EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 09/17/2012 06:04 AM [ 5 comment(s) ]
Final words and conclusion
Ever since the launch of the GeForce GTX 660 we have tested many different GTX 660 brands, and it is interesting to see how close each and everyone of them is in terms of performance, clocks and overall performance.
EVGA did go a little more traditional with an all reference design PCB and cooler, but honestly .. there's just nothing wrong with that. The dual-slot single fan cooler works out well as it is a noiseless, or when using proper wording, inaudible product. The reference cooler does show slightly higher temperatures compared to all the dual-slot dual-fan madness from the competitors. Still, we noticed that the power consumption is a hint higher opposed to the other product and that indicates that EVGA uses a slightly higher GPU voltage for their fairly interesting overclock. We peaked at 76 Degrees Celsius, and that's absolutely fine. And let me reiterate, peaked .. not average ...
But as always let's first discuss the GeForce GTX 660 as reference product all by itself. With the new GK106 silicon NVIDIA certainly has a product at hands with the means to be extremely competitive in the mainstream market. It is however a little weird to see the product released so close after the Ti, and the 660 Ti definitely is my favorite product out of the two. Realistically though, the 660 Ti does come with a higher price tag and that's where the regular GeForce GTX 660 cards are going to rule. We expect these products to sell in the sub 250 EUR/USD segment once prices settle a little.
For that money you'll receive a card that is very capable of playing the very latest games. A rough equivalent would be saying that the 660 is performing somewhere in-between a GeForce GTX 570 and 580 .. and that's not a bad position. At the competitor side the competition is the Radeon HD 7870.
The 192-bit memory bus definitely has en affect, but being GDDR5 and running at roughly 6 Gbps really isn't as big of an Achilles heel as I expected. The fact that this mid-range product is equipped with 2GB of memory, does help as well as it is a great balance in-between frame buffer needs and 1920x1080/1200 monitor resolutions.
If you do purchase the reference clocked based products, hey no worries, crank open the power limiter to it's maximum and clock it at say 1050~1100 MHz on the core clock frequency. You will have forfeited a tiny little bit on power consumption but immediately the card will be at competitive GTX 660 Ti performance levels.
The GeForce GTX 660 is a card that is very lovely for those gaming at 1920x1080/1200. Your performance will be quite good and in balance with the games of 2012. In Battlefield 3 you are at roughly 42 frames per second on average with 4x AntiAliasing, 16xAF at Ultra quality settings. That's in 1920x1200 by the way. If we take Anno 2070 at the same resolution with the same settings in the very best quality we average out at ~60 FPS. Crysis 2 with the High Quality texture pack in DX11 at Ultra settings .. roughly 44 FPS. These are the scores that matter as they are in very acceptable ranges.
Power consumption then, it's low if you place it into context with the game performance. Roughly 110 Watt is what we measure during gaming. The card is allowed to peak to 140 Watts after that it'll starts throttling downwards in the clock frequency. That does pose a problem though, these card will not be grand overclockers as they quickly run into the power design limitations.
The noise levels for this product are absolutely gorgeous, as there really aren't any ... so the reference cooler stands ground when it comes to silence during gaming. Directly related to the cooler are GPU temperatures. The card will idle at give or take 30 Degrees C and we measured a maximum of 76 Degrees C under full workload. That really is normal. these remain peak measurements though so overall the temp could be a little lower even.
Overclocking itself then, I already mentioned the power design imitation on GK106 with the one 6-pin power connector but on top of that NVIDIA put brakes on tweaking. Your maximum added (software based) voltage will be 100 Mv (if the AIB/AIC partner supports voltage tweaking of course). The Power Limiter will get you a little extra out of the board, the EVGA SuperClocked card allowed a rather small +10% extra on the power design is possible. Meaning 140W x 1.10%= 154 Watt. Once the GPU reaches that power state or a certain heat level, it will start throttling down. Regardless of that fact, we where able to add another 45 MHz on the core clock frequency. This will boost the card into the sub 1180 MHz range depending on the detected power signature. The memory can be overclocked fairly well though, add +350 MHz and you'll end up at 6696 MHz. Your card now is 5 maybe 10% faster on average.
Okay it's time to wrap things up. It really all works out well for this card. Armed with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory the product is going to deliver as promised as the GTX 660 is an excellent mid-range product with a fair price tag. If a 1920x1080/1200 monitor resolution is your domain and when your budget is restricted at the sub 249 USD / 229 EUR range then products like shown today are just golden.
All modern games will run beautiful at that resolution with very decent framerates and image quality settings. So for roughly 230 EUR you get a competitive product on which playing the latest games won't be a problem at all and in the 1920x1080/1200 monitor segment. Overall good cooling, no noise, excellent game performance for the money and heaps of features. The DC GTX 660 from EVGA definitely comes recommended.
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