NVIDIA GTX 660Ti Roundup with ASUS, Galaxy, MSI Reviewccokeman , BluePanda -
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Starting out I was impressed with what all three of these cards had to offer in respect to how they performed in the target 1920x1080 resolution. There was not a game in the test suite that could not be run with the eye candy turned up. Each card has a specific envelope that it will perform in based on the clock speeds it is programmed to run from the factory. The ASUS GTX 660Ti DirectCU II TOP has the highest base clock of any of the cards I tested today. As such it is going to outperform the field based on clock speed alone.
All things being equal it is going to come down to feature set and the build quality of the product along with the included bundle. What ASUS brings to the table with the GTX 660Ti DirectCU II TOP is a card that has all of these bases covered from its Digi+ VRM and Super Alloy Power power circuits to the massive cooling solution. A solution that is not only impressive for its cooling ability, but that it goes about it so damn quietly. When compared to the last generation GTX 560Ti DirectCU II it is a night/day type of difference in terms of noise levels. Everything on this card is done for stability, efficiency, and performance. The fans have dual seals to protect them from dust intrusion. The Digi+/SAP six phase power circuit takes care of the power delivery with increased current capacity running at cooler temperatures with less electronic noise. You get real tangible benefits long term.
Performance wise the GTX 660Ti DCU II is a great performance card that is able to play just about any game with the eye candy turned up at 1920x1080. From Metro 2033 to BF3 it delivers solid playable performance at stock speeds and even more so when overclocked. Packing two of them together should deliver significant increases in performance without having to shell out for the big cards. While the GTX 660Ti can run in surround it is not the ideal performing gaming solution, but is still capable of keeping some games well over the 30FPS threshold for playable frame rates. Running a second card in an SLI configuration just improves upon that performance. If you have to have NVIDIA 3DVision in your gaming environment it's best to stay away from surround with a single card.
Overclocking pays dividends on the Kepler GPU, as you just have to manage the clock speeds and power thresholds to gain the maximum amount of performance from the cards. I was able to pull a respectable boost clock of 1190MHz with a dynamic boost that went much higher into the 1300MHz+ range. This core was less voltage tolerant when it came to throttling down and seemed to hit that limit earlier. Even so the performance up swing was enough to spend the time playing the overclocking game. Cooling performance was excellent with the DirectCU II cooler keeping load temperature in check.
Pricing on the GTX 660Ti DirectCU II TOP is going to be slightly higher than the competition at $329 with the pricing cascading sown to $309 for reference versions. The card presents a great value when you look at the fact that a $20 bump in price buys a more efficient cooler running card. ASUS says that the reference GTX 660Ti will be available today with the standard DirectCU II and TOP version coming within the next ten or so days. When compared to a reference card you get so much more.
To make the cards even more appealing when you buy a GTX 660Ti from select retailers they will include a key for the game Borderlands 2, so you are both equipped with the hardware and software to enjoy this upcoming game. ASUS has built a great card that does not disappoint on any front. It has a strong feature set to go along with the good looks, All for the right price.
- Cooling solution
- Digi+ VRM Super Alloy Power
- NVIDIA Technologies
- Surround Ready
- GPU Tweak
Overall the Galaxy 660Ti was rather impressive. Usually with a release like this you always wonder exactly how it will compare to other manufacturer's cards, but luckily for us at OCC we’ve got three here on release day. The three honestly compare pretty well, considering the Galaxy starts out with the lowest core clocks it competes well in the stock clocked tests. Overclocking was much less a pain with the Xtreme Tuner Plus allowing for some pretty stellar performance once overclocked; however, I wasn’t able to push as hard as the ASUS and MSI cards, but it didn’t really seem to make that much a difference (a few FPS here and there). It is a good card overall; it competes fairly with the ASUS and MSI cards, but falls a little short for the same price – which pushes me away. This card definitely blows away the HD 7870 from AMD and puts up a fight with the HD 7950 as well, and for the near equivalent price (beyond the cheapest 7870s) the card has itself sold.
Also for those of you who are still waiting to pre-order Borderlands 2 or thought you’d wait to get it after it comes out – here’s another chance for you. If you order a GTX 660Ti from specific retailers (should be listed) you will also get a copy of BL2. So if you look at the cost of the game $60, the card is really only $250; so for the $309.99 you get a GTX 660 and BL2. That is for more than just GTX Galaxy cards as well; a noteworthy mention at best.
- Copy of Borderlands 2 with purchase (select retailers)
- Easy to OC – Xtreme Tuner Plus
- Slightly lower performance
- Should have performed better based on clock comparisons
Having the ability to look at several cards at one time puts some real perspective on what you are seeing and the performance delivered by the video cards. MSI has put together a solid offering as well that delivers excellent performance both in stock and overclocked trim. It uses MSI’s own Military Class III power delivery system and component selection to increase efficiencies, reduce temperatures, and increase stability long term. The enhanced 5+2 phase design uses solid aluminum caps, Super Ferrite chokes and Tantulum infused Hi-C Caps that meet MIL-STD 810G.
Cooling duties are handled by the latest revision of the Twin Frozr cooling solution the Twin Frozr IV. What's special about this revision is that a pair of Propeller blade 80mm fans deliver the airflow needs of the card but turn backwards upon start up to to help keep the heat sink free of dust. An innovation I see in use at work as a way to keep down maintenance costs long term. Cooling performance matches the gaming performance keeping temperatures below 70 °C even when overclocked and over volted. The only concern I have with the cooling solution is that it will keep a hard SLI brdge from connecting due to the height of the shroud.
Overclocked from the factory the N660Ti Power Edition is equipped with triple voltage controls allowing the end user to tweak the voltages to reach the highest clock speeds possible, but as seen overclocking using traditional methods can send performance a few steps backwards. These voltages are applied in MSI’s own Afterburner utility that is widely used and works with just about every card on the market. Like ASUS' GPU Tweak, MSI has added value to this application with its Predator software that does all the things FRAPS does yet for no cost to the end consumer. Make it work and make it work better. This card from MSI kept scaling when overclocked and was able to deliver good solid results.
Priced at $309, MSI’s custom cooled and overvolted GTX 660Ti presents value as the reference card that is clocked almost 100MHz lower costs just $10 bucks less, so the up charge for the best GTX 660Ti that MSI currently has to offer is less than a lunch out on the town. Like the rest of the GTX 660Ti crowd the Borderlands 2 game will ship when you purchase from selected retailers adding even more value. Cost competitively with its AMD competition, a good bundle, and overclocks with the best of them means you cannot go wrong with a Power Edition GTX 660Ti.
- Triple Overvoltage
- Good Looks
- Military Class III
- Shroud interference with Tri-SLI bridge