|ASUS GeForce GTX 660Ti DirectCU-II TOP|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 16 August 2012|
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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.
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.
+ Plenty of additional GPU overclocking headroom
- Heated air is exhausted back into computer case
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?