Just What Is NVIDIA’s Competition & The Test

Every now and then it’s productive to dissect NVIDIA’s press presentation to get an idea of what NVIDIA is thinking. NVIDIA’s marketing machine is generally laser-focused, but even so it’s not unusual for them to have their eye on more than one thing at a time.

In this case, ostensibly NVIDIA’s competition for the GTX 660 is the Radeon HD 7800 series. But if we actually dig through NVIDIA’s press deck we see that they only spend a single page comparing the GTX 660 to a 7800 series card (and it’s a 7850 at that). Meanwhile they spend 4 pages comparing the GTX 660 to prior generation NVIDIA products like the GTX 460 and/or the 9800GT.

The most immediate conclusion is that while NVIDIA is of course worried about stiff competition from AMD, they’re even more worried about competition from themselves right now. The entire computer industry has been facing declining revenues in the face of drawn out upgrade cycles due to older hardware remaining “good enough” for longer period of times, and NVIDIA is not immune from that. To even be in competition with AMD, NVIDIA needs to convince its core gaming user base to upgrade in the first place, which it seems is no easy task.

NVIDIA has spent a lot of time in the past couple of years worrying about the 8800GT/9800GT in particular. “The only card that matters” was a massive hit for the company straight up through 2010, which has made it difficult to get users to upgrade even 4 years later. As a result what was once a 2 year upgrade cycle has slowly stretched out to become a 4 year upgrade cycle, which means NVIDIA only gets to sell half as many cards in that timeframe. Which leads us back to NVIDIA’s press presentation: even though the GTX 460/560 has long since supplanted the 9800GT’s install base, NVIDIA is still in competition with themselves 4 years later, trying to drive their single greatest DX10 card into the sunset.

The Test

The official launch drivers for the GTX 660 are 306.23, which are the latest iteration of NVIDIA’s R304 branch of drivers. Besides adding support for the GTX 660, these drivers are performance-identical to earlier R304 drivers in our tests.

Also, we'd like to give a quick thank you to Antec, who rushed out a replacement True Power Quattro 1200 PSU on very short notice after the fan went bad on our existing unit. Thanks guys!

CPU: Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4.3GHz
Motherboard: EVGA X79 SLI
Chipset Drivers: Intel 9.​2.​3.​1022
Power Supply: Antec True Power Quattro 1200
Hard Disk: Samsung 470 (256GB)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1867 4 x 4GB (8-10-9-26)
Case: Thermaltake Spedo Advance
Monitor: Samsung 305T
Video Cards: AMD Radeon HD 6870
AMD Radeon HD 7850
AMD Radeon HD 7870
AMD Radeon HD 7950
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 304.79 Beta
NVIDIA ForceWare 305.37
NVIDIA ForceWare 306.23 Beta
AMD Catalyst 12.8
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

 

Meet The GeForce GTX 660 Crysis: Warhead
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  • TemjinGold - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    "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."

    "Breaking open a GTX 660 (specifically, our EVGA 660 SC using the NV reference PCB),"

    So... didn't you just break your promise as soon as you made it AND show a pic of the card right underneath?
    Reply
  • Sufo - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Haha, shhhh! Reply
  • Homeles - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Reading comprehension is such an endangered resource...

    If it's the super clocked edition, it's obviously not a reference clocked card.
    Reply
  • jonup - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Exactly my thoughts. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Homeles is correct. That's one of the cards from the launch roundup we're publishing later today.. The reference-clocked GTX 660 we tested is not in any way pictured (I'm not quite that daft). Reply
  • knutjb - Saturday, September 15, 2012 - link

    No matter what you try to say it still reads poorly. It should be blatantly obvious about which card was which up front, which the article wasn't. I should have to dig when scanning through.

    Also, your picking it as the better choice over a card that has been out how long, over slight differences... If nvivda really wanted to me to say wow I'll buy it now, the card would have been no more than 199 at launch. 10 bucks under is the best they can do for being late to the party? And you bought the strategy. I have been equally disappointed with AMD when they have done the same thing.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Sunday, September 16, 2012 - link

    When reading Anadtech articles it's almost always safe to assume "he actually means what he's saying". Helps a lot with understanding. Reply
  • thomp237 - Sunday, September 23, 2012 - link

    So where is this roundup? We are now 10 days on from your comment and still no signs of a roundup. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    I have been wondering where all the eyefinity amd fragglers have gone to, and now I know what has occurred.

    Eyefinity is Dead.

    These Kepler GPU's from nVidia all can do 4 monitors out of the box. Sure you might find a cheap version with 3 ports, whatever - that's the minority.

    So all the amd fanboys have shut their fat traps about eyefinity, since nVidia surpassed them with A+ 4 easy monitors out of the box on all the Kelpers.

    Thank you nVidia dearly for shutting the idiot pieholes of the amd fanboys.

    It took me this long to comment on this matter because nVidia fanboys don't all go yelling in unison sheep fashion about stuff like the little angry losing amd fans do.

    I have also noticed all the reviewers who are so used to being amd fan rave boys themselves almost never bring up multimonitor and abhor pointing out nVidia does 4 while amd only does 3 except in very expensive special cases.

    Yeah that's notable too. As soon as amd got utterly and totally crushed, it was no longer a central topic and central theme for all the review sites like this place.

    That 2 week Island vacation every year amd puts hundreds of these reporters on must be absolutely wonderful.
    I do hope they are treated very well and have a great time.
    Reply
  • EchoOne - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - link

    LOL dude,the 660ti vs the 7950 in eyefinity would get destroyed.I know this because my friend has a comp build with a phenom 965be 4.2ghz and 660ti with 16gb of ram (i built this for him) and i have a fx 6100 4.7ghz,16gb ram and a 7950 i run a triple monitor setup

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRXGveviruw&fe...

    And his 660ti DIED trying to play the games at that res and at the same settings as i do.He had to take down his graphics settings from say gta4 from max settings down to about medium and high (i run very high)

    So yeah sure it can run a couple monitors out of the box but same with eyefinity.And trust me their nvidia surround is not as polished as eyefinity..But they get props for trying.
    Reply

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