OC: Power, Temperature, & Noise

Before wrapping things up, we wanted to quickly take a look at the overclocking potential of the GTX 660. As the first GK106 product GTX 660 should give us some idea as to how capable GK106 is at overclocking, though like GK104 we’re eventually at the mercy of NVIDIA’s locked voltages and limited power target control.

In its rawest form, GTX 660 will have two things going against it for overclocking. First and foremost, as the highest clocked GK106 part it’s already starting out at a fairly high clockspeed – 980MHz for reference cards, and upwards of 1050MHz for factory overclocked cards – so there may not be a great deal of overclocking headroom left to exploit. Furthermore because NVIDIA is keeping the power consumption of the card low (it needs to stay under 150W max), the maximum power target is the lowest we’ve seen for any GTX 600 card yet: it’s a mere 110%. As a result even if we can hit a large GPU clock offset, there may not be enough power headroom available to let the GPU regularly reach those speeds.

Memory overclocking on the other hand looks much better. With the same memory controllers and the same spec’d RAM as on the other high-end GTX 600 cards, there’s no reason to believe that the GTX 660 shouldn’t be able to hit equally high memory clocks, which means 6.5GHz+ is a reasonable goal.

GeForce GTX 660 Overclocking
  Ref GTX 660 EVGA GTX 660 SC Zotac GTX 660 Gigabyte GTX 660 OC
Shipping Core Clock 980MHz 1046MHz 993MHz 1033MHz
Shipping Max Boost Clock 1084MHz 1123MHz 1110MHz 1123MHz
Shipping Memory Clock 6GHz 6GHz 6GHz 6GHz
Shipping Max Boost Voltage 1.175v 1.175v 1.162v 1.175v
Overclock Core Clock 1080MHz 1096MHz 1093MHz 1083MHz
Overclock Max Boost Clock 1185MHz 1174MHz 1215MHz 1174MHz
Overclock Memory Clock 6.7GHz 6.9GHz 6.7GHz 6.5GHz
Overclock Max Boost Voltage 1.175v 1.175v 1.162v 1.175v

Throwing in our factory overclocked cards from our companion roundup, our core overclocking experience was remarkably consistent. The difference in the max boost clock between the slowest and fastest card was a mere 41MHz, with the Zotac card being a clear outlier compared to the rest of our cards. This comes as no great surprise since all of these launch cards are using the NVIDIA reference PCB, so there’s little room at this moment for overclocking innovation.

Memory overclocking is as volatile as ever, with a 400MHz spread between our best and worst cards. Again with the use of the reference PCB (and the same Samsung RAM), memory overclocking is entirely the luck of the draw.

For the moment at least GTX 660 overclocking looks to be on a level playing field due to all partners using the same PCB. For overclockers the choice of a card will come down to pricing, what cooler they prefer, and any preference in vendor.

The end result of all of this is that at best we’re seeing 100MHz overclocks (going by the max boost clock), which represents roughly a 10% overclock. Coupling this with a good memory overclock and the 10% increase in the power target will result in around a 10% increase in performance, which isn’t shabby but also is the same kind of shallow overclocking potential that we’ve seen on cards like the GTX 670 and GTX 660 Ti. All told the GTX 660 isn’t a poor overclocker – 10% more performance for free is nothing to sneeze at – but it’s also not going to enamor itself with hardware overclockers who like to chase 20% or more.

Moving on to our performance charts, we’re going to once again start with power, temperature, and noise, before moving on to gaming performance. Due to popular demand we’ll also be including overclocking results with just a 110% power target so that you can see the impact of adjusting the power target separately from the clock offsets.

With a 110% power target we should be seeing an 11W-14W increase in power consumption, which is indeed roughly what we’re seeing at the wall after accounting for PSU inefficiencies. In Metro this is just enough of a difference to erase most of the GTX 660’s power consumption advantage over the GTX 660 Ti, though the GTX 660 still draws marginally less power than the stock 7870. Meanwhile under OCCT the GTX 660 now draws more power than the 7870, but still is still drawing over 20W less than the stock GTX 660 Ti.

Our increased power consumption pushes temperatures up by another 2-3C. This is nothing a blower can’t handle, let alone an open-air cooler.

Interestingly enough, despite the increase in power consumption and temperatures, overclocking has almost no impact on noise. In the worst case scenario our GTX 660’s increased its fan speed by all of 2%, which increases noise by less than 1dB. As a result the amount of noise generated by the overclocked GTX 660 is practically identical to that generated by the stock GTX 660, and still below the reference 7870.

Power, Temperature, & Noise OC: Gaming Performance
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  • rarson - Friday, September 14, 2012 - link

    chizow doesn't understand the concept of early adoption. He only mentioned rebates because that Nvidia rebate debacle has been beaten over his head time and time again.
  • chizow - Friday, September 14, 2012 - link

    Ah just a matter of time before the only idiot on the internet willing to defend AMD's laughable 28nm launch prices arrives to defend their honor.

    How do you feel now about those $550, $450, and $350 pricepoints you so vigorously defended when the 7970/7950/7870 launched?

    And yes its important to mention the rebates because revisionists like yourself are so quick to forget the actual rebates, they only mention the price drops.

    So just as I asked then, where's AMD's rebates given the floor has completely dropped from under their entire pricing structure just a few months after release, just as I predicted?
  • Galidou - Sunday, September 16, 2012 - link

    We did not vigorously defend the pricing scheme, we're just not seeing it as worse as you can see it, hence why we answer to you. Everytime I see people like you speak about AMD the way they do, I just see so much hate, when you start to say things like idiot and trying to say we're defending our ''honor'' you're past the point where your arguments are worth even a penny to me.

    If you have to disrespect people when speaking about video cards, there's one thing I have to say, you have a choosen side and it hinders your judgement. Stay respectful and I'll give you credit but now it's too late you just proved ourselves that you're not fit to judge well in this discussion.

    Anyone know that a judge couldn't work on an affair of murder if the murdered one is in his own family because it... would severely hinder his judgement by putting emotions in the way. Disrespect to me is the worse form of acting when arguing. You lost it all there to me, I'm just sad I did reply to your previous messages without reading this one first, I would of just realized that it's too late for you.

    AMD and Nvidia are both company trying to make money, trying to put one on a pedestal like if everything they do is related to god and thus is perfect... AMD's 4870 was a mistake, 7970 was a mistake, gtx 280 is related to god and it's AMD's pricing scheme that is at fault.

    Everything AMD does is wrong, everything Nvidia does wrong is AMD's fault.... Like my 6800 gt that never worked properly with that Nforce 3 chipset, AMD's fault, that driver release that fried tons of Nvidia's video cards, AMD's fault, GTX 670's performance so close to GTX 680's performance, AMD's fault, 660 ti 192 bit bus and 24 ROPs, AMD's fault(I heard they stole them during the night and are not willing to give em back unless Nvidia pays a heavy ransom), Why isn't Nvidia making more money than Intel and Microsoft, AMD's fault, my grandfather's cancer, AMD's fault, wow, life is a bag full of surprise. Chozow's lack of respect calling us stupid, AMD's fault, we lost our honor because of... AMD's fault.....
  • chizow - Sunday, September 16, 2012 - link

    Uh disrespect? You mean like you questioning very easily referenced facts like price and performance at every turn, or questioning how much I paid for a 2xGTX 670 or even that they existed with 680 PCB? Or questioning numbers only to be rebuked by a link from a widely respected website, only to question that website, then get provided with more benchmarks from one of the site you linked and question that one too?

    There comes a point you can't reason with people like you, so if you want to argue about emotional attachment leading to irrational behavior, you should really look in the mirror.

    But what should I care, as you said everyone must look themselves in the mirror and be at peace with their own decisions in life, I can for a fact say I'm good with my buying decision this round, do you think one can say the same about buying AMD 28nm parts under their ridiculous asking prices, especially given all of the recent price drops?

    Also, I have been critical of Nvidia as well with 28nm, so to say I think they can do no wrong, downright dishonest on your part. There's a reason I waited to buy my 670s instead of snatching them up at launch for $400, but then again, I've been at this long enough to make an informed decision.
  • Galidou - Sunday, September 16, 2012 - link

    ''Uh disrespect? You mean like you questioning very easily referenced facts like price and performance at every turn, or questioning how much I paid for a 2xGTX 670 or even that they existed with 680 PCB''

    Nope, I mean calling other idiots: ''Ah just a matter of time before the only idiot on the internet willing to defend AMD's laughable 28nm launch prices arrives to defend their honor.''

    End of the discussion, you're a disrespectful Nvidia fanboy, I doubted for the gtx 670 price you said because I was vigorously looking for a 670 but not a reference fan design, something with an aftermarket fan that will stay cool for a nice and quiet overclock.

    For what you call facts, life turn around perception and interpreted by the brain. Women tend to dislike when their boyfriend cheat on them while in some country it's normal to have many wifes, know what I mean? Perception is something personnal, something might be bad and abnormal and seem like a fact from someone's standpoint but for another human being, it might be just normal dependnig on their choosen side, past experiences and emotions. If someone totally beleives 2+2 makes 5 and no one can convince him of anything else, then to him it's the truth. If the only truth to you is your truth, you will disagree all of your life with other peoples because they have a different point of view.

    All I was discussing with you isn't that AMD is perfect and that their pricing is perfect, I was just defending my point of view, the way I saw things while saying ''TO ME IT SEEMS LOGICAL'' while all you had to say was ''REFERENCED FACTS, FACTS, FACTS, FACTS'' not caring about how I perceived things, I just hoped you could understand why I see things this way, I understand the way you see things because I can tell it seems logical to me but that isn't the way I see IT.
  • chizow - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    "End of the discussion, you're a disrespectful Nvidia fanboy."

    Please don't talk about respect when you can't even adhere to your own standards.

    If you claim "TO ME SEEMS LOGICAL" while questioning my conclusions but ignoring facts and historical data that are relevant to the industry in general and graphics cards in particular, that suggests to me that your thought processes are not logical at all, but born of ignorance or subnormal intelligence.

    After all, a simpleton can believe Unicorns and Fairies exist, but that does not make it so.

    You brought up the GTX 280 again, yet once again you can't seem to understand the very key differences with the GTX 280 vs. 7970 launch prices. I've already outlined them, do I need to do so again?

    Simple question, do you think Nvidia's pricing was worst at launch with the 280 than AMD's pricing with the 7970?
  • Galidou - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    ''You brought up the GTX 280 again, yet once again you can't seem to understand the very key differences with the GTX 280 vs. 7970 launch prices. I've already outlined them, do I need to do so again?''

    I brought that up?? You have to read back to realize you started it all again speaking of rebates and such which was the only reason why I answered to you to show that not everyone sees the way you do.

    Maybe we could just state that Nvidia made a mistake by pricing the gtx 680 at 500$ because it was stronger than a 600$ card and then they are the faulty one as you usually see things.

    ''I've already outlined them, do I need to do so again?''

    Well if you outlined them, if it was so different, why did you bring up the apst of the gtx 280 to compare to this different story in the first place?

    Calling you an Nvidia fanboy isn'T disrespectful to me like calling other idiots defending their honor. It means you have a choosen side, maybe it might seem like it's an attack but it'S not, sorry if the hat fits your head.
  • Galidou - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    Oh and I was wondering, for someone so informed about your purchases and everything, did you say you owned a gtx 280? For someone buying 330$ gtx 670 that's quite a fun ''fact'' considering you whined about the TOO LOW price of the radeon 4870, but no, you didn't get to buy one of those for 250$ on special, you got the gtx 280.... Fun stuff when the 4850/4870 were at the TOP of Performance/dollar charts, which was something we don't see often.....(fanboyism?)

    I'm an informed buyer which is why the only video cards I bought brand new at launch for me, my wife or friends are: Geforce ti 4200, radeon hd 9500 flashed to 9700 pro, 8800 gt, radeon 4850/4870, gtx 460 ti, radeon 6850/6870, gtx 660 ti and the radeon 7950 I super overclocked for my 3 monitors and skyrim :)

    And yes there are ATI cards included in my buying decision which doesn't make me a Fanboy and helps my OPINION being undistorted by emotions thus the reason I'm not calling others idiots when speaking in forums related to VIDEO CARDS.
  • Galidou - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    ''And yes there are ATI cards included in my buying decision''

    I meant Nvidia cards :)
  • chizow - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    Since you love to make this about me, when it really isn't....

    Yes I bought a GTX 280 at launch but I waited a few days and got lucky on a Bing cash back promotion on Ebay. 35% Bing Cash Back, quite a few others got it as well (feel free to google it), brought the total to $420ish. Then Nvidia issued their big rebate after the 4870 launch, so I had the option of $120 check or $150 EVGA bucks, I took the cash.

    So $300, minus the $220 I got for my 8800GTX on Ebay and I paid a whopping total of $80 out of pocket for the fastest single GPU. Early 2009 I got a 2nd 280 for $230 in a Dell deal after the economic crash that dropped prices on all GPUs....

    Obviously not everyone would have been so fortunate, but if I didn't get 280s, I might very well have gotten 260s or waited for 285s.

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