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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 16 August 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS GeForce GTX 660Ti DirectCU-II TOP
First Look: ASUS GTX 660Ti TOP
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX11: 3DMark11
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Batman Arkham City
DX11: Battlefield 3
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 3.0
Temperature and Power Consumption
ASUS GPU Tweak Overclocking
ASUS GTX 660Ti TOP Conclusion


Like the CPU found inside computer systems, the GPU found in video cards almost never reaches 100% usage. In fact, the CPU and GPU rarely use more than 10% of their available power, yet consume energy regardless of how much is actually needed. NVIDIA has recognized this, and followed suite with CPU manufacturers to offer variable clock speeds and power consumption. NVIDIA GPU Boost is a combination of dedicated hardware circuitry that continually monitors GPU power consumption along with software technology that works in the background. NVIDIA GPU Boost enables the GeForce GTX 660 Ti video card to dynamically adjust power and clock speeds based on real-time application demands, automatically tweaking these settings several times per second. In some of the more demanding video games and applications there may occasionally be a time when the GPU is being fully utilized, which is when NVIDIA GPU Boost increases clock frequency to deliver improved graphics performance and higher image quality.

ASUS GPU Tweak Utility

In the past, software-based overclocking on ASUS video cards had been accomplished through the ASUS SmartDoctor software (and GamerOSD tool prior to that). Now all overclocking and status monitoring tasks are handled by ASUS GPU Tweak and Monitor software (illustrated below).

ASUS GPU Tweak (GPUTweak.exe) allows users to adjust a controlled range of GPU core and boost clock speeds, memory clock speed, cooling fan power, minimum GPU voltage, and maximum boost power target. Tuning controls are part of the GPU Tweak portion of the software, which users can compliment by adding the Monitor (Monitor.exe) tool which is displayed along the left side when is enabled.

The ASUS Monitor utility can be customized to show metrics for every measurable aspect of the graphics card, allowing the user to add/remove fields as they see fit. Additionally, ASUS Monitor can record data to a log file saved onto the computer system. In the illustration of Monitor below (left side), I've demonstrated how particular times can be hovered over to gather data from that period, or set multiple periods using right-click.


GPU Tweak Overclocking

Unlike previous versions of NVIDIA GeForce video cards, the 600-series contain specific overclock ranges that ensure software tools do not adjust outside of safe parameters. These parameters vary between products and are set by the hardware's firmware programming, so not all products of the same model will share the same available range of settings.

GPU Boost Clock manipulates the top-end speed for the video card, which is controlled by hardware and software demands (GPU Boost is discussed elsewhere in this article). The GPU Boost speed is not the same as the base core clock speed, which is not able to be adjusted as it has been with previous graphics products. GPU Boost works together with the Power Target ratio to determine how often or how high an overclocked 'boost' is established.

The graphics card uses an auto-tuned fan profile by default, although experienced users may manually tune their fan speed using the sliding fan-power scale to suit their cooling needs. The ASUS GTX660Ti DirectCU-II TOP model operates extremely quiet even at 100% power, but it's better to use a purpose driven profile that reduces noise if possible. For this purpose, ASUS GPU Tweak eneables a feature where users may define their own custom fan power scale with transition points.

Once the desired settings have been tested stable, the ASUS GPU Tweak can be used to store up to four custom profiles (using buttons 1, 2, 3, 4), or apply one of two pre-set profiles: Power Saving (button P) or Gaming (G).


660Ti DirectCU-II TOP Overclocking

Because the ASUS GeForce GTX 660Ti DirectCU-II TOP comes from the factory with a substantial overclock, it's difficult to imagine having much overclocking headroom out of a GPU that's already been stretched 144 MHz/157 MHz (Boost) past the reference speeds. To my surprise, I was able to achieve 1200 MHz (Boost) stable NO additional power or increase to power target. However, with a bump to minimum and target power settings there was room to bump the speeds to a 'mostly stable' 1210 MHz Boost.

Test Item Reference GPU GTX660 TOP TOP Overclock
ASUS 660Ti DirectCU-II TOP 915/980*MHz 1059/1137*MHz 1122/1200*MHz
DX11: 3dMark11 GT1 37.8 40.0 43.1
DX11: 3dMark11 GT2 35.8 39.7 43.0
DX11: 3dMark11 GT3 48.4 50.8 54.7
DX11: 3dMark11 GT4 23.2 25.3 26.9
DX11: Aliens vs Predator 43.8 45.4 47.4
DX11: Batman Arkham City 60 62 64
DX11: Battlefield 3 53.5 59.6 61.1
DX11: Heaven 3.0 35.6 37.9 40.0
DX11: Lost Planet 2 69.7 70.9 74.9
DX11: Metro 2033 35.7 37.7 39.0

*Please note that the actual NVIDIA GPU Boost clock speed will vary, depending on system conditions and application demands. Typical GPU Boost speed shown.

Overclocking Summary: Upgrading performance from NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti reference speeds to ASUS GTX660Ti DirectCU-II TOP levels, nearly every game tested jumped 2-3 FPS thanks to the factory overclock. Pushing even farther to a 1200 MHz GPU Boost clock speed, we captured another 2-3 FPS over the TOP results at 1920x1080 resolution. Essentially, our maximum overclock resulted in 5-7 FPS beyond reference values and closed the gap between a stock GTX 660 Ti and GTX 670. Every extra frame translates into an advantage over your enemy.



# Good valueRealNeil 2012-08-16 07:25
These things are gonna drive market prices down. With such stellar performance from these GTX660Ti cards, AMD will have to do something.
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# RE: Good valuehcforde 2012-08-18 19:55
I think the BOOST bios is suppose to help in addressing that in the 7950 series and the GHZ cards in the 7970 series
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# RE: ASUS GeForce GTX 660Ti DirectCU-II TOPDoug Dallam 2012-08-16 16:28
I didn't read the entire article in depth, so if you have already stated this, excuse the redundancy.

Is the GTX 660 the same card as the 660ti TOP except for OCing?
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# RE: RE: ASUS GeForce GTX 660Ti DirectCU-II TOPOlin Coles 2012-08-16 16:35
GTX 660 is/should be GTX 660 Ti, and the TOP edition is an ASUS special product that uses a very high factory overclock.
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# Reader friendly graphsSudarshan_SMD 2012-08-17 05:45
@benchmarkreviews team
The graph representation you are using looks ugly and are difficult to read. It's bit confusing to read the graph, for instance I read the figure on bar, ok, but what is that figure for? I have refer the bottom of graph again to find what card it is for.
Maybe I am over-reacting, but it can be much simpler.
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# RE: Reader friendly graphsOlin Coles 2012-08-17 07:27
Why don't you give us an example of how it could be done better?
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# RE: RE: Reader friendly graphsSudarshan_SMD 2012-08-17 08:53
Hi Sire,
I am glad you took a notice of it and I hope you are not joking when you are asking for example.
Maybe something like this:

Sire, I am in no way saying anything about the content of the review. It's just about the graph. Cheers.
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# RE: RE: RE: Reader friendly graphsDoug Dallam 2012-08-18 16:01
I tend to agree with this. It's much easier to read. I've never liked the BMR graphs.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Reader friendly graphsOlin Coles 2012-08-18 16:11
Which is odd, since you've written for us and know that you're free to use/make any graph you like. Of course, then again, you never really made it into the demanding reviews that require charts.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Reader friendly graphsDoug Dallamllam 2012-08-18 16:14
Right I've never created graphs or I may have suggested a different style. It's not a huge deal either. but the clearer the graph, the easier it is for readers to glean information at a glance.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Reader friendly graphshcforde 2012-08-18 19:53
OUCH!! Let's play nice
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# RE: ASUS GeForce GTX 660Ti DirectCU-II TOPDoug Dallam 2012-08-18 20:37
What's not nice? Olin and I are both making factual comments here. Unless I've said something mean, I see nothing here that would cause me to think anything otherwise. It's good someone pointed out the graphs could be more clear. I think the reason no one has is that it is true, they are a little hard too read, and also that it's not a deal breaker. So no one said anything.
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# electroman0076electroman0076 2012-08-19 10:49
I have always found the graphs used by benchmark reviews to be hard to read the problem is matching colors from the key to the graph, it's often hard to determine the dark colors from one another in particular when they add more cards to the mix.
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# everything's fineresere 2012-08-20 06:10
I mean, the review is ok. the board is good, even the comptetition is not bad.
And the graph is ok. not brilliant, but fine. Me genius? neah.
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# Graph ClarityAmyn 2012-08-21 08:49
After reading the comments first, I was intrigued to see the graphs.
I can't say I remember taking notice of them if ever the times I have read any review.
And I think they are fine, even the color coded part. I can understand the color brown and grayish black were a bit difficult to discern, but once I got they are in order on both top and bottom, it wasn't too challenging.
Bottom line: Graphs nice and clear.
One mans opinion.
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