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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Kepler Graphics Card Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Overclocking and Conclusions

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!!

Overclocking

I am going to save the majority of my overclocking time with the GeForce GTX 660 Ti for when we do our retail card roundup, but for now I wanted to present the most basic and preliminary overclocking I have done thus far.  Overall, I would say I was just as impressed with the ease and immediate scalability of this version of GK104.

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I was able to push the card up to a base clock rate of 1088 MHz and a Boost clock of 1167 MHz - a pretty reasonable 18% clock speed increase.  Because the card we were using for testing (the Galaxy) was already set to a base clock of 1006 MHz (91 MHz over the reference) our offset was only able to hit 82 MHz, for a total offset of 173 MHz. 

More soon!

Performance

The GeForce GTX 660 Ti card has some interesting performance characteristics.  I will be the first to admit that when the rumored specs (correctly) were leaked, I was certain that NVIDIA was going to be cutting into the realm of the GTX 670 for performance.  As it turns out, in most of our games, the performance gap between the 256-bit and the 192-bit memory bus was not only noticeable but notable.  In Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Batman and Metro the difference was 15 or more.  In DiRT 3 it was only 5-8% while in Deus Ex it was negligible thanks to a less texture-intense engine.  While for my dollar the $100 difference of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti and the GTX 670 is a lot, for many users that 15% performance delta will mean the world. 

Compared to the AMD cards, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti did pretty well.  In all games but one (Metro 2033) the $299 GK104 was faster than the Radeon HD 7870 that is currently selling for around $279.  In many cases the performance delta was significant in favor of NVIDIA leaving no doubt in mind which card is the better of the two.  The newly updated Radeon HD 7950 3GB (with Boost) is a bit more of a battle though with the GeForce GTX 660 Ti usually having the edge at lower resolutions like 1680x1050 and 1920x1080 with the 660 Ti falling behind at 2560x1600 and 5760x1080.  Overall I would call the battle between the GeForce GTX 660 Ti and the Radeon HD 7950 3GB a tie.

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If you are gaming at 1080p or below then the GeForce GTX 660 Ti makes a lot more sense - better performance AND a better price.  The NVIDIA option is going for $50 less than the AMD card today and with the Borderlands 2 pack in that KIND OF brings the price down to $249.  Kind of.  And once we get these overclocked retail cards full tested we'll see if anything changes - a 1019 or 1033 MHz base clock could make a world of difference.  (And note MSI and Galaxy are both telling me their overclocked models will sell for $309.)

Features

Great news for gamers - the features of the GTX 660 Ti are identical to those of the GTX 670, GTX 680 and GTX 690. 

From our GTX 680 overview:

There are a host of new features included on Kepler, starting with the addition of being able to support more than two displays. Yes, the AMD cards can still support 6 outputs if you can find one of those magic DP hubs but I think that the four NVIDIA has included are probably enough for most users. I really still wish that NVIDIA wasn't 2+ years behind on this — but we have it now so NVIDIA fans can stop being pestered by the AMD camp.

GPU Boost is the other big contributor to the success of Kepler as it enables the GPU to perform optimally for EACH game and allows the GPU clock to scale accordingly. In my testing the feature works — and works rather well — and yet still is flexible enough to allow gamers to overclock their new graphics cards with some easy to manipulate software. Yes, there are going to be some slight variances in performance for the same card in different environments as well as variances from card to card. However, until I am proven wrong I don't believe that it will be a dramatic difference that will plague consumers.

I am a big fan of both the new Adaptive VSync and Frame Rate Target options as well, because they give users the ability and added flexibility that we haven't seen before. The eternal debate of vsync on versus vsync off hasn't been put completely to rest, but with the capability to smoothly scale under 60 FPS now an option on the GTX 680/670 I can see enabling that more and more in my own gaming. Frame rate targeting allows gamers that are on older or less strenuous games to slow down the GPU and decrease power consumption rather than wasting both to unneeded frames.

Pricing and Availability

The GeForce GTX 660 Ti is set with an MSRP of $299 for the base SKUs and overclocked models will go up from there.  Let's take a look at the competition again:

Obviously the overclocked models will be slightly higher, but even at the performance and pricing we have described here, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti looks pretty good.  There IS a pretty sizeable performance gap between it and the GTX 670, but for that $100 price cut I think the 1080p gamer will have no complaints with the 660 Ti.  The HD 7950 3GB is $50 more and while it can put up a fight, it doesn't win everything, or even most things.  The HD 7870 is a non-discussion for me as it is only $30 cheaper and falls behind in just about everything.

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Plus you can get a copy of Borderlands 2 with the GeForce GTX 660 Ti.  Nice.

If you haven't checked it out yet, you should give the PCPartPicker.com website a try and maybe spec out a new system based around the GeForce GTX 660 Ti or your favorite GPU.  This DIY enthusiast site allows you to build a complete system, find the best prices at dozens of online vendors and share it with your friends in our forums or anywhere else.

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Final Thoughts

The GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB card from NVIDIA based on the GK104 Kepler chip continues the trend of dominating GPU releases from NVIDIA.  The card is able to not only wipe the floor with the HD 7870 for $30 more, it can hit above its class too competing with the Radeon HD 7950 3GB card, even with the new Boosted BIOS for $50 less.  Gamers that didn't want to spend $400 or $500 on a new graphics cards but fell in love with the performance and efficiency of the Kepler architecture will find a lot to like with the GeForce GTX 660 Ti and I imagine retailers will be shuffling through quite a few of them this week. 

We are going to give the GeForce GTX 660 Ti the PC Perspective Gold Award though I imagine some of these overclocked retail card will be seeing the coveted Editor's Choice...

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August 16, 2012 | 09:20 AM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla (not verified)

nvidia has a beast of a video card with 660ti compared to 7950 even with an updated bios.

February 20, 2013 | 02:47 AM - Posted by Nickolas (not verified)

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August 16, 2012 | 09:26 AM - Posted by Jesse (not verified)

All the retailers say there are non listed. I hope I don't miss the wave before they oos :/

August 16, 2012 | 10:36 AM - Posted by Mikesheadroom (not verified)

I am looking forward to the upcoming price drops from AMD. Isn't competition great!?

August 16, 2012 | 01:06 PM - Posted by mAxius

i cant wait till the fall/winter when amd releases the 8xxx series of cards then nv sits and waits for a year than updates its lineup

August 16, 2012 | 01:16 PM - Posted by APhamX

Low TDP, cuda cores, and the MSI Twin Frozr looks promising to overclock. I might just move on from my 6970 to this card. 1344 Cuda cores should help in AE rendering.

August 16, 2012 | 01:45 PM - Posted by Freshie

How much more performous would you get if you have a gtx 670 and want to run that with the 660ti as sli

August 16, 2012 | 01:57 PM - Posted by Terminashunator (not verified)

I doublt you can SLI a 660ti and a 670 together, and a 660ti is about 5-10% less powerful than a 670.

September 4, 2012 | 10:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

no you SLI a 660 ti and a 670 because are different cards you dick, you can only SLI the same card but they can be different makes. e.g MSI and EVGA, but they have to be the same GPU!

August 16, 2012 | 02:47 PM - Posted by brayan m (not verified)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkNgL9VpyfY&feature=g-all-u

August 29, 2012 | 01:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

For building an SLI-System you need to use SAME GPUs.
2x GTX 670 OR 2x GTX 660 Ti.
GTX 670 + 660 Ti is not able to run in SLI-Mode.

September 11, 2012 | 12:58 AM - Posted by YOYO (not verified)

660ti SLI is about a 20% performance increase from a single 680

May 21, 2013 | 04:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Gtx 660 ti sli is in some cases even more powerful than the gtx Titan

August 16, 2012 | 01:46 PM - Posted by simieon (not verified)

how does sli scale on this card? will it be worth it towards highly oc'ed 600$ cards?

August 16, 2012 | 01:49 PM - Posted by João (XxLeloxX) (not verified)

Hi, i play in a 25' Monitor, and i'm going to buy a 660Ti When the 660Ti goes "Cheap" here in Brazil ( A Lot Expensive here :\ ), but the question is i can Run the 660Ti i have risk of lose the 660ti With a 400w Power Supply ? with a core i3 2120 and 8 gb Kingston Memory ? Thank You. And Sorry for The bad english, i'm Training.

August 16, 2012 | 01:56 PM - Posted by Terminashunator (not verified)

What brand PSU is it? A seasonic, thermaltake, or corsair 400w PSU likely would be okay, but the 660ti like a 450+. Other than that, your next upgrade would likely be a Quad Core i5, but even then the difference would be marginal between an i3 and an i5.

August 16, 2012 | 02:12 PM - Posted by João (XxLeloxX) (not verified)

I Have a Corsair, but i was seeing that probably i will need to change my power suplly, i have Corsair 400CX, that only have a 6 pin connector.

August 16, 2012 | 02:08 PM - Posted by NakedFable

Will faster GPUs help productivity with Folding at Home?

August 29, 2012 | 01:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If you use the GPU-Client it will. The faster the card, the more points you'll get.
But in Folding@home the Radeons are much faster, then the GTXs.

June 15, 2013 | 01:57 AM - Posted by Louisa (not verified)

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August 16, 2012 | 02:08 PM - Posted by MFpterodactyl (not verified)

Question for Tom:
--------------------
Do you think the 660 has been nerfed enough so that overclocked versions won't exceed a more expensive 670? Because that was a real problem with the 670 vs 680!
--------------------

August 16, 2012 | 02:47 PM - Posted by Arb (not verified)

at lower rez like 1080 don't think would take much OC to get it to around 670 speed, but that disabled memory controller is a ~25% memory bandwidth hit which would be a pretty size-able OC to get that back. I would say it could get in 670 ball park. This card was aimed at single monitor people.

August 16, 2012 | 04:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

wish i haddent bought a hd 7850

September 11, 2012 | 12:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why the 660Ti is between the 7870 and 7850 check out a real review on TomsHardware.com

August 16, 2012 | 05:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Unless I missed it in my rather quick glance at this review (which has been discarded because of this fact), you should have included the 560 Ti. Did you just assume that no one was interested in the increase of power between the generation gap?

Should have used the 560 Ti, 570, and a 670 as a bench mark competitor - this review is useless with out it.

September 9, 2012 | 11:37 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

560ti is marginally faster than the 470.

August 16, 2012 | 07:57 PM - Posted by Angry

You missed it, because its quiet obvious with as close as the 660ti performs to the 670.

And that comparison probably in the works anyway....

August 16, 2012 | 08:15 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

what Catalyst version you used for the test?

August 17, 2012 | 10:29 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

12.6 for AMD, 305.37 for NVIDIA.  Article updated!

August 27, 2012 | 07:23 AM - Posted by TinkerToyTech

Can this one card be used to drive an HD TV, and 3 monitors in or out of eyefinity? I want to display a TV on on screen and have 3 monitor computing, not hardcore gaming but along those lines. I don't play many games, but I'm looking for a card that can do this. I currently run 3 heads off of a 6950/70 and run the TV off the z68 gigabyte iSSD mobo. THe current setup works, but I'm looking to upgrade...

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