Best in Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti Review

By on August 16, 2012, 8:00 AM

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 680 may have swiped the performance crown away from AMD's Radeon HD 7970 earlier this year, but at $500, the initial Kepler offering was inaccessible to most system builders. That situation improved slightly in May with the GTX 670, a popular choice among enthusiasts for delivering an incredible value. In our testing, it provided GTX 680-like performance at a $100 discount.

Although nothing matched the GTX 670's price-to-performance ratio, the $400 entry fee remained a steep one. Gamers who wanted to spend less were left with the $230 HD 7850, the $300 HD 7870 or a card from Nvidia's last-gen lineup. Naturally, it would only be a matter of time before Nvidia tried to fill this gap with tons of hearsay about a GeForce GTX 660 Ti in the pipeline for a mid to late summer launch.

Well, we're here and the rumors proved true: Nvidia's new GeForce GTX 660 Ti has its crosshairs set on the HD 7870. Assuming it's priced competitively, the GTX 660 Ti seems like it could put a real hurting on AMD's offering, as it features the same DNA as existing Kepler products and boasts the same number of CUDA cores and texture units as the GTX 670.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 24

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noel24 said:

Nice one, but as I recenlty checked out on Steam statistics, average gamer buys a card from $99-199 range, if not playing on Intel HD. For all those that struggle with fallout from American Economic Crisis, nVidia prepared a beefy GT640. I've already put 660Ti on my Santa wish list, as soon as I get my job back, in the meantime, my whole rig is worth 300 bucks or less.

Sniped_Ash said:

Well I'm glad I didn't wait for this and got a 670 since it doesn't look like it would have the muscle to keep Skyrim at 60fps @ 1920x1200 with an i7-2600 under the hood and a bunch of mods installed (though to be fair, the 670 dips under that in the forests around Riften). Curse you, John Carmack, for getting me addicted to 60fps gaming!

Guest said:

It keeps pace with the 7950/7970 ($350+) in some cases. Seems like $300 is a fair price point.

Guest said:

The 7950 is currently cheaper and faster than the 660 TI. If Nvidia doesn't drop the price a bit, it's a no-brainer decision to go for the 7950. And then there is still the Radeon 7850 which covers the 200$ market without current gen competition. I don't see Nvidia putting AMD in a hard place at all.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I guess you're reading a different review than I am, Guest. This 660 Ti beat the Radeon 7950 in nearly every benchmark. And in some cases by 15% or more.

Great review, but again I'll put in a plug for adding a noise portion to your video card reviews. Fan noise is a BIG deal to me and I'd like to know if I'm buying a jet engine or not. The rest of it is excellent though - thanks!

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

Why did a lack of power efficiency drop the score down to a 90? If this particular product is catered towards gamers, I bet they have a PSU that can take upwards of a 590. I thoroughly enjoyed the review for sure. I'm sure Radeon will respond with a "Super Overclock 7870" because Nvidia embarrassed them again.

Guest said:

Efficiency isn't about how much it'll stress your PSU, it's about how much it lowers/raises your electric bill. For people who are conscious of this, they'd be no worse off just getting a GTX 670 for more performance and little increase in energy consumption.

Footlong Footlong said:

Tomshardware showed a difference in favor of HD 7950, different approaches I result in diferent results. GTX 660Ti was meant to be a HD 7870 killer, if it manages to scratch the HD 7950, well kudos to nVidia. I'm a HD 7950 owner myselft and the real strength within this card is it's overclock ability. Kepler architecture is overral better. Also there was an update in the HD 7950 BIOS, did you do it in this test?

ikesmasher said:

I just want to see a review of the GTX 650 when it comes out.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

@TomSEA, as we've stated in the past, we see little point in testing noise levels considering every single manufacturer will have a different cooling solution on top of the GPU.

It's been a while since we saw a dustbuster-type of fail on the heat/noise department, so as long as the manufacturer doesn't screw things up badly (e.g. fans spinning up and down), most cards today are decent on the amount of noise they generate.

Having that said, I will tell Steve to add further commentary on how Gigabyte's GTX 660 Ti behaved under heavy loads.

@Guest, scoring is tricky and is very much tied with the timing of the review and the product launch. In this case, a 90 and Outstanding award seem right considering the GTX 660 breaks the mold a little bit and will force the competition to adjust. However the moment AMD decides to tweak its pricing, they will have formidable counters for the GTX 660 Ti.

Speaking of responses... [link]

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

The 7950 is currently cheaper and faster than the 660 TI.

Really? Newegg pricing for HD 7950 shows $320-330 minimum (less than third of total SKU's available) after MIR, GTX 660 Ti pricing is $300 for seven of the eleven SKU's

If Nvidia doesn't drop the price a bit, it's a no-brainer decision to go for the 7950. And then there is still the Radeon 7850 which covers the 200$ market without current gen competition. I don't see Nvidia putting AMD in a hard place at all.

A case study in optimism.

From the release notes of GPU-Z 0.6.4: Added support for NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti, GTX 660, GTX 650...

Great review, but again I'll put in a plug for adding a noise portion to your video card reviews. Fan noise is a BIG deal to me and I'd like to know if I'm buying a jet engine or not.

This should ease your concerns

Blue Falcon said:

This is the only review I've read out of 10+ where GTX660 Ti beats HD 7970 GE in Dirt 3 and Skyrim at 2560x1600 4AA. Every review I've read shows 7970 GE beating a GTX680 in those games, nevermind the 660Ti. 660Ti looks like a good card overall but these numbers are strange for sure. The rest looks good.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

This is the only review I've read out of 10+ where GTX660Ti beats HD7970 GE in Dirt 3 and SKYRIM at 2560x1600 4AA. Every review I've read shows 7970 GE beating a GTX680 in those games, nevermind the 660Ti. 660Ti looks like a good card overall but these numbers are strange for sure. The rest looks good.

You are right and I have fixed the results. It seemed I had an issue with my copy of DiRT 3 which caused some performance issues for the AMD cards, not sure if it was a problem with the patch. Anyway having a fresh install on the test system the results are accurate now, I also updated them with the 12.8 drivers.

As for Skyrim those results appear accurate, I have been unable to fault them. Perhaps the difference is down to the section of the game that we test?

Another typo I made in the conclusion was that I said the GeForce GTX 660 Ti was slower than the Radeon HD 7950 overall when in fact it was 3% faster at 1920x1200. However with the new overclocked BIOS that AMD just released this is bound to change and I will include the updated BIOS in our next round of testing.

nickblame said:

Could you add Counter-Strike GO in the benchmarks please?

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

This is the only review I've read out of 10+ where GTX660 Ti beats HD 7970 GE in Dirt 3 and Skyrim at 2560x1600 4AA. Every review I've read shows 7970 GE beating a GTX680 in those games, nevermind the 660Ti. 660Ti looks like a good card overall but these numbers are strange for sure. The rest looks good.

You don't read many reviews then.

Even after AMD embarrassingly re-released the 7970 as the 'GHz version' it didn't do any better then trade blows.

Radeon's are good bang for the buck cards with inferior architecture, temps, power consumption and drivers. Thier driver package also offers less features.

Want to save money? Buy a Radeon.

Want the best gaming experience on the planet? Buy a GTX.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

And I cannot restate enough:

Best driver support? Nvidia.

There's another pro for ya.

darkzelda said:

There's something wrong with this review when you compare it to other site's.

ikesmasher said:

hm that is interesting, tomshardware says its slower then the 7870 (slightly) but here and anandtech say its 10% faster. I dont even know.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

The only way the 7870 might have a chance against the 660 Ti is at 2560x1600 but really who would by a mid-range card to play on a $1000+ monitor? In short whoever says the 7870 is faster must be smoking the good stuff.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

hm that is interesting, tomshardware says its slower then the 7870 (slightly) but here and anandtech say its 10% faster. I dont even know.

Any individual sites conclusions are going to depend on the benchmark suite employed, level of game I.Q. and resolution. The 660Ti's performance is affected by high levels of AA and image quality- increase both and the 7870 is definitely going to assert itself. The 660Ti's 192-bit bus width won't help it at higher screen resolutions either. To get an accurate -usable- picture you would need to factor in the likely system set up that you/likely target market would employ + benchmarking philosophy of the reviewers involved. I'd tend to note:

-Whether image quality trumps gameplay framerate- an example being DiRT Showdown on "Ultra" (also in line with Hexus's figures) which would suggest testing largely for academic interest since I doubt anyone would in actuality suffer through low framerates (30-45) rather than ease up on game image quality and get a more fluid gaming experience.

-Whether the game selection is relevant within any given benchmark suite ( How current, popularity, weighted towards a particular genre)

-The screen resolution commensurate with the price point of the card(s)

-Whether the testing encompasses factors that are relevant ( I.e. max power draw/heat/noise under OCCT/Furmark for example)

Another thing to note would be whether the testing is "stock vs stock" situation - the GTX 660Ti may have reference clocks (although not many vendors are adhering to it), but I don't think there is a reference design, so many of these tests are in effect OC vs stock- although I note that a few sites are using AMD's new HD 7950 bios, which just adds to the level of subjectivity- since anyone competant enough to flash a VGA BIOS is generally competant enough to manually overclock using less voltage- and thus, less noise, heat output, and power consumption.

I think that the days of a straight comparison presented in a single set of performance figures are pretty much numbered for graphics reviews. The adoption of boost clocks, power saving configurations, adaptive v-sync (AMD will surely follow suit here) are rapidly marginalizing the traditional FPS bar graphs in favour of "gameplay-ability" - I.e. fluidity of rendering (framerate latency) for example

Guest said:

Im sorry, But all ive seen so far, is a GPU from nvidia which sacrificed a part of it's processing (GP-GPU) to boost all other aspects of the card. While it does make the card good for one thing (Gaming), It makes me wonder what else it is good for. And really Nothing comes to mind, The 7970 just has much more to offer than the Nvidia counterpart. Unless of course your a gamer using moderate resolution and on a cheaper set-up, but if that were the case, why would you buy a top end card?

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Im sorry, But all ive seen so far, is a GPU from nvidia which sacrificed a part of it's processing (GP-GPU) to boost all other aspects of the card. While it does make the card good for one thing (Gaming), It makes me wonder what else it is good for. And really Nothing comes to mind, The 7970 just has much more to offer than the Nvidia counterpart. Unless of course your a gamer using moderate resolution and on a cheaper set-up, but if that were the case, why would you buy a top end card?

That might make a shred of sense if... A. The GTX 660 Ti was a top end card... B. The GTX 660 Ti was the same price as the 7970 (its 30% cheaper) and... C. You delete the first two sentences because I really don't understand the point they are trying to make.

Guest said:

(different guest)

the 7950 got a bios upgrade which basically adds 50mhz, and here the 7950 is 20 euro cheaper then the 660TI (lowest price available, index of all webshops selling in my region)

so he is indeed reading different reviews... more recent ones.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Im sorry, But all ive seen so far, is a GPU from nvidia which sacrificed a part of it's processing (GP-GPU) to boost all other aspects of the card.

If lack of realistic compute function renders a card good for nothing except gaming then AMD has had entire lineups (HD2000, HD3000, HD4000, HD5000, HD6000) that have fitted that description since the advent of GPGPU.

Strange that AMD suddenly produce a compute orientated architecture and it suddenly becomes the "must have" feature set. What happened to all those arguments for die size, performance-per-watt and performance-per-mm^2 ? Don't remember too many AMD fanboys bemoaning the fact that their cards lacked functional compute, or lacked the ability to add realistic water and bokeh filtering in JC2 or BF:BC2 for instance.

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