Graphics Cards Guide

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Shootout - True Mid-range Kepler

Test Setup & Custom Card Comparison

Test Setup

As usual, the following are the specs of our trusty graphics card test bed system:

  • Intel Core i7-975 (3.33GHz)
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard
  • 3 x 1GB DDR3-1333 G.Skill memory in triple channel mode
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

The list of benchmarks used:

  • Futuremark 3DMark 11
  • Unigine v2.1 "Heaven"
  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
  • Far Cry 2
  • Crysis Warhead
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  • Crysis 2
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Dirt 3
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

The list of cards tested and drivers used:

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 2GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 306.23)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 305.37)
  • ASUS GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II TOP 2GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 306.23)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Windforce OC 2GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 306.23)
  • MSI GeForce GTX 660 Twin Frozr III OC 2GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 306.23)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB GDDR5 (AMD Catalyst 12.8)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7950 2GB GDDR5 (AMD Catalyst 12.2 Preview Version)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 2GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 280.26)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 305.37)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Ti 1GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 305.37)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 1GB (ForceWare 305.37)

* Update as of 14/09/12, 1.15am: We acknowledge the fact that the AMD results reported use a pretty old driver set and we'll be updating the results soon. Comparisons with the rest of the NVIDIA cards are still valid *

* Update as of 14/09/12, 7.30pm: We've revised the the AMD Catalyst driver version to 12.8 for the Radeon HD 7870, but overall performance doesn't differ much.

Test Setup Notes:

  • As was the case with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti, no reference model was available from NVIDIA for this shootout, as such we have downclocked one of our custom cards to reference spec, which should give you an idea for how it would perform if you were to get a reference model GeForce GTX 660 Ti graphics card.
     
  • While most of our benchmarks are run on DX11, we've thrown in a page of older DX10 compatible tests which include NVIDIA's 9800 GT, for the 53% of NVIDIA card users out there still using this card. This should give you an idea of how much of an upgrade you can expect going from the 9800 GT to the GTX 660. NVIDIA's 9800 GT was available in a number of different specs, with either 512MB or 1GB memory being the most significant difference. We have chosen the 1GB version as our tests are run on 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600 resolutions, where 512MB memory would be insufficient. The actual card in question is MSI's GeForce N9800GT-MD1G (an eco-oriented card), overclocked to reference specs of a standard GeForce 9800 GT.
     
  • While AMD's Radeon HD 7850 is the direct competitor for the GeForce GTX 660, unfortunately, it was not available for our shootout, and as such we have replaced it with the higher end Radeon HD 7870, a card that is priced US$50 more. However as you'll soon see in the following pages, the Radeon HD 7870 is the ideal direct competitor for the new GeForce GTX 660.

For summary, here's a comparison of the GTX 660 cards tested, showing core and memory clock speeds, as well as current pricing.

Graphics Card Core Clock Speed Memory Clock Speed Price
ASUS GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II TOP 2GB GDDR5 1072MHz 6108MHz DDR S$409
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Windforce 2GB GDDR5 1033MHz 6008MHz DDR S$345
MSI GeForce GTX 660 Twin Frozr III OC 2GB GDDR5 1033MHz 6008MHz DDR S$389
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 2GB GDDR5 980MHz 6008MHz DDR US$229