Nvidia must be pretty proud of itself right about now. The company is in a very good position as far as marketshare is concerned with all its product lines doing well, whether it is the Tegra SoCs or desktop graphics cards. The company hit another homerun with its new Kepler series of graphics cards that was launched earlier this year. So far we’ve seen two high-end cards and one entry level card, but nothing to show for the mainstream and mid-range. Today, the green team has made the GTX 660 Ti official and is positioned to replace the GTX 570. The naming convention may throw people off a bit as it sounds like a successor to the GTX 560 Ti, but this card is priced quite a bit higher.
Design and Build
ZOTAC sent us the AMP! Edition of the GTX 660 Ti which comes with higher clocks for the memory and core, out-of-the-box. Apart from the typical packaging which highlights the important features of the card, you also get Borderlands 2 along with it. Nvidia is bundling Borderlands 2 from its side for a limited period, but this is only in the US and Europe, so in India, it’s ZOTAC who’s taken the initiative. This is great value added right here. The card is actually deceptively small and is about the size of a GTX 560. This makes it super easy to install in most systems, so props to ZOTAC for the great design. It’s a dual-slot card with two DVI ports, HDMI and DisplayPort.
A handsome looking card
The GTX 660 Ti also debuts ZOTAC’s new cooling system called ‘Dual Silencer’. The setup consists of an aluminium heatsink with copper pipes to dissipate heat more effectively, which is then cooled by two fans. It’s an open cooler, in the sense, the hot air is not channeled outside the case but rather inside. This shouldn't be a problem considering the low TDP (150W) of the card and the smaller 22nm fabrication of Kepler.
Good set of connectors
You’ll need two 6-pin PCIE power connectors to power it up. In case you run short, you’ll find adapters bundled in the box along with a DVI-to-VGA adapter. Overall, ZOTAC has done a good job with the GTX 660 Ti and we especially like the tiny footprint it leaves inside your system. That and the fact you get a copy of Borderlands 2 when it launches makes it a very compelling package.
Nvidia’s aim for the GTX 660 Ti was to give gamers the power of its higher-end cards like the GTX 670 and GTX 680 but at a reduced price. In order to do this, Nvidia has made some cutbacks in the specifications, but thankfully, haven’t neutered it too much. In fact, the only thing that’s changed is a slightly narrower memory bus of 192-bit instead of 256-bit and fewer ROPs (24 instead of 32). The rest of the specifications are identical to the GTX 670, so you get 1344 CUDA cores running at 1033MHz and 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1652MHz (6608MHz effective speed). The core and memory clocks are overclocked since this is the AMP! Edition from the stock 915MHz for the core and 1508MHz for the memory. This is still a lot of horsepower and the reduced memory bandwidth shouldn’t really affect the performance by too much as long as you game at 1920 x 1080, i.e, on a single monitor. Nvidia recommends a 450W PSU from a good brand, so chances are you won’t have to upgrade your PSU for this card.
Better power efficiency than the higher-end cards
Since this GPU is based on the same GK104 die, you get all the new features that Kepler offers. We’ve covered this in our previous reviews, but in case you missed it, here they are once more. The new features include GPU Boost, Adaptive V-Sync and new Anti-Aliasing (AA) models. GPU Boost is similar to Turbo Boost, in the sense, the card will dynamically increase the clock speeds and voltages in a game, if and only if it does not go beyond the set TDP. For instance, if there is an intense battle scene in the game which demands more shader power, the built-in algorithms will automatically check the current power draw, temperature, voltage etc. of the card and accordingly increase only those parameters that can be pushed. This keeps changing as you play the game and is built into Kepler itself, so it kicks in by default. Adaptive V-Sync can now be found in the Nvidia Control Panel and what it does is, dynamically toggle the V-Sync state depending on the frame rate. For instance, if you’re getting more than 60fps, then V-Sync will be on to avoid screen tearing and if it dips below 60fps, then it switches it off to avoid stuttering. The two new AA modes (FXAA and TXAA) are said to offer similar quality levels as MSAA, but without the huge performance hit.
So far so good; the GTX 660 Ti seems to have all the ingredients for a powerful high-end card but with a lower TDP and smaller form factor, thanks to ZOTAC’s design.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40 GHz
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE P67A-UD3R
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (4GB x 2) @1600MHz
- Hard drive: Intel SSD 520 240GB (Boot Drive), WD Velociraptor 300GB (Secondary Drive)
- GPU: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 660 Ti
- PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000W
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit