Final words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
Admittedly, out of all 660 Ti products we have tested thus far I seem to have a weak spot for this Inno3D iCHILL edition. It is all about that cooler, it's silent and gaming at roughly 50 Degrees C seriously kicks frickin ass.
But let's first discuss the GeForce GTX 660 Ti as reference product all by itself. NVIDIA has a product in their hands that might become the best selling product ever. Initially I did expect a new GPU for this product series, but they went ahead with the Kepler based GK104 that's being used in the GTX 670 and GTX 680 as well. It really proofs how sturdy and efficient that GPU is.
The release also confused me a little bit, as realistically the GeForce GTX 670 will become an obsolete product. The difference in performance are very close, especially the factory overclocker products (which all board partners send out for review). Bare in mind that a reference GeForce GTX 660 Ti is a good chunk slower then the GTX 670, all the factory OC based products are clocked roughly 100 MHz above the reference clock -- that's what brings it so close to that GTX 670. 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 3GB of memory, does help as well as it is a great balance in-between frame buffer needs and 1920x1200 monitor resolutions.
If you do purchase the reference clocked based products, hey now worries, crank open the power limiter to it's maximum and clock it at 1 GHz 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 670 performance levels.
What about the competition then ? Well if I purely look at reference clocked products then priced at 300 USD the closest product from AMD is the Radeon HD 7870. At 50 bucks higher the next one in line is the R7950. We expect the factory overclocked GTX 660 Ti's to be at that price level. Realistically though the real competitor at reference clocks is that R7870, and that is a problem for AMD. We so expect price drops as a result of this release. Performance wise with an exception here and there the GeForce GTX 660 Ti wins with a healthy margin.
The GeForce GTX 660 Ti is a card that is downright perfect for those gaming at 1920x1080/1200. Your performance will be near perfect and completely in balance with the games of 2012. In Battlefield 3 you are at roughly 45 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 70+ FPS. Crysis 2 with the High Quality texture pack in DX11 at Ultra settings .. roughly 50 FPS. These are the scores that matter.
Power consumption then, it's low if you place it into context with the game performance. Roughly 135 Watt is what we measure during gaming. The card is allowed to peak to 150 Watts.
The noise levels for this product ... well there aren't any really. The iCHILL cooler does a incredible job, in a closed chassis you won't be able to hear it. Directly related to the cooler is obviously temperatures. The card will idle at give or take 30 Degrees C and we measured a maximum of 50~55 Degrees C under full workload. Even overclocked it remained at these levels.
Overclocking - NVIDIA put brakes on tweaking. Your maximum added (software based) voltage will be 100 Mv. The Power Limiter will get you a little extra out of the board, an extra +32% on the power design is possible. Meaning 150W x 1.32%= 192 Watt. Once the GPU reaches that power state or a certain heat level, it will start throttling down. regardless of it, we where able to add another 120 MHz on the core. That in combo with the increased power limiter and an added 100Mv will make the card boost stable towards 1300 MHz. That certainly is impressive. The memory can be overclocked as well, add +425 MHz and you'll end up at just over 7000 MHz. Your card already was 10% faster then reference and now is another 10% faster.
As far as we are concerned, Inno3D simply has a very strong offering with the GeForce GTX 660 Ti iCHILL edition. The factory clock makes it perform close to the GTX 670 And if you need a little extra, there is tweaking room left. 2 GB over 3GB, what's the weapon of choice here ? Well, currently 2 GB is more then sufficient of you play games up-to a monitor resolution of 1920x1200. If you like to be a little more future proof then the extra 1 GB on the 3GB models certainly will not hurt, especially if you are the kind of guy that loves to install high-resolution texture packs etc. For gaming on monitors we feel the 3GB editions are mandatory, that's where framebuffer matters more. Mind you that for a limited time only you'll find a coupon inside the box for a free downloadable copy of Borderlands 2 (released September 21, 2012).
Due to its completely custom design, terrific cooler and added memory we expect the Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti iCHILL edition to be in the 349 USD price range. That makes this a premium product as far as we are concerned, we absolutely love it though. It's a card we can and will wholeheartedly recommend.