Value and Conclusion
|9.7||NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 660 Ti will be a hit of that I am sure. The card delivers excellent performance levels at reasonable power consumption, which enables board partners to create low-noise custom designs. The new GTX 660 Ti is almost twice as fast as the last-generation GTX 560 Ti, but comes at a $50 higher introductory cost. |
MSI's GTX 660 Ti Power Edition uses the company's TwinFrozr cooler that we have seen on many cards before, and it works well. The card achieves a 6% performance improvement over the reference design thanks to the overclock out of the box. What I find surprising is that MSI's card is faster than many other GTX 660 Ti cards reviewed today even though it's running lower base and boost clocks. As you probably know, base and boost clocks on Kepler are marketing values - the actual card will run different clock speeds due to NVIDIA's Boost Clock Algorithm. It seems that MSI has added some secret sauce, no other board partner has, to their card's BIOS. One indicator of this is that they raised the card's default power limit from 130 W to 175 W, which will certainly help in many situations. During normal gaming, we see no increased power consumption due to this change. The card essentially uses the same power as other cards, but is faster - leading to improved performance per Watt.
Overclocking works great as well and reaches the highest real-life performance, despite not reaching the lowest GPU clock. This is certainly an interesting development. We will, hopefully, see more board partners pick up this change. MSI's cooler works great as it is a well-established and proven solution. Fan noise of the card is very low in both idle and load, and temperatures are fine as well.
Overall, MSI did an excellent job improving on the NVIDIA reference design, resulting in a significantly better card. The card's price of $330 is the same as all other GTX 660 Ti cards we reviewed today. At that price the card easily beats AMD's HD 7950 in all important criteria: performance, power, noise, heat, performance per Dollar, performance per Watt. A lower price, around the $300 mark would put more pressure on AMD though, and would make the card more interesting for the group of gamers shopping in the $250-$300 range.