow you some overclocking headroom without the need for ear plugs.
For testing power consumption, we took our test system and plugged it into a Kill-A-Watt power meter. For idle numbers, we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 15 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers we measured the peak wattage used by the system while running the Dirt Showdown benchmark as this showed to be the most intense power user in our tests.
All of the cards in our test here today did well at idle speeds, within 3w of each other. It's amazing that such a powerful system consumes so little power when not being used. Isn't technology great?!
Under a load it's a completely different story. The MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti PE used the most power out of our trip of GeForce GTX 660 Ti's by a slim margin. It was followed closely by the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti TOP, with the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Super Clock being the most miserly of the group.
In our overclocking efforts we utilized MSI's Afterburner, EVGA's Precision, and ASUS's GPU Tweak for extracting the most out of each card. All of our clocks were reached on the default voltage provided by the manufacturer, with only the board power being adjusted to its maximum setting.
First up in our overclock results we have the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti. We were able to run stable at 1150MHz GPU core and 7008MHz on the memory. That is a full 130MHz over the default core speed and 1000MHz over the default memory speed! The Boost Clock also got a 130MHz jump to 1228MHz.
Next up is the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Super Clock. The core was stable running 1080MHz, 100MHz over the default speeds and the memory reached the same 7008MHz as the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti. Boost Clock is tied to the core clock and got the same 100MHz bump up to 1159MHz.
Finally we have the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti. By default it started out with the highest of the three GeForce GTX 660 Ti cards we have here, with 1059MHz on the core. After some tweaking we were able to get an additional 50MHz on the core and the same 1000MHz jump to 7008MHz on the memory. Boost clock went from 1137 to 1187MHz.
Overclock Testing Results
For our overclocked results we turn back to 3D Mark 11. With the clocks turned up we see the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti Twin Frozr pull away and post one of the highest GPU's scores we have seen for a single card. The extra cooling provided by the Twin Frozr cooler helps the GPU to stay in boost for longer amounts of time. The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti also pulls off some great numbers here, coming in just shy of 10k GPU score. The EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Super Clock is certainly not least as it is right on the heels of the ASUS card. While the numbers are great for bragging rights, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the 3 overclocked GeForce GTX 660 Ti cards in actual gameplay.
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
General Thoughts on the GeForce GTX 660 Ti:
The new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti video cards are built using the same GK104 GPU used in the GeForce GTX 690/680/670 products. The only difference is that the GeForce GTX 660 Ti has a few things disabled. For example it has eight fewer raster operation units (often called the ROP), a reduced L2 cache size of 384KB and a narrower memory bus width of just 192-bits. The cache is tied to the memory controller on the Kepler GPU architecture, so when you disable a memory controller, you disable its L2 cache and decrease the available bus. That is all the cutting and disabling that NVIDIA did though, so luckily the GeForce GTX 660 Ti packs the same number of CUDA Cores as the GeForce GTX 670 and even has the same clock speeds on the GPU and 2GB of GDDR5 memory. The good news is that power consumption is down thanks to the lower 150W TDP and just a 450 Watt power supply is needed to properly run the GeForce GTX 660 Ti. Some companies like ASUS suggest running a 550 Watt power supply for their overclocked cards, but that a bit excessive from our point of view.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti graphics card was designed to push the envelope when it comes to both performance and value. NVIDIA needed this card to land right in the middle of the sweet spot for gamers and enthusiasts. By utilizing yet another toned down version of the Kepler GK104 GPU they were able to do just that.
The lowest cost NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 on Newegg is the MSI N670GTX-PM2D2GD5/OC, which is $374 shipped after a $25 rebate. This GeForce GTX670 card is factory overclocked with a base clock of 965MHz and a boost clock of 1045MHz. Not a bad deal for a GeForce GTX 670, but the GeForce GTX660 Ti is a game changer. The NVIDIA SRP on the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is $300, so it is $74 less than the least costly GeForce GTX 670 video card. This makes the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti roughly 20% less and as you saw in the performance benchmarks it is a often beats the GeForce GTX 670 at a screen resolution of 1920x1080.
The direct competition for this card is the AMD Radeon HD 7950 and the lowest priced card on that side of the fence is the XFX Double D Radeon HD 7950, which is available for $319.99 with $7.87 shipping after a $30 rebate. This makes the AMD Radeon HD 7950 about $30 more than the base version of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti and as you saw it was able to hold it's own in the games, but was a tad slower in the synthetic benchmarks. AMD recently released a vBIOS update for the Radeon HD 7950 series that increases the cards GPU clock from 800MHz to 925MHz and includes boost clocks in hopes to foil NVIDIA's launch today. We tested with the AMD Radeon HD 7950 with the new and free vBIOS update and the results speak for themselves. AMD is not going to be releasing a Radeon HD 7950 GHz edition card nor will they be hosting the GHz BIOS themselves, but they released the file for sites to host.
Most gamers today game on a 1080P monitor, so this is the sweet spot and the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is now the card to have at that price.
Thoughts on the GeForce GTX 660 Ti AIB Cards:
Thanks to the support of ASUS, EVGA and MSI we were able to look at several NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti solutions. Each card was different, so it was good to get a feel for what was coming to the mainstream market. Since all the cards are using the same core and memory, the true difference between cards is in the clock speeds, GPU cooler, PCB design and components. At the end of the day when choosing what GeForce GTX 660 Ti video card to get it is personal opinion. All three of the cards today has excellent performance in today's games and represent the best value in gaming at this particular moment.
When it comes to cooling the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP Edition card performed the best at load and was the quietest of the group. That said, you need to keep in mind that all three cards were running different GPU clock speeds. It is hard to declare a winner when all the cards have dynamic clock speeds, but if you go by noise and temperature results the ASUS card leads the way. One other thing that is worth pointing out is that the ASUS and MSI cards use a GPU cooler that dump some heat back into the system, whereas the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Superclocked card exhausts it outside of the case.
Overclocking performance was impressive on all of the cards. The base clock speed of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti is 980MHz and we were able to get the base clock all the way up to around 1100MHz on all three cards with no voltage increase at all. The 2GB of GDDR5 memory was also very overclocking friendly as we were able to go from 6008MHz to 7008MHz on each card with no issues at all.
We have no issues recommended all three of these video cards as all of them are impressive and cost between $310 and $325. For a limited time, gamers who purchase a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti GPU from a participating retailer or e-tailer will receive a voucher for a free copy of Gearbox Software's Borderlands 2 to help sweeten the deal.
Legit Bottom Line: With a lower entry price and performance similar to much more expensive cards, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is set to shake up the graphics card market. Combined with ample overclocking headroom, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is absolutely the sweet spot for performance per dollar.