Nvidia released many budget friendly graphics cards based on Kepler architecture like GT640, 650, 660 and 660 Ti.
The last one is a high end performance card, but with respect to other cards in Kepler series, it feels budget friendly and delivers amazing performance on a single monitor setup with 1920X1080 resolution.
Nvidia did few variations to release budget friendly cards based on the same architecture (Kepler) that holds mighty GTX 680 in it, so they had to rename the architecture.
Nvidia GTX 660 is based on one of those variations. It involves a different architecture that follows GK107 basically, but comes with a different name, i.e. GK106.
The card has only 5 SMX clusters in comparison to 8 clusters in GTX 680. But Nvidia claims that it doesn’t have any disabled clusters, i.e. it is a whole new architecture rather being a variation with some SMX cluster disabled. There are 192 CUDA cores in a single cluster, so we get 960 CUDA cores in GTX 660.
There are 80 Texture units that provide enough texture fill rate to run all current titles on highest settings (even Ultra for some of them) on a single monitor setup with 1920X1080 resolution.
This card chases GTX 660 Ti to a great extent and the overclocked version nearly matches its elder brother in terms of performance.
Clock speeds are turned down to reduce the price and that’s why there is headroom for self-overclocking or opting for an overclocked card by top manufacturers like Zotac, MSI, EVGA, Asus, etc.
It is really good to see a mainstream card performing so well in games like Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, Skyrim, World of Warcraft, Metro 2033, etc.
However, one must take care about memory size while purchasing this card. Some games, like Max Payne 3, don’t even start if proper memory limit is not met or crash often while playing the game.
Opting for a 2 GB card will dramatically increase the smoothness on higher settings and you won’t have the problem while working on multiple gpu-enabled programs, like Maya, Photoshop, Xilisoft Converter, etc.
Reference card comes with 4 display input, i.e. 1 HDMI, 1 DVI-I, 1 DVI-D and 1 Display port.
Heat dissipation of the reference card is not good, as was the case with GTX 660 Ti and remodeled cooling makes it a lot better. Opt for a dual-fan cooling with copper pipes to reduce the heat involved because in some cases, the card can heat up to 71 degrees Celsius under full load.
Dual fan configuration can reduce the heat and will give you 56 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius under full load.
This card uses 6-pin connector and reported TDP is 140 watt under full load, so a 500 watt SMPS will do well.
Pricewise, Nvidia GTX 660 is Rs.6000/- (approximately) cheaper than GTX 660 Ti and performs nearly same (with 5 to 10 FPS margin).
Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Price
In India: Rs.18026/- in comparison to GTX 660 Ti: Rs.24495/- at Flipkart.com
In US: $230 in comparison to GTX 660 Ti: $299.99 at Amazon.com
|GPU Engine Specs|
|Base Clock||980 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1033 MHz|
|Texture Fill Rate||78.4|
|Memory Speed ( Gbps )||6|
|Memory Amount||2048 MB|
|Memory Interface||192-bit GDDR5|
|FXAA and TXAA||Yes|
|Bus Type||PCI-E 3.0|
|Blu Ray 3D||Yes|
|Max DVI Resolution||2560x1600|
|Max VGA Resolution||2048x1536|
|Media Connection||Dual Link DVI-D|
|Dual Link DVI-I|
|Power and Temperature|
|Maximum Temperature||97 C|
|Power Consumption||140 w|
|Minimum Power Requirement||450 W|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) 3.3 GHz at 4.2 GHz|
|RAM||Corsair Vengeance Quad Channel 32 GB DDR3 1866 MHz @ 1.5V(CMZ32GX3M4X1866C10)(@ Factory Settings)|
|Motherboard||Asus P9X79 DELUXE 64GB DDR3 Intel Motherboard|
|Hard Disk||WD Caviar Black 2 Tb – WD2002FAEX, SATA 6 Gb/s, 3.5 Inch, 7200, 64 MB|
|Graphics Card||EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB GDDR5|
|Power Supply||Corsair Professional Series Gold AX1200 — 80+ Gold Certified|
|Crysis 2||Dirt Showdown|
|Battlefield 3||Max Payne 3|
|Diablo 3||The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim|
|Batman Arkham City||Metro 2033|
|GTA IV||World of Warcraft|
- Nvidia GTX 660 delivers satisfying performance in all current titles. Some titles need customized settings rather than using presets.
- Crysis 2 can be played on ultra-settings with Motion Blur set to low. However, you might find frame rates to drop below 30 in case of huge explosions. Playing on Hardcore settings (3rd level setting of Crysis 2) will provide you a smooth gameplay in every scenario.
- Battlefield 3 seems to tax this card more than expected. So, playing on High settings instead of Ultra is recommended. Customized ‘high settings’ will be better for a much smoother gameplay.
- Skyrim is currently the most optimized title in our benchmarking games because it performs extraordinarily well with both AMD and Nvidia cards.
- You can gladly turn on DX 11 and 8 times antialiasing and still have more than 55 frames per seconds.
- In short, open world games do tax mainstream cards and settings need to be customized, there are obviously some exceptions to that theory but average seems to be the same.
- Enabling PhysX requires even more power so you might have to turn your settings to medium if you can’t help yourself with disabling PhysX.
- FXAA gives you an aesthetically pleasing aliasing with naturally looking skin contours (rounded and not edged) and real-life objects, like poles, cars, roads, walkways, etc.
- Enabling DX 11.0 is must if you looking for a life-like experience in games. It enabled realistic hair, integrated cloth simulation, better surface mapping, ambient occlusion, water simulation, water dampness, etc.
- Some scenario might not be visible with medium settings like Global Illumination because they are apparent on high or ultra-settings only. So, dabble with the settings until you find your perfect scene.
Needless to say, Nvidia GTX 660 presents a better budget friendly solution than GT 640 and 650, where you can play games on high and ultra-settings. The card is future proof for at least 2 years because it will be able to play those next gen titles on at least lowest settings as they improve further.
Some might find this card expensive at Rs.18000/- and for them, GTX 650 and GTX 650 Ti will be the only way around. I don’t blame them because these two cards are fine for occasional gaming needs.
You can hope for some fine gaming with this card and rest assured that it will be able to play Crysis 3 on at least medium settings.
We’ll see how it performs against soon-to-be released games like Far Cry 3, NFS Most Wanted 2012, and Hitman: Absolution, later on and you will catch a drift on how it will perform against 2013 gaming titles.
If you would like hold on for next year, then it will be justified because Nvidia is going to release GTX 700 series based on GK110 architecture (rumored).
It must be noted that new cards are often expensive and enthusiast level, when a new series is released.
But if you don’t have a card or your previous card is too old, then purchasing this card would be a good idea.
If you are already playing with this card then your feedbacks will be very much appreciated. As a matter of fact, any kind of related discussion will be most welcomed.
I’ll try to resolve queries as soon as possible.