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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

ASUS GTX 660Ti TOP Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested, which may differ from future versions of the same product. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 660 Ti easily dominates competing graphics solutions that share the same $300 price point, such as AMD's Radeon HD 7870, but pushes graphical power to match performance with the more expensive Radeon HD 7950. Taking things a step further, the ASUS GTX660Ti DirectCU-II TOP delivers an additional 7-10% FPS bump beyond the stock GTX 660 Ti, usually giving it the power to surpass the ultra-premium $420 AMD Radeon HD 7970 in many games. For the comparisons that follow, we'll skip past reference design results and focus instead on how well the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU-II TOP video card performed its duty.

In the DirectX 10 game Crysis Warhead, the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU-II TOP nudged ahead of the Radeon HD 7970 by 1-FPS at 1920x1080 before slipped behind it using a less-demanding 1680x1050 resolution. DirectX 11 test results kept the GTX660Ti DirectCU-II TOP ahead in most tests. For example, the ultra-demanding DX11 graphics of Batman: Arkham Asylum made use of Kepler's optimized architecture, helping to deliver a staggering lead of 7-FPS over the more expensive Radeon HD 7970. Battlefield 3 continued the run, pushing the GTX660Ti DirectCU-II TOP more than 6-FPS beyond the Radeon HD 7970. Lost Planet 2 played well on all graphics cards when set to high quality with 4x AA, but that wouldn't keep the GTX660Ti DirectCU-II TOP from surpassing AMD's Radeon HD 7970 results by 8-FPS. In one of the few exceptions, Aliens vs Predator gave back the lead to AMD Radeon products over their NVIDIA counterparts. Metro 2033 is another demanding game that requires high-end graphics to enjoy quality settings, but like AvP this game benchmark favors Radeon products.

Synthetic benchmark tools offer an unbiased read on graphics products, allowing manufacturers to display their performance without optimizations or driver influence. Futuremark's 3DMark11 benchmark suite strained our high-end graphics cards with only mid-level settings displayed at 720p, forcing the $420 AMD Radeon HD 7970 to trail the $320 GTX660Ti DirectCU-II TOP in every test. Our Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark tests used maximum settings that strained GTX 660's limited 192-bit bandwidth, allowing it still surpass the Radeon HD 6970 but trail behind the R7970. Taking all our benchmark results into consideration, the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU-II TOP commands a decisive lead past its price-relative competition but also occasionally surpassed AMD's flagship Radeon HD 7970 graphics card that costs $100 more.

ASUS-GeForce-GTX-660Ti-DirectCU-II-TOP-Angle.jpg

Appearance is a much more subjective matter, especially since this particular rating doesn't have any quantitative benchmark scores to fall back on. This fact notwithstanding the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU-II TOP actually delivers something for its looks, offering more than flashy decals or colored plastic parts. ASUS' rugged DirectCU-II heatsink design renders function fashionable. DirectCU-II also keeps temperature and noise levels lower than we've seen on any previous GeForce GTX product, despite exhausting heated air back into the computer case.

Regardless of how you perceive this card's looks, construction is the one area where NVIDIA and ASUS continually shine. GTX660Ti DirectCU-II TOP's extremely quiet operation is due to Kepler's super-efficient cores that consume less energy and emit less heat than previous designs, earning my confidence that GeForce GTX 660 Ti will continue to impress gamers. ASUS SAP (Special Alloy Power) utilize long-lasting electronic components (such as chokes, capacitors, and MOSFETs) that combine with ASUS' DIGI+ VRM digital voltage management to ensure the most precise and stable overclock possible. GTX 660 Ti requires two 6-pin PCI-E power connections, which helps to keep this video card compatible with most user's existing power supply units. GeForce GTX 660 Ti has one of the shortest PCBs we've seen from a GTX-series model, which further reduces heat output and makes this a product suitable for more robust HTPC applications. Even better yet, now consumers have a single-GPU solution capable of driving three monitors in 3D Vision Surround with the inclusion of two DL-DVI ports with supplementary HDMI and DisplayPort output.

Defining value isn't easy, simply because hardware manufacturer's are constantly adjusting the price of their product, and please believe me when I say that prices change by the minute in this industry. The GeForce GTX 660 Ti "Kepler" graphics card demonstrates NVIDIA's ability to innovate the graphics industry while maintaining a firm lead in the mainstream market. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti shares the $299 price segment with AMD's Radeon HD 7870, yet performs beyond the more expensive 7950. With regard to the $320 ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU-II TOP video card, model TI-DC2T-2GD5, there's direct competition with the $420 high-end Radeon HD 7970. Even if we ignore GTX 660 Ti's faster FPS results, its added Kepler features and functionality run off the chart. Furthermore, only NVIDIA's video cards offer multi-display 3D gaming, Adaptive VSync, PhysX technology, GPU Boost, FXAA, and now TXAA.

Overall, I see excellent value from the GeForce GTX 660 series. Sharing the same speed and number of CUDA cores and 2GB GDDR5 as the GTX 670 is a huge plus, but the smaller 192-bit memory bandwidth may become a limiting factor and could penalize performance on large-scale video games that require lots of memory resources. NVIDIA's 28nm GK104 'Kepler' GPU has made a huge difference in power consumption and heat output, benefits that really have my attention, which ASUS improves upon by adding their DirectCU-II heatsink with ultra-quiet cooling fans. A fierce factory overclock defines the TOP branding for this card, and DIGI+ VRM features help ensure additional overclocking is met with success. I'm a fan of the GTX 660 Ti as a stand-alone product, but it's certainly worth considering two ASUS GTX660TI's in SLI to help solve the potential memory bandwidth bottleneck.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ Plenty of additional GPU overclocking headroom
+ Keeps pace with $420 Radeon HD 7970
+ DirectCU-II cools GPU extremely well
+ Digital DIGI+ VRM alloy power components
+ Best overall value for DX11 video games
+ Short profile fits into standard size computer cases
+ Triple-display and 3D Vision Surround support
+ Cooling fan operates at nearly-silent sound level
+ Supports cutting-edge DisplayPort monitor connectivity
+ Very low loaded power consumption
+ Kepler enables TXAA and NVIDIA GPU Boost

Cons:

- Heated air is exhausted back into computer case
- 192-bit bandwidth may potentially create bottleneck on memory-intensive games

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.25
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 7.75

Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

So what do you think of the ASUS GeForce GTX660Ti DirectCU-II TOP, and do you plan to buy one?


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Comments 

 
# 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: ##anandtech.com/show/6159/the-geforce-gtx-660-ti-review/7


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
Hi.
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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