EVGA GTX 660 Superclocked: 1080p For The Masses

The latest in Nvidia's Kepler line-up impresses with some killer performance and a wallet-friendly price tag.

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Back in March Nvidia unveiled the GTX 680, a high-end, super-powered, graphics monster that became the world's fastest GPU. Since then the chip-maker has released the GTX 670, and 660 Ti, both of which turned in an impressive performance too. The trouble is, for the average gamer none of those cards are particularly appealing when it comes to price; the GTX 680 is an eye-watering £400, while the 670 comes in at around £329 ($399), and the 660 Ti £249 ($299).

That's a significant chunk of change. Thankfully, there's another option for budget-conscious gamers looking to make the leap to the 600-series and DirectX 11 gaming: the GTX 660. It's based upon a new form of the Kepler chip architecture, imaginatively titled GK106. Core features include a TDP of 140 Watts, 960 CUDA cores, a 980 Mhz base clock, a boost clock of 1033 Mhz, 2GB of 192-bit GDDR5 memory, support for dual-SLI, and the ability to drive up to four monitors simultaneously. While those specs are a step down from the 1536 CUDA cores of the GK104-based GTX 680, they represent a significant leap from the GK107-based GT 640 and its measly 384 CUDA cores.

EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked

Like its more powerful cousins the GTX 660 is overclockable, and as such manufacturers are releasing their own tweaked versions of the card. One such card is EVGA's GeForce GTX 660 Superclocked, which features a base clock of 1046 Mhz, and a boost clock of 1111Mhz. That might only be a small increase in clock speed, but for those afraid to overclock, or those who simply don't want to risk voiding a manufacturer's warranty, it's a neat way to get a faster card straight out the box. Plus, that convenience doesn't cost more either, with EVGA's card retailing for £179.99, the same as standard versions.

If you are looking to overclock further, EVGA provides its Precision X and OC Scanner X software to make the process as pain-free as possible. Plus, it backs it up with one of the best warranties in the business, which runs for 3 years as standard, and can be extended further by registering your product for free. Oh, and the understated black and silver look of the card and single-fan arrangement is damn sexy too--obscene coolers and flashing lights just don't do it for us.

Performance

Nvidia claims the GTX 660 is designed for running games at 1080p (by far the most popular resolution for gaming), and at high settings. Sure enough, performance across the board in the GameSpot UK test rig was impressive, so much so that the card gives the Ti version a run for its money.

Test Rig Intel Core i5 2500K 8GB Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3 RAM ASUS P8Z68-V Motherboard Corsair HX850 PSU Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro Samsung 7200 RPM HD

In all the games we tested, and at ultra settings with tesselation and AA maxed out, the card achieved a minimum of around 40fps, making games easily playable. Turning down the anti-aliasing or switching detail levels to high pushed the frame rate well above 60. In less taxing games like Counterstrike; Global Offensive, Diablo III, and Starcraft II, the card pushed well over 100fps, making it a great budget choice for competitive gamers.

There's much to love about the GTX 660, from its cheaper price, to its reduced power consumption (it only requires a single six-pin PCI-E plug), to its accomplished performance. It hits that sweet spot between price and pixel-pushing-power that many gamers have been waiting for since the launch of the Kepler architecture.

Sure, if you're aiming to game above 1080p then a 670, a 680, or indeed a 7970 is a better choice. But, for the rest of us, the GTX 660 is simply a no-brainer.

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Discussion

0 comments
BestJinjo
BestJinjo

 @simplythebest12 HD7970 GE after-market versions are on sale for $450 (Gigabyte Windforce 3x 1100mhz 7970, Sapphire Vapor-X 7970). These are direct competitors to GTX680. Also, many reviews pitted a max overclocked 680 vs a maxed overclocked 7970 and the 680 still lost: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/msi-n680gtx-lightning.html

 

Right now HD7970 competes with 670 and 7970 GE with 680. The problem is something like a Sapphire Dual-X 7970 1Ghz on Newegg goes for $380 and has the performance of a GTX680 that costs $480 at least. NV charges $100 more for the same performance. Ridiculous unless you just play BF3 all day long or want PhysX badly. And then once you overclock HD7970 to 1150mhz or faster, it takes a 1280-1290 mhz GTX680 to match that. In other words, you will have ended up still spending way more on the 680 and not gotten any more performance.

 

670/680 cards are also much slower in many other games such as Alan Wake, Arma II DayZ Mod/Operations, Anno 2070, Skyrim + ENB Mods, Batman AC + MSAA, Metro 2033. Since Catalyst 12.7 drivers, AMD is now within 5-10% in performance in Crysis 2 and BF3, but in the games where NV trails, they are behind by 20-30%. 

 

Now AMD also signed on Far Cry 3, Medal of Honor Warfighter, Bioshock Inifinite, Tomb Raider for its gaming evolved which likely means HD7970 series will perform faster in those games as well.

 

Also, the HD7950 is as fast as GTX680 in Half Life 1 Black Mesa mod! 

Hobbes444
Hobbes444

Single slot version for HTPC users please??? (and I mean one that only takes up one slot, not one that needs one slot the the cooler sticks out enough that it should've just been called a dual slot card.)

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

$300 hardly seems wallet friendly.

fearless_alive
fearless_alive

I will upgrade my PC when the new consoles come out, as someone mentioned earlier. My rig isn't powerful at all to be honest. Quite old now. But still most of the games i can run just fine. Not saying maxed out or anything but on medium to high most part. The exceptions are like always the PC dedicated games which really give you PC a run for the money. Looking to upgrade to a 600 series EVGA soon and an IVY bridge i7 if everything goes well, mostly for video editing purposes. Still the 660 is a beast and 670 is the choice right now. Bit on the pricier side but totally worth it on the long run.

Kickable
Kickable

still not wallet friendly to me.  i need to get a better paying job.  or get my priorities straight, video games is too low on the totem pole

WCK619
WCK619

Tom's Hardware's latest article on best graphics cards for the money lists the Radeon HD 7870 as the best card in the ~$260 price range, and it's just as good a card as the 660.

jsrefrig
jsrefrig

I also have a GTX 560 seems ok but win 7 seems to not see it at boot time alot.

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

The GTX 670 is sort of the sweet spot of extreme graphics with excellent performance, kinda pricey, but worth it if you are planning to invest on a new upgrade for your 2007 GPU

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

i got a gtx 670 and i max every game at 60 orso, gw2 has some hiccu[s with particles at certain huge [v[ areas, otherwise ok

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

I have MSi 680 gtx Lightning with GPU reactor. Kneel before me, mortals.

mlcarter815
mlcarter815

The 600 series is definitely more of an improvement over the 500 series than the 500s were compared to the 400s. Probably about the time the 800s come out I'll be ready to upgrade my dual gtx 465s. 

stevie456
stevie456

I have a gtx 680 and it is the best thing ever :) Very rarely do I ever see frame lag with this puppy.

jhonMalcovich
jhonMalcovich

In my experience, go always for expensive cards. They last 4 years instead of 2, but the performace you will get these 4 years make up for anything.

 

sknight175216
sknight175216

Until the consoles catch up hardware-wise upgrading is really optional. You can usually wait 3 years or so before upgrading and be fine.

Tzunoy
Tzunoy

throw money on a power hunger monster. go ahead buy.

ramyland
ramyland

...i dont see the point of this topic and the benchmarks !!!...i run every game max out (even the whitcher 2 and batman arkham city) 1600x900 with my 2 and 1/2 year old hardware ( i5 700 + amd 5830)..i dont see the point in upgradil for at least 2 years!!!...

Joeguy00
Joeguy00

The MSI 660 Ti Power Edition is my target. When it drops from 295 to 250

I'll pick that up. It overclocks to reference 680 levels. That's not to shabby at all.

enriK233
enriK233

Enjoying my 570 for 1.5 year now :) no plan to get another card until new consoles are released.

Anigmar
Anigmar

If you want to have decent fps don't go for nothing lower than 660Ti. The 660 only is cheaper for a good reason, lower performance. I've had 260, 460 and 560Ti. All of them were nice cards but since Nvidia made the difference between normal and Ti I always go for Ti and it really shows when playing. The extra money is well spent. My current card is a GTX 670 OC version from Gigabyte and I'm very happy with it.

 

Also I have a question about these benchmarks. Did they try Arkham City in DX11? And why not Skyrim? I think the article is a bit weak and I recommend to anyone thinking on buying a new card to check hardware specialized sites for better and more professional analysis.

WCK619
WCK619

that's £110 for the 7870. Much better priced than this EVGA 660, and just as good.

Addict187
Addict187

Maxed out Whitcer 2 sure you did. Cool story bro but if my 2 6870s had a hard time maxing it out at 1080p i would think a 5830 would have a hard time @ 720p let alone 1600X900

simply_spike
simply_spike

 @ramyland Completely agree, I have a Core2Duo 8600 and a GTX 295 and I can play The Witcher 2 and Max Payne 3 maxed out fine @ 1650 x 1050. My GFX card is 4 years and my rig 5 years old.

Solid_Azeus
Solid_Azeus

 @enriK233 l will upgrade my SLI 570 when i can no longer smoothly play the latest games at max. video settings. So far it easily eats up any game thrown at it at max settings. Don't think I will be worrying about its performance for a few years new consoles or not.

edinko
edinko

 @enriK233

 I got an gtx570 overclocked too but i dont understand how it is tied to new consoles. The gtx570 will probably be much better than next gen consoles already so there wont probably be a reson to upgrade for standard gaming

Magician679
Magician679

 @Anigmar

 I am running a 560Ti 2 gb in my machine right now. It runs nice, plays sleeping dogs on max without a problem and runs skyrim close to max with fxaa and what not all on.

Lox_Cropek
Lox_Cropek

 @Anigmar The difference between the 660 Ti and the 660 is decent, but the difference between the 560 Ti and the 560 is really small.

TheJamin
TheJamin

gamespots pc articles are always weak. I doubt any of them do any serious PC gaming.  I also have the Gigabyte windofrce 670. great card. overclocks like a proper trooper.

ramyland
ramyland

 @Addict187

 

i run the game max out with everithing except  ubersampling on the witcher 2 even if the ubersampling aplied stil worked the game at a low framerate but playable 1600x900 , batman arkham city everithing max out except 2xAA 1600x900

GamespotAudio
GamespotAudio

 @simply_spike  @ramyland I dont think you have the slightest clue what "Maxed out" means.

 

There is literally no way in hell you had MAXED AA, Ubersampling, Ambient Occlusion, etc all maxed out on a GTX 295 in TW2.

 

You are completely full of shit.

EverestMan
EverestMan

 @GamespotAudio  @ramyland

 

At that resolution its not ouside of the realm of possibility. I'm running a GTX 260 oc'd to 756/1512/1215 and I run Witcher 2 and Arkham City maxed out 30-55fps (sans physx) at 1680x1050. Not having to run it at 1920x1080 really helps extend the life of an older graphics card. Gotta run BF3 on medium with high textures but other than that everything still gets maxed out.

joshmonus
joshmonus

 @edinko  

"570 will be much better than next gen consoles?"  what are you smoking?  

enriK233
enriK233

Yea right

The gtx 570 is by no means a powerful card even now and it's old, but it's sufficient till the next gen games come after 2 years. By that time it will already be 3 gen behind.

Anigmar
Anigmar

 @Magician679 For some reason I don't like AA. The reduced edges come with slight blurring in most cases, unless you go for MSAA but then fps take a good hit. 560ti with 2 gbs must work great, mine was 1 Gb and worked fine. That extra VRAM sure helps if you use a lot of AA.

Anigmar
Anigmar

 @Lox_Cropek Yes, but most of the time is worth it. You get more hardware power (even if it's a small bit) and also the Ti versions tend to have better cooling and power design allowing for better OC and stability. The drivers optimizations also seem to favor the Ti versions most of the time. Anyway as you say depends on the specific models.

Anigmar
Anigmar

 @TheJamin I love how cool and silent it is and the performance is great.

ramyland
ramyland

 @GamespotAudio  @simply_spike

 i run the game max out with everithing except  ubersampling on the witcher 2 even if the ubersampling aplied stil worked the game at a low framerate but playable , batman arkham city everithing max out except 2xAA

EverestMan
EverestMan

 @GamespotAudio So you probably dropped 400 on a new graphics card and are trying to validate the purchase I'm assuming. I originally thought you were just a smart ass but now it seems like you are rather insecure about something as no one in their right mind would get this up in arms over the semantics of maxed out.

 

simply_spike
simply_spike

 @GamespotAudio  @ramyland Apologies you are right, I can't remember exactly but I got pretty close with at least 8x AA as I like the play it. I just wanted to make the point that I am running the latest games on my old HW and they look pretty much exactly the same as they do on a new rig, speaking as someone who has seen the same games on i7 and a GTX 580.I am waiting for the next "Crysis" before I upgrade and I have been waiting for 5 years, the games don't seem to be keeping up with the technology or the emphasis seems to have changed and they are now concentrating on providing more and more environmental effects or improvements on shaders etc which are negligible once you are in the game - I want a ground-breaker to force me to upgrade so I can proudly play it "Maxed out".

 

That's what I should have written :P

edinko
edinko

 @joshmonus

 you joking or siemthing? you believe they put a 250-300 bucks card in a cheap console? of course it will be something subpar and as cheap as possible. THats why they are consoles. Its their purpose. They are low budget mainstream machines for everyone. lowest common denominator gaming. THey are making better use of the hardware cause of low os overhead but the chip itself will be something probably from the 50 dollar range at max.

enriK233
enriK233

 @edinko Who is telling you to upgrade now? I said 570 is great for another 2 years. I am upgrading my 570 after 2 years or when next gen consoles come because I don't want frame rate issues.

edinko
edinko

 @enriK233

 Well that depends on the point of view! The 6 series is of course better but why would i need to upgrade now then it runs everything maxed out super smooth? THere is no reason. ANd by the time i need to uprage there will be probaly a 7 series or even 8. IT would be just a waste of money. I cant gain anything by upragding cause everything already runs maxed out and super smooth high fps in combination with my core I7 cpu

GamespotAudio
GamespotAudio

 @Anigmar  @quantumtheo  @Magician679 TXAA is Nvidia specific, but NEEDS the developer of the software to enable it, it cannot be "forced" via GPU drivers.

 

Its really, REALLY nice (from what we have seen via the tech demos), it remains to be seen how many games support it. (I think Borderlands 2 is the only game right now)

Anigmar
Anigmar

 @quantumtheo  @Magician679 FXAA gives the best AA performance but it's also the lowest in image quality. I specially noticed on Max Payne 3. 2 MSAA looked way better than any amount of FXSAA. TXSAA looks ok but it's only for 600 series, right? Any site I can check for info on this? Nvidia site wouldn't be fair.

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

 @Anigmar  @Magician679 With FXAA and TXAA coming, the regular old AA will go the way of the Dodo... FXAA looks GREAT and can be enabled even on some older games.  Maxing the FXAA in Skyrim makes it so you only have to use 2x MSAA, it's a great combination and increases FPS a LOT.