GeForce GTX 660 Ti Review: Nvidia's Trickle-Down Keplernomics

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larkspur

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[citation][nom]mohit9206[/nom]so i guess it comes down to the choice of games also right ? like some games prefer amd cards while some prefer nvidia..[/citation]
Comparing Max Payne between this review and the techpowerup review @1920x1080 x4 MSAA demonstrates that it all depends on what settings were dialed in for the tests. Like they said, settings that are hungry for memory bandwidth demonstrate the 660ti's only weakness. I think the 660ti is fantastic for most people's needs @1080p, it's great to see nvidia fill the gap in their lineup. But it's late to the party (again) and gets to bump elbows with the 7870 who's been partying for months already.
 

omgoblins

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Very decent review.. much better than the TRASH I read at tweaktown. At least you guys are using current games and reasonable settings (who doesn't play with AA on with these high end cards???), but I do have a little bit of information to point out.

First off, this is a high end 660-Ti model, I don't know what the "Power Edition" means, but I am assuming it is one of the best non-reference cards you can get aka the same as the MSI 560-Ti Hawk or the 670 Lightning Editions. I don't think you will see a 660-Ti Lightning, Power Edition is probably the top end. For only $10 more than reference, it's a steal. I think this is especially true since it is using the Twin Frozr IV cooling instead of the "MSI reference" cooling which seems to be Twin Frozr III nowadays. From Tweaktowns (terrible review) I can surmise this edition is slightly (1-3%) better than the reference 660-Ti in performance as there isn't much overclocking done, although the benches they used were crappy.

Secondly, I personally have the MSI R7950 Twin Frozr III, this is MSI's basic Twin Frozr III cooler, not the improved TFIV and it's not a Power Edition or Lightning Edition card. There is a small overclock of 880/1250 from the factory on this card. It retails for $350 with an everyday MIR of $20 making it $330. I got it on sale for $309 AR. This card isn't in the review, but the basic R7950 is (no Twin Frozr cooling) clocked at 800/1250, even the Ghz edition is only at 850/1250. With the TFIII in a mid tower case with no side fan! I easily and instantly overclocked my R7950 to 1100 core/1400 memory at STOCK voltage, max torture temps reaching 81-83C which is safe. That's almost a 40% overclock from the reference speeds used in this review and I've seen higher overclocks that I cannot confirm. So the difference in this review could and should be much higher if they included an OC of the 7950 as they did with the 660-Ti, even if they aren't direct competitors, the prices are so close it would be crazy not to upgrade to the 7950 if choosing AMD.

I was all for Nvidia in the 500 vs 6000 series, but AMD must have taken notice how bad they lost last generation, because there really is no comparison this generation. They may seem close or better at stock ratings, but the Nvidia cards are overclocked (having better stock speeds, but less overclocking headroom) and the AMD's were really underclocked-which is why the Ghz edition firmware is being released (having worst stock speeds, but much more overclocking headroom). When comparing the cards max performance to max performance I see AMD cards almost always winning, especially when you look at the price differences. I expect Nvidia to start cutting prices soon even with all the Kepler fanboyism as people start seeing the full picture.

I mean what serious gamer who's willing to spend $300 on a video card isn't going to overclock? it's getting tons more performance for FREE!
 
These results are skewed versus other websites. I don't know what happened, but other sites consistently have the GTX 660 Ti beating a 7950 at 1920 resolution.
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/56090-nvidia-geforce-gtx-660-ti-review-23.html
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_660_Ti_Power_Edition/28.html
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6159/the-geforce-gtx-660-ti-review/20

Quote:
"As it stands, AMD’s position correctly reflects their performance; the GTX 660 Ti is a solid and relatively consistent 10-15% faster than the 7870, while the 7950 is anywhere between a bit faster to a bit slower depending on what benchmarks you favor. Of course when talking about the 7950 the “anything but equal” maxim still applies here, if not more so than with the GTX 670. The GTX 660 Ti is anywhere 50% ahead of the 7950 and 25% behind it, and everywhere in between."
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6159/the-geforce-gtx-660-ti-review/21
 

cknobman

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WhereTF did you get 7950 GHz edition from? Its is not called a GHz edition, AMD is just simply replacing this new bios'd card in place of the old one with no name change.

Also its pathetic how so many of you freaking review sites take a launch card that is not spec and factory overclocked and put it up directly against stock clocked cards and just go on about your review like its an apples to apples comparison.

IDGAF if MSI sent you an overclocked card because you can either: downclock card to spec or compare it against other equivalently overclocked cards.
 

dudewitbow

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[citation][nom]Ironslice[/nom]That's funny, techpowerup's review places the 660 ti above 7950 performance: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews [...] on/28.html[/citation]

look at the 1920x1080 and 2560x1600 performance on the STOCK 660ti and STOCK 7950 cards

1920x1080
660ti: 94%
7950: 95%

2560x1600
660ti: 94%
7950: 101%

don't use the relative overall % because that includes 1680x1050 and 1280x800, which are odd resolutions to be using these cards at, especially the latter
 

azraa

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I've been the whole morning reading about the 660Ti, and from what I understand, its a GREAT product. Seriously, it seems nVidia is tripping itself, because they have just release a 670-like card for about 100USD less. That awesome for us, consumers, of course, and if you support the green side, this is the best choice performance/price wise.

Although, from benchmarks I saw, I am not really convinced on how well this does against AMDs cards.
This cards compete, performance wise, with a 7950 or a very OCd 7870. Check. So...

(From Newegg)
XFX HD7950, 370USD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150588
Sapphire HD7950, 370USD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102991

vs

MSi 660Ti, 310USD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127696

____

So yeah, you get about 50USD savings by picking nVidia, for the same performance. But there are differences and people should notice them. The 660Ti comes with just 2GB memory, and with 192bit interfaces. Whereas with the 50bucks more expensive you get 3GB and 384bit interface. Besides, the amd side cards have probably better overclocking headroom. May be worth paying 50USD for that, in my opinion. And I expect AMD to drop their prices on 7950 cards.

Cheers c:
 

markem

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Awesome review #DON

Other reviews have tested without 4xAA, and whats with the aftermarket overclocked cards in most of those reviews vs stock? had that been AMD, blood would have been already spilled (Just check all the bashing AMD got from a bios update).
 

vinhcit

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When the GTX 480 had the computing advantage compared to the HD 5870, people said these were gaming cards so computing wasn't necessary. Now that Nvidia has made streamlined efficient gaming cards that serve their purposes (gaming), probably the same people whine about the lack of computing. The VAST majority of you out there don't know/do anything regarding GPGPU anyhow. Be honest. (But of course, here comes "I use GPU computing" [therefore it's common use for other people blah blah blah].)
 

omgoblins

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[citation][nom]Wisecracker[/nom]Sorry, but best I can tell the HD7950 has quite a sweet spot at $330 or so. It looks like the HD7870 is going to settle $270-$280, and puts quite a squeeze on the 660tiNo. It does not. At TechPU, I see a Zoltac 660ti at 1033/1652 MHz (stock 915/1500MHz) against a HD7950 800/1250MHz ...when folks are hitting 1000/1400MHz routinely on HD7950s. TechPU is running OC'ed apples against stock-clock oranges -- same with Anand.Anand has a history of pulling this same *Factory OC'ed Vs. Stock Card* crap, too.Sorry. Toms hammered this one. I generally like TechPU, but they pulled an Anand on this review.[/citation]

Yeah, the 7950 seems to be MSRP $350 and I would recommend the MSI Twin Frozr R7950 which has a $20 MIR so $330 everyday. I caught it on sale for $309AR and at either price point it hammers the 660-Ti.

You are right about the overclocks, I instantly took mine to 1100 Core and 1400 Memory with no problems at stock temps on my first OC attempt. I have had it to the max settings of Afterburner too 1100/1525 Memory with no problems in a short stress test, I didn't feel I even needed to push it any further though, so who knows whats possible. Max temps I got were 83C which was up about 4C from the stock temps, not bad at all! All this in a mid tower. I have seen watercooled results into the 1300 core range and 1700 memory range, it's insane what potential was locked away by AMD. It really makes them look weaker than Nvidias factory overclocked options when they are actually stronger.
 

azraa

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My bad guys, I may have understated what I said in my previous comment... 7950s have the clear advantage in overclocking headroom. Just read a few reviews on the topic. 50USD difference between 1300Mhz+ clocks on a 7950? pfffsh I'll pick AMD anyday.
 

omgoblins

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[citation][nom]azraa[/nom]I've been the whole morning reading about the 660Ti, and from what I understand, its a GREAT product. Seriously, it seems nVidia is tripping itself, because they have just release a 670-like card for about 100USD less. That awesome for us, consumers, of course, and if you support the green side, this is the best choice performance/price wise.Although, from benchmarks I saw, I am not really convinced on how well this does against AMDs cards.This cards compete, performance wise, with a 7950 or a very OCd 7870. Check. So...(From Newegg)XFX HD7950, 370USD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814150588Sapphire HD7950, 370USD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814102991vsMSi 660Ti, 310USD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814127696____So yeah, you get about 50USD savings by picking nVidia, for the same performance. But there are differences and people should notice them. The 660Ti comes with just 2GB memory, and with 192bit interfaces. Whereas with the 50bucks more expensive you get 3GB and 384bit interface. Besides, the amd side cards have probably better overclocking headroom. May be worth paying 50USD for that, in my opinion. And I expect AMD to drop their prices on 7950 cards.Cheers c:[/citation]

Hey mate, you are absolutely right: The 660-Ti is a great alternative to a 670, but I would point you to a little different information about the 7950, it's new MSRP is actually $350 as of a few weeks ago. You can see such in the Sapphire card you linked as its showing $350. It's a good model of 7950 too, but you can arguably do better as the top 7950 model in my opinion is the MSI R7950 Twin Frozr:
Link from Newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127667 which is $349 with a $20 MIR for a total of $309. Also I see the XFX card you listed has similar card for the $349 price, but it's not a "black edition" whatever that implies. Talking about the card I linked though you get many benefits:
-Awesome cooler, the Twin Frozr is the best air cooler, in my opinion, whether its Nvidia or AMD I always see the Twin Frozr performing tops with any other coolers.
-The MSI card comes with a REFERENCE 7970 PCB! This includes the 6+8 power connectors, the extra cores and shaders DISABLED (unlikely they could be enabled as was the case with those 6950's but you never know I guess) and it will work great with any 7900 watercooling block.
-It also comes with a dirt showdown coupon, nothing great as mine came with the 3 game coupon (dirt showdown, deus ex HR, Nexuiz) but either could be sold for a small profit to lower the card cost further.

I also was instantly able to overclock this card to 1100 core and 1400 memory at stock voltages, completely stable. I also overclocked it to the max ranges MSI afterburner supports 1100/1525 but I figured I'd just stay at 1100/1400 as I see it mentioned a lot. Combine that with the much larger bus and 3gb ram. I'd say its a no brainer. Overclocked this card can compete and beat an overclocked 670.

With all that in mind I wouldn't say Nvidia is tripping itself, it pretty much shot itself in the foot! BUT it will still get a ton of people to buy it and think its the best because of the absolute dominance the 500 series cards had over the 6000 series, I think most people have it in their heads that Nvidia was therefore still is the top dawg. I had a 560-Ti and was so tempted to stick it out for 660-Ti, but I am glad I bit on the 7950, I even would now that I can see the differences.
 

omgoblins

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[citation][nom]azraa[/nom]My bad guys, I may have understated what I said in my previous comment... 7950s have the clear advantage in overclocking headroom. Just read a few reviews on the topic. 50USD difference between 1300Mhz+ clocks on a 7950? pfffsh I'll pick AMD anyday.[/citation]

Hehe, glad you saw the light ;) I posted a reply to you about the overclocking headroom, before I saw this comment, but I think the information relative to the particular card I talked about is relevent so I'm just gonna leave it for anyone who is looking for a good 7950.
 
[citation][nom]vinhcit[/nom]When the GTX 480 had the computing advantage compared to the HD 5870, people said these were gaming cards so computing wasn't necessary. Now that Nvidia has made streamlined efficient gaming cards that serve their purposes (gaming), probably the same people whine about the lack of computing. The VAST majority of you out there don't know/do anything regarding GPGPU anyhow. Be honest. (But of course, here comes "I use GPU computing" [therefore it's common use for other people blah blah blah].)[/citation]

Some games now use compute, so it matters much more now than it did several years ago. We also see more and more software using OpenCL and Direct, so it matters more outside of gaming for us consumers than it did several years ago as well.
 
[citation][nom]lpedraja2002[/nom]Whoa, these result are way different from Anandtech's website, who am I supposed to believe?[/citation]

I think that the main difference between Tom's and some other reviews is the CPU/memory. Nvidia's cards have exceptionally powerful GPUs, but low memory bandwidth, so they can have lower minimum frame rates than some of AMD's cards while having higher maximum frame rates. Tom's CPU probably can't keep up with the maximums as well as the other CPUs in the other reviews that are all clocked a little higher. i7-3930K or 3960X at 4.2GHz does not quite match the same models at 4.5GHz.

However, with overclocking considered, the 660 TI still won't come close no matter how good of a CPU you have because it's memory bandwidth bottle-neck is simply too huge. It's like Llano, it doesn't matter if you double the GPU's frequency (assuming that you manage to get it that high) because it still won't get more than a 20-30% performance increase if you don't increase the memory bandwidth substantially. Double the 660 TI's memory bandwidth and it would probably get a more than 50-75% performance boost in most situations, especially helping its minimum frame rates.
 

esrever

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These cards are decent but not something I would buy, I fear they won't stand the test of time as with low openCL and low memory bandwidth will start to show when next gen of games come out where even the consoles will have 256bit ddr5 as standard memory connection, so if you want to turn up setting like aa, you'd need a larger bandwidth.

OpenCL will be the future of computing as of now, I'd say they will become more and more relevant both in and outside of games. OpenCL is the only none cpu only video transcode that does not have serious quality loss. As for nvidia's designs for these cards, I am not a fan of simply due to the short sighted design choices they made.
 
[citation][nom]maxx_power[/nom]Time for the 660 non-Ti reviews, keeping fingers crossed.[/citation]

http://wccftech.com/nvidia-geforce-gtx-660-gtx-650-gts-650-specifications-launch-dates-confirmed/

If these are the actual specs for the rest of Nvidia's low/mid end Kepler based cards, then the GTX 660 and maybe even the GTX 650 (which, IMO, should be called the GTX 650 TI) will probably perform very close to the GTX 660 TI like the 670 compared to the 680. The GTS 650 definitely won't be much more than the GTX 550 TI and might be the least memory bandwidth limited Nvidia card. Four times fewer SMXs and only a two times slimmer GDDR5 memory interface compared to the GTX 680 might make a much more balanced card, even if it's only able to compete with the Radeon 7750 and 7770 rather than higher end models.
 

bustapr

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hey THG, would you mind including the Witcher 2 in more of your next reviews? Id be very interested in seeing how all these high end cards react to ubersampling and the buttrape requirements of the game.
 

freedom4556

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Hey Don, you edited your block diagram of GK108 incorrectly. You also lost a ROP partition and some L2 cache. See Anand's
 

jazn1337

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I'd like to see the analysis of the 3GB version of the GTX660 Ti. With 3Gb, even if it's a bit silly, the 192 bit memory bus isn't hampered by not being a power of 2.
 
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