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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Kepler Graphics Card Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Retail Cards and the GPU Testbed - Sandy Bridge-E, X79, New Games

Retail Cards

As I mentioned earlier, we did receive a handful of GTX 660 Ti cards for testing and we'll be doing a roundup of them soon.  For our testing today though we took the MSI option and set it at reference speeds.  Let's see what the vendors provided for us - just to tease!

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Galaxy GTX 660 Ti GC - 1006 MHz Base / 1084 MHz Boost

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MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition - 1019 MHz Base / 1097 MHz Boost

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EVGA GTX 660 Ti Superclocked - 980 MHz Base / 1059 MHz Boost

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Zotac GTX 660 Ti AMP! Edition - 1033 MHz Base / 1111 MHz Boost

GPU Testbed

For the Radeon HD 7970 3GB review (and all those going forward) we decided it was high time we replaced the somewhat dated Nehalem-based infrastructure (even though honestly, it was fast enough) with something a bit more current.  Obviously that meant going with the new Intel Sandy Bridge-E processor and X79 motherboard - by combining support for 40 PCI Express lanes and 3-4 full size GPU slots it makes for the perfect GPU base.

From this point on, our reviews will based around the following system:

  • Intel Core i7-3960X CPU
  • ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard
  • Corsair DDR3-1600 4 x 4GB Vengeance memory
  • 600GB Western Digital VelociRaptor HDD
  • 1200 watt Corsair Professional Series power supply
  • Windows 7 SP1 x64

The ASUS P9X79 Pro

The Intel Core i7-3960X gives us the fastest consumer-level CPU on the market to help eliminate the possibility of any processor-based bottlenecks in our testing (whenever possible).  There are still going to be some games that could use more speed (Skyrim comes to mind) but for our purposes this is as good as you get without getting into any kind of overclocked settings.  The ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard has enough space for three dual-slot graphics cards when the time comes for testing 3-Way SLI and CrossFire and 8 DIMM slots should we want to go up from our current setup of 16GB of Corsair Vengeance memory.  

I chose to stick with the 600GB VelociRaptor hard drive rather than an SSD as our total installation size with Windows 7 SP1 x64 and 6+ games was already hitting the 115GB range.  Finally the 1200 watt power supply from Corsair offers up more than enough juice for three power hungry graphics cards while running quietly enough to not throw off our noise testing drastically.

Speaking of noise, we are re-introducing our sound level testing thanks to the Extech 407738 Sound Level Meter capable of monitor decibel ratings as low as 20db.  This allows me to accurately tell you the noise levels generated by the graphics cards that make in-house at PC Perspective.

Along with the new hardware configuration comes a host of new games.  For this review we will be using the following benchmarks and games for performance evaluation:

  • Battlefield 3
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • DiRT 3
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Metro 2033
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • 3DMark11
  • Unigine Heaven v2.5

This collection of games is both current and takes into account several different genres as well - first person role playing, third person action, racing, first person shooting, etc.  3DMark11 and Unigine Heaven give us a way to see how the cards stack up in a more synthetic environment while the real-world gameplay testing provided by the six games completes the performance picture.

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As I mentioned, we had to downclock one of our retail cards to get the reference speeds of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti and we did so using the EVGA PrecisionX software.  Setting a -105 MHz base clock rate on the MSI card result in a fairly close estimate.

For our review we are going to compare the new GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB to the GeForce GTX 670 2GB as well as the Radeon HD 7870 2GB and the HD 7950 3GB from AMD.  Yes, we are using one with the newly released BIOS...

AMD Catalyst 12.6 was used for our AMD cards, NVIDIA 305.37 was used for GeForce cards.

The comparisons you should be paying particular attention to:

  • GeForce GTX 660 Ti vs GeForce GTX 670 - How performance delta is there between these two GPUs that are SO similar in specs?
     
  • GeForce GTX 660 Ti vs HD 7870 2GB - While pitched as the competitor to the 660 Ti, it costs a bit less.  Can it consistently best this card from AMD?
     
  • GeForce GTX 660 Ti vs HD 7970 3GB - This will be the comparison most people will look to make - can the new 660 Ti compete with the more expensive HD 7950 even with the new, higher clock speeds?

Also keep an eye out for our SLI and CrossFire results to see how a pair of GeForce GTX 660 Ti cards stand up to a pair of Radeon HD 7950s!

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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