NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Shootout - Clash of the Titans


Worth The Wait?

Worth The Wait?

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 660 Ti is an impressive contender, which packs great performance into an affordable package. At US$100 cheaper than the GTX 670, you aren't losing that much performance, and it has more than enough juice for most gaming needs. Of course, if you intend to run games in 3D or three-screen 3D Vision Surround you'll probably want to pay more and get the higher end card to ensure better processing throughput; in fact, you might even need two cards to satiate your performance needs.

Compared to AMD camp, the GTX 660 Ti has claimed a resounding victory over its rival, the Radeon HD 7870, and it actually surpasses the higher-end (and more expensive) Radeon HD 7950 on most tests. AMD will definitely have some re-thinking to do, and don't be surprised if there are further price cuts in store from the red camp.

 

To Upgrade or Not?

If you've currently got a GTX 560 Ti or better, honestly you probably don't need to upgrade; not because the GTX 660 Ti isn't a great card (it is), but because the GTX 560 Ti is still sufficient for most single-screen gaming needs, and with updated drivers, performs quite well. While the performance gain of the newcomer is quite significant, the actual tangible frame rate improvement is not so massive that it will let you start playing 3D games on multiple monitors. However, if you really need to get your hands on something new, the GTX 660 Ti is a great choice (the gains are actually bigger than going from a GTX 560 Ti to a GTX 580). Plus, if you consider that the GTX 660 Ti is actually faster than last year's king, the GTX 580, that says quite a lot of what today's performance mid-range graphics card can deliver.

If you're using anything older or less powerful than a GTX 560 Ti, upgrading to the GTX 660 Ti is a no brainer. At this pricepoint, there's simply nothing better. You're getting close to the performance of an enthusiast card at a reasonable price point.

 

The Custom-Edition Mexican Standoff

Our three-way shootout was very competitive, with none of our cards able to gain a significant lead on its opponents. Overall performance compared to the reference design was decent, but not amazing, which reinforces our belief that the GTX 660 Ti is already performing at close to its maximum output potential. Temperature and power consumption scores were also average for all three models (and perhaps a little disappointing). However such an outcome is only because the same GK104 chip found on the enthusiast cards, is also used on the GTX 660 Ti. This lead to naturally higher temperature and power consumption once you take into consideration the highly overclocked nature of the custom edition cards. As such, we can't really fault the partner vendors. Fortunately, all the three tested cards are rather quiet in operation.

ASUS was an overall decent performer, if slightly underwhelming considering its high default clock speed. It did have the highest (if only slightly) overclocked scores, and was also slightly cooler with the lowest power consumption, however it is also extremely expensive, at a jaw dropping S$599. That's S$130 more than Palit's model, for very little gain in performance. While this does include a three-year warranty, it's not worth the extra price. Realistically, you would be better off paying an extra S$20 and getting an ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II, which can be had for about S$620. If you are set on getting an ASUS GTX 660 Ti, we would recommend the far more affordable non-TOP ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti Direct CU II OC, priced at S$514, which is functionally identical, but with a lower default clock speed of 967MHz - you could then overclock it yourself to TOP speeds if you so desire. So basically, you're paying for the assurance of the TOP edition to work at those high clock speeds except that it didn't seem worthwhile on any account.

Gigabyte was our best performer in our game tests and was able to consistently post marginally higher scores, but it was also running a bit warmer than the other models, and had the highest power consumption. It also had the lowest overclocking potential, which seems to stem from the tweaked nature of the card to deliver higher boosted clock speeds at normal operation. Aesthetically, we felt that it doesn't look as good as ASUS or Palit's models, due to the lack of a good fan shroud, which makes it resemble an entry-level card. At $509, it sits in the middle of the pricing bracket of extreme custom edition cards and also comes with a three-year warranty.

Despite lower clock speeds, Palit was able to keep up with both ASUS and Gigabyte, and also posted a respectable overclock score. We liked the build, and both temperature and power consumption were reasonable. The blue LED lighting is also a nice extra, although your personal taste may vary. At S$469 it represents great value, and there's very little else out there around this price range. Do remember though that Palit cards only come with a two-year warranty period. It's only downside is its thicker cooler which requires you to have more clearance for better air flow as it sort of occupies up to 2.5 expansion card slots. If you're on an even tighter budget, 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.

** Updated as of 16/08/2012, 11pm **

ASUS has informed us of the revised SRP of S$549 and is no longer S$599. At this price point, it's still expensive, but it's no longer overly pricey. If only the TOP edition had more tangible benefits, it would have been easier to recommend, but unfortunately, our findings, don’t reflect that. Well, other than wanting to own a GTX 660 Ti card that has the most premium build, specs and price. Unfortunately, there are GTX 670 cards available within striking range of this card, even with the revised prices. Taking all factors into consideration, the card's corresponding breakdown ratings have been slightly revised.

Final Ratings