Inno3D iChill HerculeZ GeForce GTX 660 review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 10/18/2012 06:10 AM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Final words and conclusion
I'm impressed with what Inno3D has created here, The iChill Herculez is an impressive little monster. All the baseline concerns are covered and improved. You have your custom PCB, the factory overclock that lifts this card toward the GTX Ti performance wise and then that cooler. Granted not everybody is a fan of 3-slot coolers, but this one certainly does the job right. As a result you'll play games while the card remains chilled at roughly 55 Degrees C, whilst refusing to make any noise. We like that very much.
A great looking and very decent build is what you get. It comes factory overclocked and is customized and custom cooled. So again it is one of these cards where all the variables are done right and play out well.
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.
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.
The GeForce GTX 660 is a card that is perfect 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 44 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 62 FPS. Crysis 2 with the High Quality texture pack in DX11 at Ultra settings .. roughly 49 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 117 Watt is what we measure during gaming, a little higher then most other 660 cards but that's likely due to the higher clock frequency and the corresponding voltage level (which adjusts itself dynamically as well corresponding to the boost frequency and power states). The card is allowed to peak to 140 Watts. That does pose a problem though, these card will not be grand overclockers as they quickly run into the power design limitations.
As stated, the noise levels for this product are non-existent really. The HerculeZ cooler might not be the cutest cooler we have seen, but is certainly does its job really well, in a closed chassis you won't be able to hear it, well perhaps if you put your ear physically onto the PC chassis but it's just really silent. Also remember that you can disassemble the cooler and clean it out real easily, which is handy.
Directly related to the cooler are obviously GPU temperatures. The card will idle at give or take 30 Degrees C and we measured a maximum of 54 Degrees C under full workload. That again really is exemplary.
Overclocking -- I already mentioned the power design imitation on GK106. On top of that NVIDIA put brakes on tweaking for each any any board partner out there. 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 Inno3d card allowed 19% extra on the power design is possible. Meaning 140W x 1.19%= 167 Watt (there's your real reason for that second 6-pin connector). 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 50 MHz on the core frquency but honestly the card was hard to overclock as remember, this card come factory overclock for you. The memory can be overclocked really well though, we ended up at 7012 MHz. Your card now is 5 maybe 10% faster on average.
Okay it's time to wrap things up. Inno3D has a lovely product at hand with their iChill Herculez GeForce GTX 660. Really, I was impressed on all fronts but I am that kind of guy that hates noise and heat, and that's why I find this card so charming. The looks can be discussed, I know. Not everybody will be a fan of that three slot cooler, but the sheer reality is that it works really REALLY well.
The overall looks of the product are sturdy, the top plate, the component selection that all works out well for this card. The iChill card is equipped with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory and with that factory overclock simply will be 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 200~239 EUR range then Inno3D has a very competitive offering at hand for you. Almost all modern games will run beautiful at that resolution with very decent framerates and image quality settings. As such the Inno3D iChill Herculez GeForce GTX 660 is a card we can certainly recommend for any gamer that needs good gaming performance versus an okay price at that oh-so important Full HD resolution. Nice job Inno3D, nice job.
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We test and review the Inno3D iChill HerculeZ GeForce GTX 660. The new card is using a HerculeZ 2000XE cooler.