The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Bethesda's epic sword & magic game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is our RPG of choice for benchmarking. It's altogether a good CPU benchmark thanks to its complex scripting and AI, but it also can end up pushing a large number of fairly complex models and effects at once, especially with the addition of the high resolution texture pack.

For every Portal 2 you have a Skyrim, it seems. At 1920 the GTX 660 Ti actually does well for itself here, besting the 7900 series, but we know from experience that this is a CPU limited resolution. Cranking things up to 2560 and Ultra quality sends the GTX 660 Ti through the floor in a very bad way, pushing it well below even the 7870, never mind the 7900 series.

Altogether the GTX 660 Ti achieves about 80% of the performance of the GTX 670, making this another game that is hurt badly by the loss of a ROP block and memory bandwidth. At the same time the GTX 670 is the first NVIDIA card fast enough to compete with the 7950, so the GTX 660 Ti came into this benchmark with unfavorable odds. 68fps is more than playable, but hardcore Skyrim players are going to want to stick to cards with more memory bandwidth. At best, the bright spot for NVIDIA is that the GTX 660 Ti is nearly 100% faster than the GTX 560 Ti, a remarkable improvement, but also one being fueled by the meager 1GB of VRAM the latter has.

As for our factory overclocked cards, this is another case of Zotac leading the pack. Its memory overclock is exactly what’s needed to counter the GTX 660 Ti’s lack of memory bandwidth, which helps it easily clear EVGA and Gigabyte’s cards.

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  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, August 25, 2012 - link

    The 660Ti has a bios SUPER roxxor the MSI version.. ROFL !! hahaha

    It seems that MSI has added some secret sauce, no other board partner has, to their card's BIOS. One indicator of this is that they raised the card's default power limit from 130 W to 175 W, which will certainly help in many situations.
    The card essentially uses the same power as other cards, but is faster - leading to improved performance per Watt.
    Overclocking works great as well and reaches the highest real-life performance, despite not reaching the lowest GPU clock. This is certainly an interesting development. We will, hopefully, see more board partners pick up this change.
    So this is the one you want now Galidou.
    " Pros: This thing is pretty amazing. Tried running Skyrim on Ultra, 2k textures, and 14 other visual mods. With this card, I ran it all with no lagg at all, with a temp under 67. Love it. "
  • Galidou - Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - link

    Gibgabyte did the same, the board power is up to 180 watts if you tweak it and still both overclocked(my wife's gigabyte 660 ti OC and my 7950 sapphire 7950 OC) the 7950 wins hands down at 3 monitor resolution.

    How can you still trying to explain things when the only side of the medal you can speak of is Nvidia. Sorry, I see the good of both while you can't say a good thing about AMD. Both of my computer uses intel overclocked sandy bridge/ivy bridge K cpus, I'm no AMD fan but I can recognize I did the right thing and I did my research and having BOTH freaking cards in HANDS and testing them side by side with my 3570k @ 4,6ghz.

    My 7950 wins @ 3 monitors in skyrim EASILY, you can't say anything to that because you ain't got both cards in hands. Geez, will you freaking understand some day. And no I ain't got any freaking problem with my drivers... And I paid the 7950 the same price than the gtx 660 ti. EXACT same price. 319$ before taxes.

    Geez it's complicated when arguing with you because you ain't open to any opinions/facts other than: AMD IS CRAP, NVIDIA WINS EVERYTHING, AMD IS CRAP, NVIDIA WINS EVERYTHING, HERE'S MY LINK TO A WEBSITE THAT SHOWS THE 660TI WINNING AGAINST A 7970 AT EVERYTHING EVEN 6 MONITORS LOOK LOOK LOOK.
  • TheJian - Friday, August 24, 2012 - link

    I was speaking to their finances. If you see in one of my other posts, I believed they deserved 20bil from Intel, but courts screwed them. That is part of what I meant. They deserved their profits and more. Tough to get profits when Intel is stealing them basically by blocking your products at every end.

    No comment was directed at "dumb" employees. I said it was hard to overcome, not easy. Also that they had the crown for 3 years and weren't allowed to get just desserts. I'm sorry you didn't get that from the posts. I like AMD. I just fear they're on their last financial leg. I've owned their stock 4 times over the last 10 years. There doesn't look like there will be a 5th is all I'm saying. I speak from a stock/company financial position sometimes since I've bought both and follow their income statements. I'm sure they're all great people that work there, no comment on them (besides management's mishandling of Dirk Meyer, ATI overpurchase).
  • felipetga - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    I have been holding to upgrade my GTX 460 256bits. I wonder if this card will be bottlenecked by my C2Q 9550 @ 3.6ghz.... Reply
  • dishayu - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    It won't. You need to SLI/CF 2 top end cards for the processor to be a bottleneck. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    Only on some games, but the majority aren't as CPU intensive as they are GPU intensive, so it would still be a nice upgrade for you. Reply
  • Jamahl - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    Do you realise that the majority of 660 Ti's being benchmarked at other techsites are overclocked vs the stock Radeons? Reply
  • Biorganic - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    Exactly this. Anyone who follows these respective cards, 7950:670, 7970:680 etc knows that the AMD alternatives have excellent overclocking potential. All these reviews are comparing high clocked GTX vs stock or very conservatively boosted AMD cards. I can get my 7950 to 1000 mHz on stock voltage. That will destroy this toy they call a TI. Sorry but the results seem a bit biased. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    "Sorry but the results seem a bit biased."

    Just so we're clear, are you talking about our article, or articles on other sites?

    if it's the former, in case you've missed it we are explicitly testing a reference clocked GTX 660 Ti in the form of Zotac's card at reference clocks (this is hardware identical to their official reference clocked model).
  • mwildtech - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    Biased?? This guy is an idiot. Anandtech is the least biased tech site on the interwebs. Ryan - awesome review! keep up the good work. Reply

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