NVIDIA Launches GTX 660 Ti

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅16.08.2012 17:33:44

It's been teased for a while but it's day in the limelight has arrived: NVIDIA's GTX 660 Ti has finally been introduced to the public; choosing to do the unveiling during Gamescom 2012 for maximum exposure is a pretty canny manoeuvre. Lets also give it an introduction, in the form of the cards' reference specs, and the sorts of AIB packages you're likely to see on sale.

But before that, W3bbo has our first GTX 660Ti review to peruse: the ZOTAC GTX660Ti AMP! Edition 2GB GDDR5. Check it out, it'll add some context to this article.

For the past few generations NVIDIA X60 cards have been tailored to be the mid-range in NVIDIA's line-up, and in many cases have been the standard for the mainstream gamer choice due to the balance of price and performance (or bang for your buck if you prefer). AMD's equivalent has been the HDX8X0 range for the last two generations, with the 7800-range being seen as fairly strong this time out. Though we certainly don't know enough to say whether the GTX660Ti has been delayed per se, it's worth noting that the 7800's have a significant head-start on market share, and the tech specs of the 660Ti reflect the need to compete aggressively.

Here we can see a comparison of the reference specs for NVIDIA GK104-based cards, and immediately we can see that the 660Ti bears a stunning resemblance to the GTX670. Identical Core, GPU Boost and memory frequencies indicate just how aggressively clocked the card is. The one major difference is that of the memory bandwidth, indicating that the card has a 192-bit wide memory bus and only 24 ROPs rather than 32. Compared to the GTX670 therefore the 660Ti will struggle at extremely high resolution and IQ settings, which seems reasonable for a card expected to top out at 1080p.

NVIDIA float the card as strictly better (to the tune of >6%) than last generations' GTX580, based on 40nm process and Fermi architecture; architectural changes also mean that the 660Ti won't be quite as strong as the 580/570 at very high resolutions of course. That makes it a handy upgrade for those languishing on 460/560Ti levels of performance, and crucially does not add a power penalty requiring an additional upgrade to the users PSU. Those on last years high-end probably won't see much value in an upgrade by contrast, as you might expect considering it's a mid-range entry.

With that performance levels at reference speeds one might expect that it's on the ragged edge of capability for these binned GK104 cores. Well, if AIBs are anything to go by, not a bit of it: the ZOTAC GTX660Ti AMP! alone is clocked at 1033/1111MHz. A >110MHz factory overclock is the largest we've seen thus far, but other NVIDIA partners are also featuring pretty handy overclocks with little increase in cost to the end-user. Performance rivalling a stock GTX670 would not be unexpected, and reference-spec'd 660Ti's should be a great target for overclockers.

The only issue could be the price: from 250 in the UK, though in many cases the price will also include a copy of Borderlands 2. The first thing to note is that it neatly undercuts the 580s still in circulation - buying one of those cards for other than GPGPU/SLI reasons now seems pretty silly. It's still a comfortable 50 below the GTX670, and will almost certainly be the pick of the green-camp cards for 1080p resolutions until more taxing games enter the market. Price and performance compares very favourably with the HD7950 from AMD, making it almost a toss-up between the two.

So, that's a brief run-down of the GTX660Ti from NVIDIA. A more through review is of course available here. Overall the card seems like an extremely solid successor to the immensely popular 560Ti and may provide sufficient stimulus to those who were just holding off upgrading until the saw the mid-range shake out. A lower price would be nice to see, but it is still the most keenly priced NVIDIA Kepler card released thus far.

Whether this is the last hurrah for the GK104 remains to the seen...

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