GALAXY GeForce GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB Video Card Review

NVIDIA is launching its third Kepler GPU for 2012, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti. We have a retail GTX 660 Ti video card on tap from GALAXY to evaluate along with reference clocked GTX 660 Ti. We've got a lot of comparisons that show how the GTX 660 Ti will upgrade you from not just one, but two GPU generations past.

Introduction

Up until now NVIDIA has released two GPUs in its new Kepler architecture based GPU lineup for 2012. The first was the high-end GeForce GTX 680 with a suggested retail price of $499. Following that came the GeForce GTX 670 with a suggested retail price of $399. Now, it is time for NVIDIA to unveil it's third Kepler architecture based GPU lineup for 2012, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti for a suggested retail price of $299. You can clearly see how the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is priced to fit in with a more mainstream video card buying crowd. At $299 the GeForce GTX 660 Ti should be more accessible to gamers looking for the latest NVIDIA GPU technology and performance in games.

As you might imagine the GeForce GTX 660 Ti takes everything from its big brothers the GeForce GTX 670 and GeForce GTX 680 and simply scales it down to fit this lower price point. Scaling it down means scaling down performance to match. However, it isn't as scaled down as you might think. One interesting thing NVIDIA did with the GeForce GTX 660 Ti is to keep the same amount of CUDA cores as the GeForce GTX 670. What they instead did to scale it down was to narrow the memory bus. Let's look at the specifications and we will compare it to GTX 670.

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Most of the specifications on the GeForce GTX 660 Ti are exactly the same as the GeForce GTX 670, there is one significant change that may be hard to spot. First of all, the new GTX 660 Ti has 1344 CUDA cores, same as the GTX 670. The base clock is 915MHz with a Boost Clock of 980MHz, same as GTX 670. You will find 2GB of GDDR5 at 6GHz on the GTX 660 Ti just like the GTX 670. You will also find two 6-pin power connectors, 2x dual-link DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort and PCIe 3.0. You can see the TDP is lower at 150W. So what is different then?

It is the memory bus that has been narrowed. The GeForce GTX 670 has a 256-bit memory bus. With the 6GHz GDDR5 on board that gives it a memory bandwidth of 192GB/sec on the GTX 670. The new GeForce GTX 660 Ti has a 192-bit memory bus. With the memory at 6GHz this gives it 144.2GB/sec of memory bandwidth.

Therefore the GTX 670 has 33% more memory bandwidth, this is the only major difference. If that is the only difference, and the GTX 660 Ti is $299 versus the suggested retail price of $399 on the GTX 670, then that should mean one fast video card for the price. A $100 difference and the only difference is the memory bandwidth? We can't wait to see how that performs.

GALAXY GeForce GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB

We are proud to have a retail boxed video card based on the new GeForce GTX 660 Ti in for you for evaluation on this launch. The GALAXY GeForce GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB takes the GTX 660 Ti and overclocks it from the factory and also gives us more video RAM, 3GB versus the standard 2GB for GTX 660 Ti video cards. The factory overclock on the GALAXY GTX 660 Ti GC video card is 1006MHz base clock and 1085MHz Boost Clock. That's roughly a 10% increase in the clock speed from a standard GTX 660 Ti. On top of that, this video card has 3GB of VRAM and a custom cooler with a custom PCB and custom power. Overclocking should be quite good on this video card. We will followup with overclocking in a follow-up article.

GALAXY is setting a price of $339 for this video card, so $40 over the reference GTX 660 Ti pricing. In this evaluation we are also going to use a reference clocked GTX 660 Ti with 2GB for comparisons to see how the 660 Ti upgrades from a GTX 560 Ti and GeForce GTX 460.

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On the front of the box you will find boldly displayed that this video card has a 3GB framebuffer. There is also a 2GB version of the GALAXY GTX 660 Ti GC edition, so watch out for that and make sure you get what you wanted. You will also find listed GALAXY's 3 year extended warranty, the fact that this has custom cooling and supports multiple displays. What is unfortunately not listed on the box is that the GC means this is factory overclocked and what exactly the clock frequencies are. Inside the box you get a driver disk, and adapters. The driver on the disc does work for this video card, but there will be newer drivers on NVIDIA's website.

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The GALAXY GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB video card measures 10 inches in length, which is longer than the GeForce GTX 670 reference board. Keep in mind this is a custom board from GALAXY, and GALAXY has put on this video card custom power and custom cooling with 3GB of RAM. There are two large fans and a large air duct on the port side of the video card. There is a copper GPU plate with four heatpipes moving heat to the aluminum fins. The memory front and back does not get cooled by heatsink or fan.

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The memory used are Hynix H5GQ2H24AFR-ROC which are 6GHz and rated at 1.5v. GALAXY is using one 8-pin power connector and one 6-pin for this video card for added stability while overclocking. The GeForce GTX 600 Series logo lights up blue while in operation.


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