NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Shootout - True Mid-range Kepler

By James Lu - 13 Sep 2012

3DMark 11 & Unigine 2.1 "Heaven" Results

3DMark 11 Results

3DMark 11 is a synthetic benchmark designed to test a GPU's performance at various aspects of DirectX 11 such as tessellation and DirectCompute.

The GTX 660 performed fairly well overall. While the difference between the 660 and 660 Ti was immediately obvious - with the 660 lagging behind by about 20% - the GTX 660 was still able to outperform its competitors from AMD. In fact, despite having to replace its direct competitor the Radeon HD 7850 with the higher end HD 7870, the GTX 660 still managed to beat the higher-end model, and actually was very competitive with the even higher HD 7950, which is the second highest card in AMD's Graphics Core Next lineup.

Compared to the older GTX 560 Ti, the GTX 660 showed a 38% increase in performance, and a massive 83% performance increase against the older GTX 460.

If we take a look at the 660's GPU Boost performance on 3DMark 11's Extreme setting, we can see that it achieved a peak core clock speed of 1084MHz , just over 100MHz higher than the default clock speed, which is in line with the performance boost we have come to expect from other Kepler reference cards showing that the GK106 core is indeed a full-featured Kepler GPU.

As for our custom cards, ASUS' higher core and memory clock speeds gave it an advantage, performing about 6% better than the reference design, while MSI performed about 4% better, and Gigabyte about 3% better. If we look at the GPU Boost speeds for each, we can see that MSI's slightly better performance is due to a higher GPU Boost, peaking at 1137MHz, 104MHz above its default speed, while Gigabyte peaked at 1124MHz, 91MHz above its default speed. ASUS recorded the same GPU Boost as Gigabyte, 91MHz higher than its default speed, which, when added to its higher default clock speed, gave it a peak core clock of 1163MHz. 

ASUS GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II TOP

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Windforce OC

MSI GeForce GTX 660 Twin Frozr III OC


Unigine 2.1 "Heaven" Results

On the synthetic Unigine 2.1 benchmark, the GTX 660 struggled slightly, and was outperformed by the AMD Radeon HD 7870 by between 6-20%. This wasn't entirely unexpected, due to the lower number of stream processing units (CUDA Cores) on the GTX 660 being insufficient at handling the amount of advanced ambient occlusion and tessellation occurring in this test.

Comparing across the custom cards, ASUS stayed in the lead, with MSI again performing slightly better then Gigabyte at no AA, while at 8x AA, both performed within 0.5% of each other.


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