When we first reviewed the GTX 670, we deemed it the best value high-end graphics card money could buy. Likewise, last month we found that the GTX 660 Ti exceeded the GTX 670's price-to-performance ratio, making it the biggest bang for your buck.
Having tested the GTX 660, we're inclined to conclude that Nvidia has done it again -- sort of. While the new GK106-based card is a solid value at its price, AMD has already slashed prices where necessary, so its lineup isn't quite as displaced as with previous Kepler launches.
The GTX 660 provides a surprisingly high level of performance for its MSRP of $230. It's roughly 23% cheaper than last month's GTX 660 Ti while being only 14% slower when running games at 1920x1200. Additionally, the GTX 660 is about $30 (11%) cheaper than the HD 7870 and runs about 5% slower, giving the former a slight edge in bargain points.
Interestingly, however, the GTX 660 and HD 7850 share an identical price-to-performance ratio. The former is 10% more expensive but offers 10% more speed. Unfortunately, that means we have no clear advice if you're debating between the HD 7850 and GTX 660. Your decision will have to hinge on the games you want to play or brand-exclusive features.
It's a little easier to give advice when comparing Nvidia's cards. For instance, we can say that gamers aiming to play at 1680x1050 or less can safely opt for the GTX 660, while folks looking to play at 1080p-like resolutions should probably spend the extra $70 or so on the GTX 660 Ti. Additionally, the GTX 660 finally puts the 20-month-old GTX 560 Ti to rest, providing over 30% more performance for roughly the same price.
We're continuously impressed by how quickly AMD and Nvidia manage to up the ante and we look forward to covering the next battle in their ongoing rivalry. For now, we're happy to report that system builders finally have the option to purchase a sub-$250 Kepler card.
Pros: Nvidia keeps lowering the bar for better performance on a more affordable price range. Good value and performance. Cool running card.
Cons: AMD has immediate answers for the GTX 660. At the list price of $230, the GTX 660 doesn't disrupt the table but brings a valid mainstream alternative.