Meet The GeForce GTX 660

For virtual launches it’s often difficult for us to acquire reference clocked cards since NVIDIA doesn’t directly sample the press with reference cards, and today’s launch of the GeForce GTX 660 launch is one of those times. The problem stems from the fact that NVIDIA’s partners are hesitant to offer reference clocked cards to the press since they don’t want to lose to factory overclocked cards in benchmarks, which is an odd (but reasonable) concern.

For today’s launch we were able to get a reference clocked card, but in order to do so we had to agree not to show the card or name the partner who supplied the card. As it turns out this isn’t a big deal since the card we received is for all practical purposes identical to NVIDIA’s reference GTX 660, which NVIDIA has supplied pictures of. So let’s take a look at the “reference” GTX 660.

The reference GTX 660 is in many ways identical to the GTX 670, which comes as no great surprise given the similar size of their PCBs, which in turn allows NVIDIA to reuse the same cooler with little modification. Like the GTX 670, the reference GTX 660 is 9.5” long, with the PCB itself composing just 6.75” of that length while the blower and its housing composes the rest. The size of retail cards will vary between these two lengths as partners like EVGA will be implementing their own blowers similar to NVIDIA’s, while other partners like Zotac will be using open air coolers not much larger than the reference PCB itself.

Breaking open one of our factory overclocked GTX 660 (specifically, our EVGA 660 SC using the NV reference PCB), we can see that while the GTX 670 and GTX 660 are superficially similar on the outside, the PCB itself is quite different. The biggest change here is that while the 670 PCB made the unusual move of putting the VRM circuitry towards the front of the card, the GTX 660 PCB once more puts it on the far side. With the GTX 670 this was a design choice to get the GTX 670 PCB down to 6.75”, whereas with the GTX 660 it requires so little VRM circuitry in the first place that it’s no longer necessary to put that circuitry at the front of the card to find the necessary space.

Looking at the GK106 GPU itself, we can see that not only is the GPU smaller than GK104, but the entire GPU package itself has been reduced in size. Meanwhile, not that it has any functional difference, but GK106 is a bit more rectangular than GK104.

Moving on to the GTX 660’s RAM, we find something quite interesting. Up until now NVIDIA and their partners have regularly used Hynix 6GHz GDDR5 memory modules, with that specific RAM showing up on every GTX 680, GTX 670, and GTX 660 Ti we’ve tested. The GTX 660 meanwhile is the very first card we’ve seen that’s equipped with Samsung’s 6GHz GDDR5 memory modules, marking the first time we’ve seen non-Hynix memory on a GeForce GTX 600 card. Truth be told, though it has no technical implications we’ve seen so many Hynix equipped cards from both AMD and NVIDIA that it’s refreshing to see that there is in fact more than one GDDR5 supplier in the marketplace.

For the 2GB GTX 660, NVIDIA has outfit the card with 8 2Gb memory modules, 4 on the front and 4 on the rear. Oddly enough there aren’t any vacant RAM pads on the 2GB reference PCB, so it’s not entirely clear what partners are doing for their 3GB cards; presumably there’s a second reference PCB specifically built to house the 12 memory modules needed for 3GB cards.

Elsewhere we can find the GTX 660’s sole PCIe power socket on the rear of the card, responsible for supplying the other 75W the card needs. As for the front of the card, here we can find the card’s one SLI connector, which like previous generation mainstream video cards supports up to 2-way SLI.

Finally, looking at display connectivity we once more see the return of NVIDIA’s standard GTX 600 series display configuration. The reference GTX 660 is equipped with 1 DL-DVI-D port, 1 DL-DVI-I port, 1 full size HDMI 1.4 port, and 1 full size DisplayPort 1.2. Like GK104 and GK107, GK106 can drive up to 4 displays, meaning all 4 ports can be put into use simultaneously.

The GeForce GTX 660 Review Just What Is NVIDIA’s Competition & The Test
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  • chizow - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    Yes you chose to interject in this discussion and made a reference to the rebate in particular, continuing on as if the GTX 280 price was unwarranted. I think corrected you by showing the GTX 280's price *WAS* warranted relative to last-gen unlike the 7970, but even still, Nvidia cut prices and did right by their customer by issuing rebates. So, win-win for GTX 260/280 buyers, unlike this case of lose-lose for 7970/7950/7870 buyers.

    "One comment about the rebate on the gtx 280, it's quite different from now. The 549$ radeon 7970 lost to a 499$ gtx 680 3 months after it's launch.

    The 650$ gtx 280 was on average 10% better and sometimes 10% worse than the 300$ radeon 4870 one month after it's launch..."

    And there you go again saying Nvidia was wrong to price the GTX 680 at $500, so you think it should be priced at $600 since it outperformed the $550 7970? And I guess the GTX 780 should be priced at $750 ad infinitum? This is what happens when you lack the perspective or understanding for a reasonable valuation or basis...I've already laid it out for you, this is why we use historical price and performance expectations....

    Calling someone an idiot isn't disrespectful when they continually demonstrate a low level of intelligence and continually argue from a position of ignorance.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    I never said they were wrong in their price, did I? you take words I never used, do you see in the sentence: ''Nvidia was wrong to price it so high at launch''. I was just using this to show the situation is different thus interjecting you about the fact AMD should issue rebate for the 7970 buyers and this discussion went so far that I lost the beginning of it. The only reason I mentioned those 2 facts was to show the % relavite to THIS gen comparing performance and price that's IT. So to give a short answer, the price of the 7970 wasn't so bad even after the launch of the gtx 280 as to the opposite of the gtx 280 price when the radeon 4870 launched 1 month after for less than half the price of it from a % of price difference and % of performance difference....

    Sorry if I'm not making myself clear at all time but this discussion is becoming so long and my english isn't as perfect as yours, french is my main language so I tried to stay as clear as possible even if I know I made mistakes when explaining my OPINION. Not the facts, I won'T say these are facts even if I took them from reliabe websites because to be a FACT I'd have to be sure a 100% of the EARTH beleives it the VERY SAME way I do thanks.

    And to this day you never told me you bought an AMD/ATI card and never refuted you're not an nvidia fanboy thus proving you are. We all know when you have a choosen side, facts can be interpreted like you are doing, because the words you use are not the ones I hear from EVERYONE on earth and you can't prove everyone THINKS the way you do. It's not as simple as 2 + 2 = 4. If someone thought that every card above 500$ whatever the last gen was is wrong the the pricing of the reason of the gtx 280 pricing might not be as FACTUALLY good to everyone as you might think even before the 4870..... as for the 7970.....
    Reply
  • Galidou - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    ''7970 wasn't so bad even after the launch of the gtx 280 ''

    I meant even after the launch of the gtx 680.
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    You did say Nvidia was wrong to price at $500, which again is not accurate because if anything Nvidia's pricing was still too high relative to its softer than expected increase in performance relative to GTX 580.

    The only reason Nvidia was able to get away with this tiny increase was due to the lackluster performance of Tahiti along with its ridiculous pricing, allowing Nvidia to beat AMD this round in both price and performance with only their 2nd tier midrange ASIC GK104.

    You don't seem to think this or people's buying decisions has an impact on you, but it does, and it already has. It just means you pay more for performance today or you have to wait longer for that level of performance to trickle down to your pricepoint. I've already seen it, as has every single person who bought an AMD GPU since launch. The prices today are what they should've been at launch now that the market has corrected itself (due to Kepler's launches).

    As for my buying decisions again...I have owned AMD in the past a 9700pro and a 5850 for my gf. There's some integral features Nvidia offers that I know AMD is deficient in and that gap has only grown over the years to the point AMD products no longer satisfy my base expectations for graphics card purchases.

    So while the two may technically compete in the same market, the products differ so much at this point for me that AMD is really no longer an option.

    Some examples, since I'm sure you will ask, are features as basic as game-specific profiles and custom SLI and AA bit control. And no, AMD doesn't offer this, they just do what RadeonPro did for years by adding additional profiles without exposing the AA/SLI bits. Then there is 3D Vision support among many other less important features (PhysX, driver FXAA/AO, Vsync, better game bundles, better game support etc).

    Btw, I had to end up selling the 5850 because it lacked support for something as simple as SM2.0 fur and native MSAA in Sims 3 Pets, bugs with AMD cards which my gf picked up on. That's when I threw the GTX 280 in that machine and she didn't even notice a difference (other than the new pet fur and AA). She's run GW2, Diablo3, Skyrim, and a bunch of newer games without AA at 1080p and they run great, think I could say the same for a 4870 4 years later?
    Reply
  • Galidou - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

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

    Sorry but saying you're a fanboy wasn'T meant to disrespect you even if it was said in a harsh way and for that I'm sorry but you calling others idiots defending their honor... Nvidia fanboy in my language mean you have a choosen side and for that, you have I know you can't say you're not an Nvidia fanboy and you haven't refuted it either. Now that I did I guess it will be easier for you to say in your answer: ''Well I'm not an nvidia fanboy because of X reasons''. but if you can't say it, it will mean I was right about choosen side and interpretation of the things yuo call ''facts'' because they're interpreted by the same eyes that favor this side.

    I can't read what you're saying on any website in the same exact words you're use so it has been in fact interpreted by your brain like my opinions are.

    Your question is irrelevant, we were speaking of the pricing scheme at launch of their competitive parts to see if the asking price would have to force the company to issue rebates.

    I'll answer you the way I remember I judged the card from my buyer perspective because I can't judge for everyone else not knowing what was in their head(I'll stop speaking like you do and say THIS IS A FACT while I don't know what OTHERS people thought in the whole world). Many of my friends back then had 8800gt because they got them dirt cheap(180$ CAD) and some of them had sli 8800gt running perfectly.

    Seeing the gtx 280 at 650$ performance I was really shocked. We were in an era where Sli was becoming real popular as well as double gpu cards. And knowing you could already get easily the performance of a ''new and amazing card'' equalled on many levels by other CHEAPER solutions, I wasn't impressed but the price was totally out of what I pay for a card anyway.

    Same for the 7970 I really think of both as not very good solutions. When I saw the benchmarks, I wasn't impressed at all, the only reason. I understand your point of view, the pricing of the new gen 28nm would normally drive the price back of all the generations before it while the 7xxx series instead just placed itself around to the price points corresponding at it's performance. There was NO deal but there was no CROOK either, 650$ video cards and 800$ video cards(thinking about geforce 2 and 3 series) just never made any sens to me, 550$ for a radeon 7970 don't make sense but I KNEW it had to go up someday because of AMD driving the price down WAY too much. It's just unbearable to see people whine when AMD drives the prices down too much telling they made a mistake and then whine when they drive the prices up back to normal putting all the fault on their shoulder again.....

    You have to see the whole story sometimes and stop focusing on only one side of the medal IT HAD TO HAPPEN, while the 7970 wasn't priced right, 550$ to me, at launch WHATEVER the performance relative to the last gen is more acceptable than anything priced 600$ and above for gaming usage end of the line, per dollar performance was always and still remain TO ME in the 150-300$ range.

    BTW you keep comparing the gtx 280 to it's last gen counter part ''8800gtx'' which it was(considering the 9xxx series was a refresh). But you keep comparing performance and price to the REFRESH of the last gen fron ATI because instead of just remaking the video cards and giving them new names, they made new more powerful parts(6950 and 6970).

    If you compare the REAL last gen not refreshed parts, the 7970 would have to compare to the 5870 which it almost doubled the performance from. 300$ 4870, 380$ 5870, 550$ 7970 a return to ''normal things'' sorry if it did harm your eyes to the point you couldn'T stop remembering everyone about the 4870 SO bad PRICING and hoping they kepp it for the radeon 7970 BECAUSE when you make a mistake you cannot go back to normal after HEY? Without having some fanboys freaking out, HEY?
    Reply
  • chizow - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    I don't need to refute anything, I'm a fan of "whatever is better" and Nvidia products are consistently better at meeting my needs and expectations.

    As much as I'd love to go over all of that with you, I'm sure its just a huge waste of time, but needless to say some people don't just look at FPS charts and sticker prices for buying guidance. Luckily for me however, Nvidia is still bound by this guidance in pricing their products, otherwise I might really be paying dearly for their parts. :)

    In any case, if you can't even admit 7970 pricing was far worst than GTX 280 pricing at launch, there is no point in continuing this discussion with you. I won't even bother calling you a fanboy because honestly, it has nothing do with fanboyism and everything to do with intellect, or lack thereof. These really are very simple metrics that everyone should use to make an informed buying decision.

    Finally, you are right about the generational comparisons, but you can just as easily plug in the 5870 and see the 7970 is only 50% faster, ~40% faster than the 6970. Either way you can see the 7970 offers the worst increase in performance for the biggest increase in price of any new AMD or Nvidia generation or process in the last 10 years, and you really don't need to be a fanboy of either company to understand this. ;)
    Reply
  • Galidou - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    ''Calling someone an idiot isn't disrespectful when they continually demonstrate a low level of intelligence and continually argue from a position of ignorance. ''

    You're not even knowing me personally, english is not my main language and you tell me I have a low level of intelligence. Who got a choosen side, who's fit to speak of both side of the medal for having PERSONALLY experimenting with BOTH companies. I even apologized for calling you a fanboy in a harsh way and you have to push the insult farther.

    ''7970 offers the worst increase in performance for the biggest increase in price''

    That's right but that doesn't justify, compared to the competition OUT NOW, the reason to issue rebates like for the 4870 case that's all I meant from the freaking beginning... gosh it's hard. We just spoke why this is happening, AMD back in the 4870 days had to regain populatiry for being many years behind, WAY behind the pack. Right they could of priced it higher but THEY DIDN'T and good thing it put them back on the track, bad thing for now because they have to spike the prices back to normal, gosh...
    Reply
  • Galidou - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    ''5870 and see the 7970 is only 50% faster''

    Well that's a little more than that, I see from 40% to 110% faster but I'll go with your 50%, not bad considering that gtx 680 is 20-25% faster than gtx580....

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_...

    But we all know these comparisons are useless because people mostly upgrades jumping 2-3 generations, cept for heavy gamers but no need to speak or discuss for them, they already know what they want.
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I guess it depends on what review you prefer but yes, even your own preferred review shows ~50% just as I stated. So 150% performance for 150% pricing, terrible I know.

    Also curious as to why you single out 680 performance over GTX 580, certainly 120-125% performance for 100% of the price is better than what AMD was asking....112% of the performance for 110% of the price.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Thursday, September 20, 2012 - link

    Wait wait, AMD's 7970 price at launch was bad, but the gtx 680 will keep it's price for a while. This was a TOCK in intel's language, usually giving a huge increase in performance over last gen. The 7970 was the worst increase of performance for the worst, but Nvidia's 20-25% improve over last gen is the worst ever in history improve in performance for a TOCK in history, not speaking about price wise, just increase in performance. They went TOCK gtx 480, tick gtx 580, tick gtx 680, and we can guess next one will be a TOCK with big improve in performance or another tick with a refresh of the 600 series. And add to that the series with an automatic overclock on all their cards, still it gave out 20-25% more than last gen.... Nothing amazing there either, sure the price seems better because it's the same than last gen. Reply

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