The newest member of NVIDIA's GeForce Kepler family is also its most important. The new GeForce GTX 660 Ti launched today targets a cost-performance sweet-spot with its US $299 reference price. What makes this price-point of particular importance to GPU makers is that graphics cards priced around it compete directly with premium game console bundles from the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 line, transforming ordinary desktop PCs into lean and mean gaming monstrosities. By NVIDIA's own statistics, PCs are growing as a gaming platform, and the $299 price-point is one of its prime movers.
The GeForce GTX 660 Ti is derived from the 28 nm GK104 silicon, the same chip that powers GeForce GTX 670, Kepler poster-boy GeForce GTX 680, and the flagship GeForce GTX 690. It is closer to the GeForce GTX 670 in more specifications than the GTX 680 is, down to the same chip. It has the same number of CUDA cores with 1,344, and the same set of clock speeds with 915 MHz core, 980 MHz GPU Boost, and 6.00 GHz memory. The only points of difference between the two are memory bus width with 192-bit (against 256-bit on the GTX 670), and ROP count with 24 (against 32 on the GTX 670). The memory bus is narrower by 25%, resulting in a memory bandwidth of 144 GB/s (against 192 GB/s on the GTX 670).
The GeForce GTX 660 Ti, with its starting price of $299, is also NVIDIA's most expensive performance-segment GPU to date. Its predecession includes the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, the GTX 460 1 GB, the GTX 260, and the 9800 GT – all of which had slightly lower price points. Given that AMD has two SKUs in close-quarters with this price-point, the Radeon HD 7870 and Radeon HD 7950, NVIDIA would have chosen this price-point as well. In this review, we test this notion.
The ASUS GTX 660 Ti Direct CU II TOP is, essentially, the same board as the famous GTX 670 which was the first and only graphics card to bag a 10.0 perfect score during TPU review. A large dual-fan cooler keeps the card cool and increased clock speeds out of the box to ensure an additional performance improvement over the relatively low clocks of the NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti reference design. ASUS is, price wise, asking $330 for their card, a $30 increase over the NVIDIA reference design.
GeForce GTX 660 Ti Market Segment Analysis
| ||GeForce |
GTX 660 Ti
GTX 660 Ti
| HD 7970|
|Memory Size||1280 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||1536 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||3072 MB||2048 MB||3072 MB||3072 MB||2048 MB|
|Memory Bus Width||320 bit||256 bit||256 bit||256 bit||384 bit||192 bit||192 bit||384 bit||256 bit||384 bit||384 bit||256 bit|
|Core Clock||732 MHz||880 MHz||860 MHz||1000 MHz||772 MHz||915 MHz+||1059 MHz+||800 MHz||915 MHz+||925 MHz||1050 MHz||1006 MHz+|
|Memory Clock||950 MHz||1375 MHz||1200 MHz||1200 MHz||1002 MHz||1502 MHz||1502 MHz||1250 MHz||1502 MHz||1375 MHz||1500 MHz||1502 MHz|