What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Temperatures & Acoustics / Power Consumption

Temperature Analysis


For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at its highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Windows 7 desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.



Since most GTX 660 Ti’s will use the same heatsink as the reference GTX 670, EVGA’s expanded version would have given us slightly skewed results in these tests. As such, we installed the reference GTX 670 cooler onto our GTX 660 Ti to ensure our results were in line with those of a standard card. The results are about what we have come to expect from current generation NVIDIA cards: relatively cool with ample room for the increase heat signature that comes with overclocking


Acoustical Testing


What you see below are the baseline idle dB(A) results attained for a relatively quiet open-case system (specs are in the Methodology section) sans GPU along with the attained results for each individual card in idle and load scenarios. The meter we use has been calibrated and is placed at seated ear-level exactly 12” away from the GPU’s fan. For the load scenarios, a loop of Unigine Heave 2.5 is used in order to generate a constant load on the GPU(s) over the course of 20 minutes.


The GTX 660 Ti is one of the quietest reference cards we have tested, even with the lower-quality heatsink installed. This bodes extremely well for any custom cooled products board partners may have waiting in the wings.


System Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.


Even though its TDP is listed at 150W, the GTX 660 Ti will typically draw about 134W at default speeds which is only a few watts less than the GTX 670’s 147W. This is understandable as the loss of a single memory controller, some cache and a few ROPs can’t be expected to have all that much impact upon efficiency. With that being said, NVIDIA’s newest card is still quite a bit less power hungry than AMD’s HD 7950 3GB.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results


In our somewhat limited experience, Kepler-based products typically exhibit acceptable overclocking headroom….but not this time. As they say: you win some and you lose some. In this case, we clearly lost out since we couldn’t get the Boost speed of our card above the 1028MHz mark with resulting in-game clocks hitting around 1115 MHz. Voltage may have helped but we unfortunately didn’t have the time to properly test stability at higher than reference values. Remember, overclocking is never a sure thing and this is proof of that and we’re sure others will achieve much higher results than these with a minimal amount of effort

The memory meanwhile clocked to acceptable levels and topped out at 6480MHz almost matching our reference GTX 670 result.


 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Conclusion

Conclusion


Editor's Note: After this review went live, we were told of a promotion whereby, for a limited time, all GTX 660 Ti cards available for purchase will come with a FREE copy of Borderlands 2.

NVIDIA’s GTX 660 Ti is supposed to follow in the footsteps of legendary cards like the GTX 460 and AMD’s HD 6870 by becoming this generation’s go-to GPU for gamers on a budget. With a $299 entry price and good performance at today’s most popular resolutions, that goal seems to have been achieved but success didn’t come easily this time around.

The GTX 680’s introduction and to a lesser extent the GTX 670 launch were relatively easy for NVIDIA since those cards were parachuted into a high end market that was weighted down by overly expensive products. However, this time AMD has a very, very strong lineup within spitting distance of the GTX 660 Ti’s price point. NVIDIA did an excellent job in safely navigating between the HD 7950 and HD 7870 without stepping on the GTX 670’s toes and this card’s $299 price does make it an excellent value. In reference form, it is also cool, quiet and very efficient when compared against what AMD has right now. These points are of particular importance since everyone is trying to lower electricity bills and diminish noise pollution; regardless of how much we spend on our gaming machines.


There’s no doubt that at a resolution of 1080P or 1920 x 1200, the GTX 660 Ti is certainly the way to go from a price, performance and power consumption standpoint, particularly against the current crop of HD 7950 and HD 7870 cards. Indeed, many of the GTX 660 Ti’s numbers put it right into the HD 7950’s performance bracket and for a sub-$325 card, that’s quite impressive.

In most situations users can expect framerates that are similar to those of a GTX 580, a card that was introduced some 20 months ago (has it really been that long!? -Ed.) for a whopping $499. Framerates also tend to come dangerously close to the GTX 670 when the GTX 660 Ti isn’t limited by its bandwidth or ROP processing capabilities. We seem to be finally seeing some progress after months of escalating GPU pricing and cards on both sides of the fence have already received price cuts in preparation for this launch. Gamers on anything but the highest end monitors have every reason to rejoice right now.

Unfortunately, due to the memory bandwidth discrepancy between this new NVIDIA card and its competitors, increasing the resolution or pumping up anti aliasing settings has –at times- a detrimental effect upon framerates. The situation degrades to such an extent that a 17% lead over AMD’s HD 7870 quickly shrinks to less than 10% at 2560x1600. Even minimum framerates tend to suffer in some situations and the GTX 660 Ti goes weak in the knees within memory-heavy applications like Metro 2033 and Skyrim. Ironically, these are the same situations where AMD cards have the ability to shine. Once TXAA becomes more prevalent, we hope the GTX 660 Ti’s bandwidth limitations will become inconsequential but at this point, widespread adoption of this advanced anti aliasing method is a long way off.

NVIDIA’s GTX 660 Ti may never have been intended to compete at extreme settings but AMD’s HD 7950 makes a strong case for itself should a 1080P user decide to upgrade towards an expensive (or inexpensive for that matter) high resolution monitor. The GTX 660 Ti is still a perfectly capable solution at every resolution and it consumes much less power than any of the alternatives, but many will understandably gravitate towards options that offer additional protection against rapidly changing conditions within the gaming market.

If you think you are going to stay at 1920x1200 or 1920x1080, then the extra money for the current crop of HD 7950 cards will likely go to waste and a GTX 660 Ti should be your weapon of choice. But if there are any plans to go above those resolutions in the not too distant future, take a long, hard look at what AMD has to offer. Plus, if AMD’s claims of a so-called Boost State Edition becoming available at no extra cost come to fruition, we could see even more pressure placed upon NVIDIA’s new beachhead. We’ll have a full in-depth review of that card after it becomes available to purchase so we can accurately judge its price and availability.

On a side note, we should mention that our overclocking adventures on a reference GTX 660 Ti really didn’t get all that far. The end result was actually quite disappointing. Hopefully this was a result of a single oddball sample rather than an architectural limitation and we’ll study this further within our upcoming 5-way roundup.

Due to its relatively narrow performance envelope, we really don’t see the GTX 660 Ti forcing AMD’s hand on the HD 7950 (now $330) or HD 7870 (now $260) pricing front like the GTX 670 and GTX 680 did with higher end SKUs. Naturally, some cuts here and there could be warranted, especially when you consider the GTX 660 Ti’s impressive showing at standard resolutions but we don't expect much movement for now. Nonetheless, there is no denying NVIDIA’s latest entry into a highly competitive market has already driven costs down, making great performance all that much more affordable for gamers.

The GTX 660 Ti may be uniquely focused upon one segment of the current market but it competes directly against a larger, more power hungry card and more often than not, it comes out the winner. For now, this is one of the best value-forward propositions out there, regardless of your monitor's resolution.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Twitter

Top