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NVIDIA GTX 660Ti Roundup with ASUS, Galaxy, MSI Review

ccokeman , BluePanda    -   August 16, 2012
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Testing:

Testing of this trio of GTX 660Ti cards will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing, with the exception of the 3DMark 11 testing, where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA Control Panel, if applicable. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The latest press release driver will be used in testing of these GTX 660Ti as well as the GTX 560Ti. THe AMD comparisons will be tested with the 12.6 Catalyst drivers and latest CAP file.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

  • ASUS GTX 660Ti DirectCU II TOP Core 1190MHz, Memory 1708MHz

Each of the manufacturers tested today has its own utility to overclock its own cards as well as other companies cards. Overclocking this ASUS GTX 660Ti was accomplished using ASUS' latest version of GPU Tweak (Version 2.2.0.1). When Kepler-based cards first launched there were concerns that overclocking would be limited due to how the onboard monitoring would downclock the card to keep within the power and thermal limits of the GPU. In fact there was just another wrinkle added to the process. Manage the thermals and only adjust voltage enough to reach the next clock speed plateau and all is good. If the power draw gets too high the symptoms will be that gaming performance or benchmarks will be drastically reduced from the expectations. To that end each of these cards overclocked differently.

Starting with the ASUS card I ran into some initial troubles that were traced to the incorrect BIOS on the card, a situation that was remedied quickly. The default voltage on this card is slightly higher due to the big factory overclock it has so the amount of voltage margin and overall clock speed margin was lower, but when looking at the screenshot below boost clocks were pegging the utilities monitoring window at 1333MHz with Heaven 3.0 running in windowed mode. By toying with the Power Target and adjusting it to the 114% limit with the minimum voltage adjusted to 1037mv and the fan speed to 100% I was able to push the boost clock speed up to 1190MHz and the memory up to 1708MHz (6830MHz effective). Any higher on the core voltage resulted in reduced performance while any higher on the clock speeds resulted in a driver crash. A 53MHz jump in boost clock does not seem like much but when put into context the boost clock is 210MHz higher than what comes on the reference card. That is significant. The memory clocked quite well on this sample with a boost of +202MHz or +816MHz effective over the baseline speeds.

ASUS did its homework on this card in regard to thermal performance. The stock numbers are good but only get better when the fans are cranked up. I saw load temps after 20 minutes of looping Unigine Heaven 3.0 maxed out of only 54 °C. The cool temperatures are a big plus, but the main thing that caught my attention was that there was no noise penalty. With the chassis buttoned up I could not hear it at 100% fan speed. Great job on this!

Now ASUS' utility has been revamped with features that include monitoring and tweaking, verclocking range enhancements to push the limits higher, a video recording option so that there is no need to spend money on FRAPS (that's money in your pocket if you use the feature), built in GPU-Z reporting, and a pair of widgets. Overall it was easy to use and navigate through while testing out the functionality.

 

  • MSI N660Ti Power Edition Core 1174MHz, Memory 1713MHz

MSI's N660Ti Power Edition did just that when it came to overclocking using all of the power options available to put together some decent clock speeds. Using MSI's own utility Afterburner I was able to boost up the clock GPU core clock to +154 on the core and +202 on the memory delivering increased performance. Throttling did not seem to be an issue with the N660Ti Power Edition. I used the Triple Overvoltage tools in Afterburner to increase the memory voltage and PLL voltage to gain stability with the higher clock speeds. While throttling was minimal under load, the dynamic boost clock speed stayed closer to programed differential showing that similar clock speeds will deliver similar performance most times when you look deep enough into the results and monitoring tools. The final results are a base clock increase of +154MHz on the Kepler core and a +202MHz jump on the memory. Using Afterburner is fairly straightforward as most will have already found out. A new twist comes into play with the addition of the Predator software that allows the user to record gaming video without having to purchase another software tool that you can get for free.

 

  • Galaxy GTX 660Ti Core 1180MHz, Memory 1663MHz

Overclocking the Galaxy GTX 660Ti was probably one of the easier overclock jobs I’ve had for a video card in a while. Though I honestly have dealt with a lot more AMD cards than NVIDIA cards in the past year or so perhaps this may be an explanation for the newfound ease. Galaxy made it super easy with the new Xtreme Tuner Plus, which is also being released with the GTX 660TI. It opens up to show your current temperature, fan speed, and power target on the card. It also reminds you of the number of CUDA cores, memory size, bus width, and memory type that is running on your card – I’m assuming to make it easy to find this information on a variety of cards as it isn’t just for the 660Ti alone.

The core clock, memory clock, and shader clocks are available (shader clock N/A on this card), below that are the base clock, boost clock, as well as the current running speeds. There is also an actively updating display to show GPU load as a percentage as well as MCU and VPU. The monitoring tab opens up an almost MSI Afterburner type window showing live feeds to your GPU clock, memory clock, temp, and fan speed so you can see if perhaps you are pushing too hard. The right overclock tab pops out a window with sliders to manage your OC. You can control the GPU Clock Offset, Memory Clock Offset, GPU Voltage, GPU voltage, Power Target, and Frame Rate Target with the GTX 660Ti; the tool allows for a Memory Voltage control if the card supports it. You can even save different profiles as you work to find stability. Playing with the GTX 660Ti from Galaxy I found +100 on the GPU Clock and +320 on the Memory to be stable with an effective 1250/1663 OC with 1175mV. Lucky for me all the crashes I did find getting to stability successfully recovered with the new 305.37 driver – so not too painful and a nice OC as well.

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consists of looping Unigine 3.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds fail when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment fails, then the clock speeds are adjusted and the test is rerun until each card passes the testing.

 

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro 2033
  2. Batman: Arkham City
  3. Battlefield 3
  4. Sid Meier's Civilization V
  5. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 3.0
  6. DiRT 3
  7. Mafia II
  8. 3DMark 11
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: MSI GTX 660Ti Power Edition
  3. Closer Look: ASUS GTX 660Ti Direct CUII TOP
  4. Closer Look: Galaxy GTX 660Ti GC
  5. Specifications & Features
  6. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  7. Testing: Metro 2033
  8. Testing: Batman Arkham City
  9. Testing: Battlefield 3
  10. Testing: Unigine Heaven Benchmark 3.0
  11. Testing: Sid Meier's Civilization V
  12. Testing: DiRT 3
  13. Testing: Mafia II
  14. Testing: 3DMark 11
  15. Testing: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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