MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition OC Video Card Review
MSI is offering a custom cooled and factory overclocked rendition on the recently released NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti. We examine how well MSI's Twin Frozr IV cooling technology allows us to overclock this new generation video card. We will compare it to a Radeon HD 7950, an overclocked Radeon HD 7870, and a GeForce GTX 670.
Microstar International (MSI) is a Taiwan-based computer hardware manufacturer founded in 1986. Primarily a designer and manufacturer of PC motherboards, MSI has expanded its business into barebones PCs, servers and workstations, communications devices, consumer electronics, Notebooks, Netbooks, graphics cards, and other various electronic products. Its company motto, "Quality Products Create Faithful Customer," believes its underlying corporate strategy of designing and manufacturing quality devices for various markets and letting its high-quality reputation earn it the trust and respect of electronics consumers worldwide.
On our test bench today is the current flagship of the MSI GTX 660 Ti series, the brand new MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti Power Edition (N660Ti PE 2GD5/OC) video card.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
NVIDIA released its new GeForce GTX 660 Ti, code-named "Kepler" on August 16th, 2012. The Kepler "GK104" architecture is much like its Fermi predecessor. The GeForce GTX 660 Ti has 7 SMX clusters which each have 192 CUDA cores inside. The GPU is built using 28nm technology.
The GeForce GTX 660 Ti itself is comprised of 3.54 billion transistors packed into 1344 CUDA cores with a default clock speed of 915MHz. The GeForce GTX 660 Ti also has a boost clock which it will increase to during graphically demanding applications and guarantees at least 980MHz. There are a total of 8 geometry units and 112 texture units, along with 24 ROPs. This video card also uses the new PolyMorph 2.0 Engine which NVIDIA claims has 4x the tessellation performance of the Radeon HD 7970.
The GeForce GTX 660 Ti is designed to be paired with 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 192-bit bus, running at 1502MHz for a 6GHz data rate and a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 144.2GB per second. The typical board power is 170W which will work with the advanced diagnostics to create more efficient and lower overall power consumption. A standard GeForce GTX 660 Ti only requires two 6-pin PCI-E connectors. It can support up to 4 displays on a single video card, with one Dual Link DVI-I connector, one Dual Link DVI-D connector, one HDMI connector and one DisplayPort connector.
MSI GTX 660 Ti PE
The MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti PE has been loaded with all sorts of custom features from MSI. It sports MSI Twin Frozr IV cooling system which has been proven time and time again as one of the most effective on the market. It also comes with a factory overclock with a base GPU clock speed of 1020MHz, a Boost clock speed of 1098MHz, and the 2GB of memory left at the stock operating speed of 1502MHz or 6GHz GDDR5.
The Twin Frozr IV cooling system is comprised of several parts. There are 5 nickel-plated copper heat pipes that provides the best heat dissipation. These heat pipes directly contact the GPU and spread out to different areas along the heat sink which stretches the length of the video card. The heat sink has made of small fins which provide a higher surface area for heat to spread to. The heat is dispersed by the two 10cm PWM fans. The dual 10cm fans provide 40% more airflow than dual 9cm fans, and keeps the heat off of the GPU, the memory, and the power module. The fans are also using propeller blade structure which can generate 20% more airflow than traditional fans.
The Twin Frozr IV cooling system also features dust removal technology. When you power on the computer with this video card installed the fans will spin in reverse at 100% to help remove any dust accumulating on the heat sink or fan blades. This not only ensures that the cooling is running optimally, it is also extending the life of the video card. There is also a heatsink plated on the back which helps disperse and spread any heat, and to protect the components mounted on the back of the video card.
The MSI GeForce GTX 660Ti PE comes with a 3 year factory warranty and is currently available on Newegg for $309.99 with a $10 mail in rebate which will make it $299 and a coupon for the yet to be released Borderlands 2 which is a $60 value.
MSI GTX 660 Ti PE
The MSI GTX 660 Ti PE is packaged in a blue box with black accent colors that features MSI's Power Edition logo. The front of the box highlights implementation of triple overvoltage, enhanced PWM design and the Twin Frozr IV cooling solution. On the back of the box, MSI goes into further detail about the various features, specifications and minimum system requirements. Inside the box, MSI included a quick start guide, instruction booklet, a driver CD, two PCI-e 6-pin power adapters and DVI to VGA adapter.
The front of the MSI GTX 660 Ti PE features a matte black plastic cover that serves to house the two fans and cover the heatsink. Although it is thin and light weight, it feels extremely durable and does not have any issue handling pressure in our experience. You can see underneath the black cover that the heatsink spans the entire length of the video card and extends slightly past the PCB.
While the design of the Frozr IV cooling solution appears to be solid, its one fatal flaw is that the heat generated is not exhausted out of the case, which makes it far more important to have a well-designed case with plenty of airflow.
On the I/O panel there are four ports. These include one DP port, two DVI-D connectors, and one HDMI connector. The power connectors are on top of the video card and require two 6-pin PCI-e connections. We noticed that one of the 6-pin PCI-e connections was not mounted flush with the PCB, which appears to be a slight manufacturing defect. We do not believe this caused any functional issues with the review sample. The video card’s measurements are 10.5 inches in Length, 1.5 inches Wide, and 4.5 inches in Height.