Final Words

Bringing the review to a close, it should come as no surprise that the launch of the GTX 660 Ti has ended up being a lot like the launches before it. Yet at the same time it’s not truly identical, as there’s a lot going on that makes it nothing like the launches before it.

Distilled to its essence, the GTX 660 Ti is yet another fine addition to the GTX 600 series thanks to the GK104 GPU. Compared to the GTX 670 it’s a bit slower, a lot cheaper, and still brutally efficient. For buyers who have wanted to pick up a Kepler card but have found the high-end GTX 670 and GTX 680 out of their price range, at $300 the GTX 660 Ti is at a much more approachable point on the price-performance curve, offering about 88% of the GTX 670’s performance for 75% of the price. Given the price of Kepler cards so far this is definitely a better deal, though it’s still by no means cheap. So in that respect the launch of the GTX 660 Ti is quite a lot like the launches before it.

What’s different about this launch compared to the launches before it is that AMD was finally prepared; this isn’t going to be another NVIDIA blow-out. While the GTX 680 marginalized the Radeon HD 7970 virtually overnight, and then the GTX 670 did the same thing to the Radeon HD 7950, the same will not be happening to AMD with the GTX 660 Ti. AMD has already bracketed the GTX 660 Ti by positioning the 7870 below it and the 7950 above it, putting them in a good position to fend off NVIDIA.

As it stands, AMD’s position correctly reflects their performance; the GTX 660 Ti is a solid and relatively consistent 10-15% faster than the 7870, while the 7950 is anywhere between a bit faster to a bit slower depending on what benchmarks you favor. Of course when talking about the 7950 the “anything but equal” maxim still applies here, if not more so than with the GTX 670. The GTX 660 Ti is anywhere between 50% ahead of the 7950 and 25% behind it, and everywhere in between.

Coupled with the tight pricing between all of these cards, this makes it very hard to make any kind of meaningful recommendation here for potential buyers. Compared to the 7870 the GTX 660 Ti is a solid buy if you can spare the extra $20, though it’s not going to be a massive difference. The performance difference is going to be just enough that AMD is going to need to trim prices a bit more to secure the 7870’s position.

On the other hand due to the constant flip-flopping of the GTX 660 Ti and 7950 on our benchmarks there is no sure-fire recommendation to hand down there. If we had to pick something, on a pure performance-per-dollar basis the 7950 looks good both now and in the future; in particular we suspect it’s going to weather newer games better than the GTX 660 Ti and its relatively narrow memory bus. But the moment efficiency and power consumption start being important the GTX 660 Ti is unrivaled, and this is a position that is only going to improve in the future when 7950B cards start replacing 7950 cards. For reasons like that there are a couple of niches one card or another serves particularly well, such as overclocking with the 7950, but ultimately unless you have a specific need either card will serve you well enough.

But enough about competition, let’s talk about upgrades for a moment. As we mentioned in our discussion on pricing, performance cards are where we see the market shift from rich enthusiasts who buy cards virtually every generation to more practical buyers who only buy every couple of generations. For these groups it’s a mixed bag. The GTX 660 Ti is actually a great upgrade for the GTX 560 Ti (and similar cards) from a performance standpoint, but despite the similar name it can’t match the GTX 560 Ti’s affordability. This entire generation has seen a smaller than normal performance increase at the standard price points, and the GTX 660 Ti doesn’t change this. If you’re frugal and on Fermi, you’re probably going to want to wait for whatever comes next. On the other hand performance is finally reaching a point where it’s getting very hard to hold on to GTX 200 series cards, especially as the lack of memory on those sub-1GB products becomes more and more prominent. The GTX 660 Ti can clobber any GTX 200, and it can do so with far less power and noise.

Finally, let’s discuss the factory overclocked cards we’ve seen today. Thanks to the fact that this is a virtual launch there’s an incredible variety of cards to pick from, with all of the major partners launching multiple cards with both the reference clocks and with factory overclocks. We’ve only been able to take a look at 3 of those cards today, but so far we like what we’re seeing.

Right now the partner card most likely to turn heads is Gigabyte’s GeForce GTX 660 Ti OC. Even if you ignore the overclock for a second it’s a GTX 660 Ti with an oversized cooler, which ends up being used to great effect. Thanks to Gigabyte’s Windforce 2X cooler it’s both cool and silent, which is always a great combination. Meanwhile the factory overclock alongside the higher power target is icing on the cake, although the lack of a memory bandwidth overclock means that the cooler is more valuable than the overclock.

But if you want something quite a bit smaller and generally a bit faster still, Zotac’s GeForce GTX 660 Ti AMP is no slouch. The memory overclock really makes up for GTX 660 Ti’s memory bandwidth shortcomings, and the size means it will fit into even small cases rather well. Its only downsides are that the $329 price tag puts it solidly in 7950 territory, and that the cooler is very average, especially when held up against what Gigabyte has done.

Finally there’s EVGA’s GeForce GTX 660 Ti Superclocked. The overclock is nothing to write home about – being just enough to justify the $10 price increase – but it’s otherwise a solid card. Even for 150W cards there’s still a need for blower type coolers, and EVGA will do a good job of filling that niche with their card.

OC: Gaming Performance
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  • blanarahul - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    First! Oh yeah!
  • blanarahul - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    GTX 660 Ti: Designed for overclockers. Overclock memory and thats it.
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    The cores are hitting over 1300 consistently. Oh well, buh bye amd.
  • Galidou - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Well it depends on the samples, the 660 ti I bought for my wife, I tested it in my pc and over 1290 core clock(with boost) after 10-15 minutes gaming in a game that doesn't even taxes the gpu past 70%, the video card crashes and windows tells me ''the adapter has stopped responding''.

    Crysis 2 stutters on some levels but it's mainly stable 95% of the time wheras my 7950 overclocked is not doing this.

    It would artifact in MSI kombustor with a slight increase in voltage and core clock above 1260. Good thing it's for my wife and not me, she won't overclock as it's way enough for her mere 1080p resolution. The memory overclocks at 6,6ghz easily.
  • GmTrix - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    Dear God, Have AnandTech readers really sunk to this level of childishness?
  • Chaitanya - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    Thank you nVidia for having real technology developement, unlike amd loser
    Thank you nVidia for being able to mix ram chip sizes or to distribute ram chips across your memory controllers with proprietary technology that you keep secret depsite amd fanboys desiring to know how you do it so they can help amd implement for free.
    Thanks also for doing it so well, even with reviewers putting it down and claiming it can result in 48 bandwidth instead of 144 bandwidth, all the games and tests they have ever thrown at it in a desperate amd fanboy desire to find a chink in it's armor has yielded ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, as in, YOU'VE DONE IT PERFECTLY AGAIN nVidia.
    I just love the massive bias at this site.
    It must be their darn memory failing.
    Every time they make a crazy speculative attack here on nVidia where all their rabid research to find some fault provides a big fat goose egg, they try to do it again anyway, and they talk like they'll eventually find something even though they never do. By the time they give up, they're off on some other notional and failed to prove it put down against nVidia.
    192 bit bus / 2GB ram / unequal distribution / PERFECT PERFORMANCE IMPLEMENTATION
    Get used to it.
  • TheJian - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    ROFL... I should have just read more posts...Might have saved me a crapload of typing Cerise...LOL. Nah, it needs to be said more by more than ONE person :) Call a spade a spade people.

    I tried to leave out the word BIAS and RYAN/Anandtech in the same sentence :)

    But hold on a minute, while I fire up my compute crap (or 2008 game rendered moot by it's own 2011+2012 hires patch equivalent) so I can run up my electric bill so I can prove the AMD card wins in something I never intend to use a gaming card for or run at a res that these things aren't being used for by 98% of the people. Folding? You must be kidding. Bitcoin hunting?...LOL that party was over ages ago - you won't pay for your card getting bitcoins today - it was over before anandtech did their article on bitcoins - but I bet they helped sell some AMD cards. Quadro+fireGL cards are for this crap (computational NON game stuff I mean). Recommending cards based on computational crap is pointless when they're for gaming.

    I'm an amd fanboy but ONLY at heart. My wallet wins all arguments regardless of my love for AMD (or my NV stock...LOL). I'm trying to hold out for AMD's next cpu's but I'm heavily leaning Ivy K for Black Friday, fanboy AMD love or not. They ruined their company by paying 3x the price for ATI, which in turn crapped on their stock and degraded their company to near junk bond status in said stock (damn them, I used to be able to ride the rollercoaster and make money on AMD!). I'm still hoping for a trick up their sleeve nobody knows about. But I think they're just holding back cpu's to clear shelves, nothing special in the new ones coming. Basically a sandy to ivy upgrade but on AMD's side for bullsnozer. The problem is it's still going to be behind ivy by 25-50% (in some cases far worse). Unless it's an EXCEPTIONAL price I can't help but pick IVY as I do a lot of rar/par stuff and of course gaming. I'd get hurt way too much by following my heart this round (I had to take xeon e3110 s775 last time for the same reason).

    My planned Black Friday upgrade looks like, X motherboard (too early for a pick or homework not knowing AMD yet), Ivy 3770K (likely) and a 660TI with the highest default clock I can get at a black friday price :) (meaning $299 or under for zotac AMP speeds or better). I already have 16GB ddr3 waiting here...LOL. I ordered it ages ago, figuring it's going to go through the roof at some point (win8? crappy as it is IMHO). I'm only down $10 so far after purchasing mem I think in Jan or so...LOL. In the end I think I'll be up $30-80 at some point (I only paid $75 for 16GB). Got my dad taken care of too, we're both just waiting on black friday and all this 28nm vid card crap to sort out. End of Nov should have some better tsmc cards available (or another fabs chips?). I'm guessing a ton at high clocks by then for under $299.

    Anyway, THANKS for the good laugh :) I needed that after reading my 4th asinine review. Guru3d looking up for the 5th though...LOL. He doesn't seem to care who wins, & caters more to the wallet it seems (great OC stuff there too). He usually doesn't have a ton of cards or chips in each review though, so you have to read more than one product review there to get the picture, but they're good reviews. Hilbert Hagedoorn (sp?) does pretty dang good. By the end of it, I'll have hit everyone I think (worth mentioning, techreport, hardocp, ixbtlabs, hexus etc - sorry if I left a good one out guys). I seem to read 10+ these days before parting with cash. :( I like hardocp for a difference in ideas of benchmarking. He benches and states the HIGHEST PLAYABLE SETTINGS per card. It's a good change IMHO, though I still require all the other reviews for more games etc. I'm just sure to hit him for vidcard reviews just for the settings I can expect to get away with in a few games. I wish guru3d had thrown in an OC'd 660TI into the 7950 boost review since they're so easily had clocked high at $299/309. But one more read gets that picture, or can be drawn by all the asinine reviews and his 7950 boost review...LOL. I have to get through the rest of guru3d, then off to hardocp for the different angle :) Ahh, weekend geek reading galore with two new gpu cards out this week ;)
  • Jorgan22 - Sunday, October 7, 2012 - link

    Review was a good read, glad to see the 660 TI is doing well.

    I have no idea what's up with the comments though, especially you TheJian, you wrote a novel, ending half the paragraphs with "... LOL".

    If you're going to waste so much time doing that, post it in the forums, not in a comment thread where its not going to get read buddy, just hurts you.
  • RussianSensation - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    1) TXAA is a blurry mess. See videos or screenshots. It's an option but let's not try claiming it's some new revolutionary anti-aliasing features.

    Instead HD7950 can actually handle MSAA and mods in Skyrim and Batman AC and not choke.

    2) That review left 2 critical aspects out:

    (I) Factory preoverclocked, binned after-market 7950s run cooler, quieter and at way lower voltage than that reference artificially overvolted 7950B card tested in the review (see MSI TwinFrozr 3, Gigabyte Windforce 3x for $320-330 on Newegg).

    (II) Those same after-market 7950s hit 1100-1200mhz on 1.175V or less in our forum. At those speeds, the HD7950 > GTX680/HD7970 Ghz Edition. How is that for value at $320-330?

    The review didn't take into account that you can get way better 7950 cards and they overclock 30-50%, and yet the same review took after-market 660Tis and used their coolers for noise testing and overclocking sections against a reference based 7950.

    Let's see how the 660Ti does against the $320 MSI TwinFrozr 7950 @ 1150mhz with MSAA on in Metro 2033, Crysis 1/Warhead, Anno 2070, Skyrim with ENB Mods w/8xMSAA, Batman AC w/8xMSAA, Dirt Showdown, Sleeping Dogs, Sniper Elite V2, Serious Sam 3, Bulletstorm, Alan Wake, Crysis 2 with MSAA. It's going to get crushed, that's what will happen.

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