EVGA Geforce GTX 660 review £189

13th Sep 2012 | 19:02

EVGA Geforce GTX 660 review

Nvidia's latest makes Kepler even sweeter with a lower price tag

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

Like:

Affordable price; Runs quietly; SLI and 3D support;

Dislike:

Doesn't blow 500-series away;

Introduction and Architecture

Ever since Nvidia debuted its new Kepler architecture with the GeForce GTX 690 and the GeForce GTX 680, the GPU mogul has been working its way down the price point tree. At $1,000 and $500, prices ranged from jaw dropping to still pretty unaffordable. The GeForce GTX 670 came next, but at $400, it was still above the reach of the average gamer's wallet.

When the Geforce GTX 660Ti hit shelves last month at $300, pricing for Nvidia's new Kepler cards finally hit a sweet spot of affordability and graphical horsepower. Now the fashionably late Geforce GTX 660 has arrived, with a release date of Sept. 13 and $229 price tag, how does this latecomer stack up against the earlier arrivals in terms of power versus price?

The Geforce GTX 660 may be the most affordable member of Nvidia's 600-series, but it's still packing serious hardware. It has 2GB of memory, just like its bigger brothers, and has 960 CUDA cores spread across five SMX units, which is not a big step down from the 1,344 found in the 660Ti, considering the price.

It's a card designed to run the latest shooters and RPG adventures at a crisp 1080p HD resolution like 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 at reliable frame rates. The 2560x1600 resolution, which looks so awesome on mammoth displays, will remain out of your reach, at least with a single 660 in your rig (the 660 is SLI ready).

In hard numbers, the 660 hasn't been chopped down much from the 670. Just like the 660Ti, it sports 24 ROPs, a 384KB L2 Cache, a 192-bit memory interface and 144.2 GB/s of total memory bandwidth. Console gamers may have to wait a bit for the next generation of gaming to hit their television, but for PC gamers, it's here.

EVGA Geforce GTX 660 review

EVGA Superclocked

In addition to SLI capabilities, the GTX 660 can be overclocked, and EVGA has done so, releasing a card with a base clock of 1046 Mhz, and a boost clock of 1111Mhz. If you're nervous about overclocking a card and voiding your warranty, a card that's already cranked up right out of the box should help your nerves.

Better yet, EVGA backs its work with a three-year warranty, which can be upgraded to 10 years if you register and drop a $30 fee. Basically, there's no reason to worry that the tweaking they've done will end up burning your card and your bank account.

Benchmarks and Verdict

Benchmarks are the meat of any graphics card review. We put the EVGA Geforce GTX 660 through its paces, and stacked it up against one of Nvidia's most powerful cards, the GTX 680, last year's EVGA GTX 560 SC and the comparably priced Radeon HD 7850 to provide some sense of scale.

Benchmarks

All benchmarks were run on the highest settings at 1920x1200, (except when otherwise noted) with 4X MSAA enabled. Our test bed consisted of an Intel Core i7-3960X at stock speeds on an Asus P9X79 Deluxe board with 16GB of DDR3/1600 RAM, a 256GB Samsung 830 series SSD drive and a 1050W Thermaltake power supply.

DirectX 11 tessellation performance: Frames per second: higher is better

Unigine Heaven 2.5

EVGA GTX 680: 49

EVGA Geforce GTX 660: 35

XFX Radeon HD 7850: 31

DirectX 11 gaming performance: Frames per second: Higher is better

Far Cry 2

EVGA GTX 680: 154

EVGA Geforce GTX 660: 117

XFX Radeon HD 7850: 103

EVGA GTX 560 SC: 91

Metro 2033

EVGA GTX 680: 28

EVGA Geforce GTX 660: 24

XFX Radeon HD 7850: 23

EVGA GTX 560 SC: 17

Batman Arkham City

EVGA GTX 680: 94

EVGA Geforce GTX 660: 76

EVGA GTX 560 SC: 40

XFX Radeon HD 7850: 60

Total War: Shogun 2

Run at 1920x1080 with graphics on High

EVGA GTX 680: 63

EVGA Geforce GTX 660: 48

EVGA GTX 560 SC: 34

XFX Radeon HD 7850: 47

EVGA Geforce GTX 660 review

We Liked

Pretty much everything. At $229, EVGA's Geforce GTX 660 is a great a value. It's considerably cheaper than Nvidia's next most powerful card, the GTX 660Ti, and edges out the comparably priced Radeon HD 7850. While it isn't built for the monster resolutions that card supports, it provides a reliable 1080p performance. Competitive multiplayer gamers will definitely want to ease off some of the more intense detail levels and anti-aliasing in favor of higher frame rates, but this should be expected with a mid-level card.

We didn't like

Not that much. If you can afford it, we'd still recommend the GTX 660Ti, especially if there's a massive monitor in your future. That card pumps out resolutions the regular GTX 660 can't handle reliably. Also, it's not a giant leap forward from the GTX 580 or a GTX 560, but if you're still using a 400-series cards like the GTX 460 or a 9800 GT, the 660 will be a great upgrade.

Verdict

The Geforce GTX 660 is a great value. If you're not looking to play on a jumbotron at 2560x1600, it will be enough to power your gaming sessions on the latest PC titles. With DVI-I and DVI-D inputs as well as DisplayPort and HDMI, it's more than ready for your home gaming setup. Dual SLI-support is nice as well, as support 3D, if you've got the matching display and glasses to support the extra dimension.

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