Last month, NVIDIA released the first of its long-awaited mid-range Kepler graphics cards, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti. While it scored well, it was priced slightly higher than anticipated (especially in this region) due to its use of the high-end GK104 GPU core (the same found in NVIDIA's GTX 670 and flagship GTX 680 models). From our testing, it turned out to have performance much more in common with a high-end part than a mid-range one that many were hoping it would be.
Today, NVIDIA releases its GeForce GTX 650 and the card many people have been waiting for - the GTX 660. This is a card that can be considered as NVIDIA's first true mid-range performance Kepler card, as it will be utilizing a brand new GPU core, designed especially for it: GK106.
While the GTX 660 is using a new core, it still retains full Kepler capabilities, which includes NVIDIA's GPU Boost, a technology that dynamically adjusts a GPU's clock speed according to its current operating environment. At a very affordable US$229, NVIDIA is pushing the GTX 660 as the Kepler card for everyone, citing its strong price/performance ratio and likening it to the NVIDIA 8800 GT/9800GT, one of the more popular cards from 2007/2008 era. According to data collected by NVIDIA on Steam, these old cards are still used by about 53% of NVIDIA users today.
If you're one of these gamers, the question you're probably asking is: is this the card you've been waiting for?
The GeForce GTX 660 utilizes 2.54 billion transistors packed into 960 CUDA cores, with a default clock speed of 980MHz. The memory subsystem consists of three 64-bit memory controllers (for a total memory bus width of 192 bits) with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, clocked at a default 6008MHz DDR and sustaining a bandwidth of 144.2GB/s. There are 80 Texture Mapping Units and 24 Raster Operator Units.
Compared to the GTX 660 Ti, you can see that while they share the same number designation, they're actually very different cards: the GTX 660 has 1 billion less transistors, 384 less CUDA Cores, and 32 less Texture Mapping Units. With these reductions, its power requirements are lower and only requires a single 6-pin Molex PCIe power connector for operation.
Display outputs on the GTX 660 follow the same pattern as all of NVIDIA's other Kepler cards, consisting of one DVI-I port, one DVI-D port, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort port. Together, they allow the card to support four monitors simultaneously with 3D Vision Surround support from just a single GPU (one of the promises of the Kepler based GPUs).
Against the red camp, pricing on the GTX 660 puts it squarely in competition with AMD's Radeon HD 7850, which has a revised RSP of US$239.
Here’s a quick look at how the GeForce GTX 660 compares against the rest of its competitors.
|Model||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti||AMD Radeon HD 7850||AMD Radeon HD 7870||AMD Radeon HD 7950||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti|
|Core Code||GK106||GK104||Pitcairn Pro||Pitcairn XT||Tahiti Pro||GF110||GF104|
|Transistor Count||2.54 Billion||3.54 Billion||2.8 Billion||2.8 Billion||4.3 Billion||3 Billion||1.95 Billion|
|Stream Processors||960 Stream processing units||1344 Stream processing units||1024 Stream processing units||1280 Stream processing units||1792 Stream processing units||512 Stream processing units||384 Stream processing units|
|Stream Processor Clock||980MHz||915MHz||860MHz||1000MHz||800MHz||1544MHz||1644MHz|
|Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units||80||112||64||80||112||64||64|
|Raster Operator units (ROP)||24||24||32||32||32||48||32|
|Memory Clock||6008MHz GDDR5||6008MHz GDDR5||4800MHz GDDR5||4800MHz GDDR5||5000MHz GDDR5||4000MHz GDDR5||4008MHz GDDR5|
|DDR Memory Bus||192-bit||192-bit||256-bit||256-bit||384-bit||384-bit||256-bit|
|PCI Express Interface||PCIe ver 3.0 x16||PCIe ver 3.0 x16||PCIe ver 3.0 x16||PCIe ver 3.0 x16||PCIe ver 3.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16|
|Molex Power Connectors||1 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||1 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin||2 x 6-pin|
|Multi GPU Technology||SLI||SLI||CrossFireX||CrossFireX||CrossFireX||SLI||SLI|
|DVI Output Support||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||1 x Dual-Link||1 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link|
|HDMI||1||1||1||1||1||1 (mini-HDMI)||1 (mini-HDMI)|
|DisplayPort||1 (version 1.2)||1 (version 1.2)||1 (version 1.2 HBR2)||1 (version 1.2 HBR2)||2 (version 1.2 HBR2)||None||None|
|HDCP Output Support||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Street Price||Launch Price: US$229||Launch Price: US$299||Current Price: US$239||Current Price: US$299||Current Price: US$349||Current Price: US$379||
Current Price: US$199