As the GTX 660 Ti is expected to be one of NVIDIA's most popular cards, almost all of its add-in partners will be producing their own custom versions. We've manged to get our hands on three of the earliest to launch custom models from ASUS, Gigabyte and Palit. Others like MSI, Galaxy and Zotac will follow suit and we'll bring you coverage of those in the near future.
** Updated as of 16/08/2012, 11pm ** - ASUS has informed us of the revised SRP of S$549 and is no longer S$599.
ASUS' GeForce GTX 660 Ti Direct CU II TOP has been given a very generous core overclock, raised from 915MHz all the way up to 1059MHz. Memory speeds, on the other hand, have been left at the default 6008MHz. Like most of ASUS' custom cards, it uses the popular dual-fan DirectCU II cooling system. This particular model utilizes three copper heatsink pipes in direct contact with the GPU, connected to an array of cooling fins, and ventilated by two fans.
ASUS actually makes three variants of the GTX 660 Ti Direct CU II. The TOP model we're reviewing retails for a hefty S$549. ASUS defends the premium pricing by telling us that the TOP is the highest factory overclocked GTX 660 Ti currently available.
For those looking for something a bit more affordable, a DirectCU II OC edition, which has a more moderate core overclock of 967MHz, but is otherwise identical, retails for S$519. All versions come with a 3-year replacement warranty period.
Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 660 Ti has been overclocked to 1033MHz on the core, with memory remaining at the default 6008MHz DDR.
Gigabyte's model features an almost 'open design', with a very minimal fan shroud. A good fan shroud is usually designed to improve air flow direction, however, it may not always be necessary and, in fact, combined with good chassis air flow, GPU temperatures may actually be lower without one. Additionally, Gigabyte's model compensates somewhat by having slightly larger fans than our other two custom models. We'll find out later in the review if this design helped it garner better operating temperatures.
Under the fans, two copper heatpipes are connected to two heatsinks, one directly over the GPU, and one elevated to the side. The heatsink directly over the GPU uses Gigabyte's Triangle Cool technology, which consists of a triangular internal structure, with the downward slopes designed to direct airflow from the fans towards the top and bottom of the video card for better heat dissipation.
This model will retail for S$509. Like ASUS, Gigabyte's model is issued with a 3-year warranty period.
Palit's GeForce GTX 660 Ti JetStream has the lowest core clock speed out of our three custom cards, but is still given a fairly significant overclock, up to 1006MHz. Palit's model is also the only card with overclocked memory speeds, up to 6108MHz DDR. Because of the higher memory clock speeds, compared to the other two cards, memory bandwidth is marginally better, at 146.6GB/s compared to 144.2 GB/s for ASUS and Gigabyte.
Palit's JetStream cooling system consists of three copper heatpipes connected to a single, large array of cooling fins, ventilated by dual fans. However, due to the cooler's thicker design, the card eats up a little more than two expansion card slots. In contrast, the other two cards only require two expansion card slots of space. This could mean if you prefer a to leave more room around your graphics card for better air flow, you'll need to give the Palit card a little more clearance than you would otherwise require.
This model retails for a very affordable S$469, however, do note that unlike ASUS and Gigabyte, the warranty period is only two years. The use of a reference PCB also means lower design costs than its competitors. Palit also has a standard edition of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti which retails for S$439 and uses a blower type cooler with reference clock speeds.