Manufactured by Zotac. MSRP at launch 300 USD
Zotac and ASUS GeForce GTX 660Ti Reviewed
With the launch of the Kepler architecture last year, Nvidia launched the fastest (single GPU) graphics card to date, the GTX 680. The same happened when they launched the GTX 690, making it literally the fastest graphics card (with dual GTX 680s) in the world. The GTX 670 was in a class of its own at launch, but regardless of how powerful these cards were, their high price point meant that they were out of reach for the majority of PC gamers worldwide.
Today marks the launch of the last in the line of the Kepler based GeForce 600 series cards, with the long awaited GTX 660Ti. With the GTX 460 and the GTX 560 as two of the most popular cards, according to the recent hardware survey, it seems fit that many people will be getting the GTX 660Ti, and it’s a wait that will have been well worth it.
It seems that the recent rumors were true, and the GTX 660Ti is just a slightly cut down version of the GTX 670, which itself is an incredibly powerful card. The interesting thing is, with the power of the Kepler architecture, the GTX 660Ti has the potential to beat the most powerful Fermi-based card, the GTX 580!
So let’s check out our contestants for the day, the Zotac GeForce GTX 660Ti AMP! Edition & ASUS GTX 660Ti DirectCUII TOP.
Zotac GTX 660Ti AMP! Edition
Zotac’s entry for the GTX 660Ti comes to us in the form of their AMP! Edition series, which comes with a custom heatsink on a custom PCB and the highest clocked speeds of any Nvidia partner. The fact that the Zotac GTX 660Ti AMP! Edition comes with a free Steam code for the upcoming Borderlands 2 is just icing on the cake. According to Nvidia, a lot of partner firms will be bundling the GTX 660Ti with Borderlands 2, which is a $60 proposition, making the GTX 660Ti a sub-$200 card in essence! Indeed the Zotac GTX 660Ti AMP! Edition which costs $329 will come to $270 when you exclude the cost of the game.
The Zotac GeForce GTX 660Ti AMP! Edition measures just 7.5-inches, making it a uniquely small and powerful card. The heatsink sits directly on top of the GPU and surrounding VRM and memory chips, with three copper heatpipes spreading out into the aluminum fins. The whole setup is cooled by two 75mm fans, topped up by a metal cover.
The small size, cool heatsink, highest factory overclock, and bundled code of Borderlands 2 makes the Zotac GeForce GTX 660Ti AMP! Edition one of the most desirable mid-range cards on the market right now.
ASUS GTX 660Ti DirectCUII TOP
ASUS has launched the GTX 660Ti in typical fashion with their high-end DirectCUII TOP heatsink attached to a reference sized card. Sadly the ASUS card doesn’t come with a copy or code for Borderlands 2, but it does cost $30 less. Value for money, however, still goes to the Zotac card which comes to $270 (excluding the game price).
Still, there’s a lot of stuff about the ASUS card that makes it an attractive deal. The 10.5-inch card may not be as small as the Zotac, but the larger heatsink gives it the advantage of a potentially higher degree of overclocking.
The heatsink covers the entire card, with three heatpipes coming out from direct contact with the GPU to the aluminum fins on top. Two 80mm fans keep the card cool, but the plastic cover on top was a little disappointing. Still, with their 6-phase DIGI + VRM design the ASUS GTX 660Ti DirectCUII TOP promises to be rock solid, even under the most demanding overclocks.
For testing the two GeForce GTX 660Ti graphics card, the below testbed was used.
I knew that both cards had a decent bit of factory overclock, so it wasn’t surprising to see that there wasn’t much headroom remaining for even higher speeds. And while the ASUS card seems much better on paper, the memory overclock on the Zotac card actually helps it close the gap, and in most cases take the lead over the ASUS.
Below are the details of how each benchmark was conducted with specific details of settings used. All of the below benchmarks were run at a resolution of 1920×1080.
Temperature and Noise
At factory settings, the Zotac card ran quieter than the ASUS, with speeds of 1170RPM compared to 1290RPM respectively. However, when under load, it ran quite fast, at 2310RPM, while the ASUS fans blew at 2130RPM. Still, the Zotac may have higher speeds, but due to having smaller fans, it ended up being just as quiet as the ASUS during idle and under load. Even in SLI, there wasn’t much noise coming from the two GTX 660Ti cards. Of course, part of the reason is that they were both using custom cooling solutions, and the other part is that our test MSI Z77A-GD80 motherboard has a 1-inch gap between the two PCIe cards.
Temperatures were also impressively low as you can see from the graph below.
Using our 850W Thortech Thunderbolt Plus PSU the below total system power usage readings were seen.
The Nvidia GTX 660Ti is the answer all mainstream PC gamers were looking for since the beginning of this year. At the price point of $300, the GTX 660Ti not only outclasses AMD’s similarly priced HD 7870 card, but it’s also able to go toe to toe with the higher-end HD 7900 series. Stretched to their limits when overclocked, the GTX 660Ti also starts encroaching on GTX 670’s hallowed territory.
For a sub-$200 to $300 price range, there’s really nothing better than the Kepler based GTX 660Ti in the market right now. All you have to do is decide which partner firm to go with. Between the two, I’d definitely go with the Zotac GeForce GTX 660Ti AMP! Edition because of its ridiculously small size and Borderlands 2 bundle. At this point the only reason to go with the ASUS GTX 660Ti DirectCUII TOP is simple brand loyalty, but don’t let that sway you.
Zotac GTX 660Ti AMP! Edition
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Faster than GTX 580 and HD 7800 series, and performs on par with HD 7900 series while being cheaper than them