New Kepler on the Block, meet the vanilla GTX 660

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 13, 2012 - 08:49 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, msi, kepler, gtx 660, gk106, geforce, evga

The non-Ti version of the GTX 660 has arrived on test benches and retailers, with even the heavily overclocked cards being available at $230, like EVGA's Superclocked model or MSI's OC'd card once you count the MIR.  That price places it right in between the HD 7850 and 7870, and ~$70 less than the GTX 660 Ti, while the performance is mostly comparable to a stock HD7870 though the OC versions can top the GTX660.

[H]ard|OCP received ASUS' version of the card, a DirectCU II based version with the distinctive heatpipes.  ASUS overclocked the card to a 1072MHz base clock and 1137MHz GPU Boost and [H] plans to see just how much further the frequencies can be pushed at a later date.  Their final word on this card for those looking to upgrade, for those of you with "a GTX 560 Ti, and even the GTX 570, the GTX 660 is an upgrade".

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"NVIDIA is launching the new GeForce GTX 660 GPU, codenamed GK106. We have a retail ASUS GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II custom video card fully evaluated against a plethora of competition at this price point. This brand new GPU aims for a price point just under the GTX 660 Ti but still promises to deliver exceptional 1080p gaming with AA."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

GK106 Completes the Circle

The release of the various Kepler-based graphics cards have been interesting to watch from the outside.  Though NVIDIA certainly spiced things up with the release of the GeForce GTX 680 2GB card back in March, and then with the dual-GPU GTX 690 4GB graphics card, for quite quite some time NVIDIA was content to leave the sub-$400 markets to AMD's Radeon HD 7000 cards.  And of course NVIDIA's own GTX 500-series.

But gamers and enthusiasts are fickle beings - knowing that the GTX 660 was always JUST around the corner, many of you were simply not willing to buy into the GTX 560s floating around Newegg and other online retailers.  AMD benefited greatly from this lack of competition and only recently has NVIDIA started to bring their latest generation of cards to the price points MOST gamers are truly interested in. 

Today we are going to take a look at the brand new GeForce GTX 660, a graphics cards with 2GB of frame buffer that will have a starting MSRP of $229.  Coming in $80 under the GTX 660 Ti card released just last month, does the more vanilla GTX 660 have what it takes to replace the success of the GTX 460?

The GK106 GPU and GeForce GTX 660 2GB

NVIDIA's GK104 GPU is used in the GeForce GTX 690, GTX 680, GTX 670 and even the GTX 660 Ti.  We saw the much smaller GK107 GPU with the GT 640 card, a release I was not impressed with at all.  With the GTX 660 Ti starting at $299 and the GT 640 at $120, there was a WIDE gap in NVIDIA's 600-series lineup that the GTX 660 addresses with an entirely new GPU, the GK106.

First, let's take a quick look at the reference card from NVIDIA for the GeForce GTX 660 2GB - it doesn't differ much from the reference cards for the GTX 660 Ti and even the GTX 670.

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The GeForce GTX 660 uses the same half-length PCB that we saw for the first time with the GTX 670 and this will allow retail partners a lot of flexibility with their card designs. 

Continue reading our review of the GeForce GTX 660 graphics card!

NVIDIA Launches GTX 650 for Budget Gamers

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 13, 2012 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 650, graphics cards, geforce

Ah, Kepler: the (originally intended as) midrange graphics card architecture that took the world by storm and allowed NVIDIA to take it from the dual-GPU GeForce GTX 690 all the way down to budget discrete HTPC cards. So far this year we have seen the company push Kepler to its limits by adding GPU boost and placing it in the GTX 690 and GTX 680. Those cards were great, but commanded a price premium that most gamers could not afford. Enter the GTX 670 and GTX 660 Ti earlier this year and Kepler started to become an attractive option for gamers wanting a high-end single GPU system without breaking the bank. Those cards, at $399 and $299 respectively were a step in the right direction to making the Kepler architecture available to everyone but were still a bit pricey if you were on a tighter budget for your gaming rig (or needed to factor in the Significant Other Approval Process™).

Well, Kepler has now been on the market for about six months, and I’m excited to (finally) announce that NVIDIA is launching its first Kepler-based budget gaming card! The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 brings Kepler down to the ever-attractive $109 price point and is even capable of playing new games at 1080p above 30FPS. Not bad for such a cheap card!

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With the GTX 650, you are making some sacrifices as far as hardware, but things are not all bad. The card features a mere 384 CUDA cores and 1GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit bus. This is a huge decrease in hardware compared to the GTX 660 Ti’s 1344 CUDA cores and 2GB memory on a 192-bit bus – but that card is also $200 more. And while the GTX 650 runs the memory at 5Gbps, NVIDIA was not shy about pumping up the GPU core clockspeed. No boost functionality was mentioned but the base clockspeed is a respectable 1058 MHz. Even better, the card only requires a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector and has a TDP of 64W (less than half of its higher-end GeForce brethren).

Specs Comparison

The following chart compares the specifications between the new Geforce GTX 650 through the GTX 670 graphics card. 

GTX 650 and GTX 660 Specifications.jpg

Click on the above chart for a larger image.

Gaming Potential?

The really important question is how well it handles games, and NVIDIA showed off several slides with claimed performance numbers. Taking these numbers with a grain of salt as they are coming from the same company that built the hardware, the GTX 650 looks like a capable GPU for the price. The company compared it to both its GTS 450 (Fermi) and AMD’s 7750 graphics card. Naturally, it was shown in a good light in both comparisons, but nothing egregious.

NVIDIA is claiming an 8X performance increase versus the old 9500 GT, and an approximate 20% speed increase versus the GTS 450. And improvements to the hardware itself has allowed NVIDIA to improve performance while requiring less power; the company claims the GTX 650 uses up to half the power of its Fermi predecessor.

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The comparison between the GTX 650 and AMD Radeon HD 7750 is harder to gauge, though the 7750 is priced competitively around the GTX 650’s $109 MSRP so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out. NVIDIA is claiming anywhere from 1.08 to 1.34 times the performance of the 7750 in a number of games, shown in the chart below.

GTX 650 vs HD 7750.jpg

If you have been eyeing a 7750, the GTX 650 looks like it might be the better option, assuming reviewers are able to replicate NVIDIA’s results.

FPS GTX 650.png

Keep in mind, these are NVIDIA's numbers and not from our reviews.

Unfortunately, NVIDIA did not benchmark the GTS 450 against the GTX 650 in the games. Rather, they compared it to the 9500 GT to show the upgrade potential for anyone still holding onto the older hardware (pushing the fact that you can run DirectX 11 at 1080p if you upgrade). Still, the results for the 650 are interesting by themselves. In MechWarrior Online, World of Warcraft, and Max Payne 3 the budget GPU managed at least 40 FPS at 1920x1080 resolution in DirectX 11 mode. Nothing groundbreaking, for sure, but fairly respectable for the price. Assuming it can pull at least a min of 30 FPS in other recent games, this will be a good option for DIY builders that want to get started with PC gaming on a budget.

All in all, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 looks to be a decent card and finally rounds out the Kepler architecture. At this price point, NVIDIA can finally give every gamer a Kepler option instead of continuing to rely on older cards to answer AMD at the lower price points. I’m interested to see how AMD answers this, and specifically if gamers will see more price cuts on the AMD side.

GTX 650 Specs.jpg

If you have not already, I strongly recommend you give our previous Kepler GPU reviews a read through for a look at what NVIDIA’s latest architecture is all about.

PC Perspective Kepler-based GTX Graphics Card Reviews:

Author:
Manufacturer: Various

Multiple Contenders - EVGA SC

One of the most anticipated graphics card releases of the year occurred this month in the form of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti from NVIDIA, and as you would expect we were there on the day one with an in-depth review of the card at reference speeds. 

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The GeForce GTX 660 Ti is based on GK104, and what you might find interesting is that it is nearly identical to the specifications of the GTX 670.  Both utilize 7 SMX units for a total of 1344 stream processors – or CUDA cores – and both run at a reference clock speed of 915 MHz base and 980 MHz Boost.  Both include 112 texture units though the GeForce GTX 660 Ti does see a drop in ROP count from 32 to 24. Also, L2 cache drops from 512KB to 384KB along with a memory bus width drop from 256-bit to 192-bit. 

We already spent quite a lot of time talking about the GTX 660 Ti compared to the other NVIDIA and AMD GPUs in the market in our review (linked above) as well as on our most recent episode of the PC Perspective Podcast.  Today's story is all about the retail cards we received from various vendors including EVGA, Galaxy, MSI and Zotac. We are going to show you each card's design, the higher clocked settings that were implemented, performance differences between them and finally the overclocking comparisons of all four.  

Continue reading our roundup of four NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti cards!!

Live Review Recap: GeForce GTX 660 Ti

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | August 17, 2012 - 12:45 AM |
Tagged: video, nvidia, live review, live, kepler, gtx 660 Ti, GK104

A PC Perspective Live Review Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live.  If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!

Today has been a busy day for the PC Perspective crew.  Not only have we published like 100 graphics card reviews in the last three days but we also held a live event at the offices to host NVIDIA's Tom Petersen to discuss and debate the release of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti.

If you need to catch up, you should check out our GeForce GTX 660 Ti review posted earlier today to learn all about this $299 GPU that offers very compelling performance that competes with the HD 7950 and leaves the HD 7870 a fairly distant second.  Based on the same GK104 chip as the GTX 680 and the GTX 670, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti should find a lot of new homes this week.

For this event we not only gave a short presentation with some demos and review discussion, we also featured questions from the hardware subreddit and gave away an EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti to a lucky viewer! 

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more events and contests and the best reviews anywhere on PC hardware!!

Meet the many varieties of GTX 660 Ti

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 16, 2012 - 07:58 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 660 Ti, GK104, galaxy

Launch day for the GTX 660 Ti is here and there are a long list of reviews to go through.  Not only have all of the major vendors released a card, they've also released overclocked and custom cooled cards which could make choosing the model you want difficult. [H]ard|OCP received a reference model from Galaxy, which is a perfect example of how the base 2GB version of the card will perform.  They also received an overclocked 3G model with custom cooling and a 10" board which is bigger than some other models.  Performance wise, the 2GB model is a perfect choice for anyone using a GTX 460 or equivalent and is looking for an upgrade.  The 3GB model is more interesting, often out performing an HD 7950 and doing so at a similar, if not lower, price. 

You can also read Ryan's take on the MSI version of the 660 Ti, with a round up scheduled to appear later this week.

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"NVIDIA is launching its third Kepler GPU for 2012, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti. We have a retail GTX 660 Ti video card on tap from GALAXY to evaluate along with reference clocked GTX 660 Ti. We've got a lot of comparisons that show how the GTX 660 Ti will upgrade you from not just one, but two GPU generations past."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Join PCPer and NVIDIA for a GeForce GTX 660 Ti Live Review!

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | August 16, 2012 - 03:06 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 660 Ti, kepler, GK104, live, live review

Hopefully by now you have read our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB graphics card that was just released.  I think you'll find the article interesting so be sure to give it a look to see how this $299 GPU competes!

However, we have another event to promote right now: NVIDIA's Tom Petersen will be joining me on PCPer Live! at 10am PT / 1pm ET to talk about the GeForce GTX 660 Ti and its performance, features, pricing and more! 

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Join us at http://pcper.com/live at 10am PT / 1pm ET!!

If you have questions for Tom or me, you can either leave them in the comments below or head over to this thread in the hardware subreddit to leave your thoughts.

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Oh...and we ARE going to be giving away at GeForce GTX 660 Ti on the live stream, so you'll want to make sure you are in attendance!!!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Another GK104 Option for $299

If you missed our live stream with PC Perspective's Ryan Shrout and NVIDIA's Tom Petersen discussing the new GeForce GTX 660 Ti you can find the replay at this link!!

While NVIDIA doesn't like us to use the codenames anymore, very few GPUs are as flexible and as stout as the GK104.  Originally released with the GTX 680 and then with the dual-GPU beast known as the GTX 690 and THEN with the more modestly priced GTX 670, this single chip has caused AMD quite a few headaches.  It appears things will only be worse with the release of the new GeForce GTX 660 Ti today, once again powered by GK104 and the Kepler architecture at the $299 price point.

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While many PC gamers lament about the lack of games that really push hardware today, NVIDIA has been promoting the GTX 660 Ti as the upgrade option of choice for gamers on a 2 -4 year cycle.  Back in 2008 the GTX 260 was the mid-range enthusiast option while in 2010 it was the GTX 470 based on Fermi.  NVIDIA claims GTX 260 users will see more than 3x the performance increase with the 660 Ti all while generating those pixels more efficiently. 

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I mentioned that the GeForce GTX 660 Ti was based on GK104 and what you mind find interesting is that it is nearly identical to the specifications of the GTX 670.  Both utilize 7 SMXs for a total of 1344 stream processors or CUDA cores and both run at a reference clock speed of 915 MHz base and 980 MHz Boost.  Both include 112 texture units though the GeForce GTX 660 Ti does see a drop in ROP count from 32 to 24 and L2 cache drops from 512KB to 384KB.  Why?

Continue reading our review of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Graphics Card!!

NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti Cards For Sale at CompUSA

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 15, 2012 - 05:35 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 660ti, gpu boost, gpu

Gamers have been eagerly awaiting the release of the midrange NVIDIA graphics card thanks to some rather enticing rumors and leaks. Due to launch sometime soon, the GTX 660 Ti is packing some quality hardware and may be the next 8800GT as far as popularity levels with gamers craving the best price/performance. However, that is dependent on pricing–which has been up in the air for a while. Rumored prices have included an MSRP of $349 and retail pre-orders for $299 and just under $400 (and guesses everywhere in between).

US-based computer retailer CompUSA has provided us with further information that suggests the price will, in fact, be the ever-desired $299 price point rather than previous rumors that suggested it would be priced closer to the GTX 670. Gamers rejoice!

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Specifically, a reference version of the PNY-manufactured NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti recently appears on CompUSA’s website where customers could purchase it. This card is listed as being model number “VCGGTX660TXPB-C Bundle.” While it is unclear what the “-C” designator means, it is more proof that it is the same (or a very similar) model as the card leaked by MacMall (when it showed up for pre-order ahead of the release date). Speaking of bundles, the CompUSA card gets even better as it is the PNY GTX 660 Ti and a game coupon for Borderlands 2 for the $299 price–not bad at all.

While I have not personally ordered one (so I can’t confirm if CompUSA will actually sell it to me ahead of the official release or if it was just a mistake on its part for making the store page live early), you can try to get your hands on the 660 Ti now for $299 USD.

I’m extremely happy to see the $299 price, and I look forward to see the cards from other manufacturers. Custom and factory overclocked cards should also be interesting as far as pricing and where they fit compared to saving up a bit more money and simply going with a GTX 670. What do you think, will you be picking one of these graphics cards up?

 

Source: CompUSA
Author:
Manufacturer: Galaxy

Overclocked and 4GB Strong

Even though the Kepler GK104 GPU is now matured in the market, there is still a ton of life left in this not-so-small chip and Galaxy sent us a new graphics card to demonstrate just that.  The Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 GC 4GB card that we are reviewing today takes the GTX 670 GPU (originally released and reviewed on May 10th) and juices it up on two different fronts: clock rates and memory capacity.

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The Galaxy GTX 670 GC 4GB graphics card is based on GK104 as mentioned below and meets most of the same specifications as the reference GTX 670.  That includes 1344 CUDA cores or stream processors, 112 texture units and 32 ROP units along with a 256-bit GDDR5 memory bus. 

The GC title indicates that the Galaxy GTX 670 GC 4GB is overclocked as well - this card runs at 1006 MHz base clock, 1085 MHz Boost clock and 1500 MHz memory clock.  Compared to the defaults of 915 MHz, 980 MHz and 1500 MHz (respectively) this Galaxy model gets a 10% increase in clock speed though we'll see how much that translates into gaming performance as we go through our review.

Of course, also in the title of the review, the Galaxy GTX 670 GC includes 4GB of frame buffer, twice as much as the reference cards.  The goal is obviously to attract gamers with high resolution screens (2560x1600 or 2560x1440) as well as users interested in triple panel NVIDIA Surround gaming.  We test both of those resolutions in our game collection on the following pages to see just how that works out. 

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Continue reading our review of the Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 GC 4GB graphics card!