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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB SuperClocked
First Look: EVGA GTX660 SC
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
EVGA Precision Overclocking
EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC Conclusion

NVIDIA GPU Boost

Like the CPU found inside most modern desktop computer systems, the GPU inside a video card 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 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.

GPU Boost clock manipulates the top-end speed for the video card, which is controlled by hardware and software demands. 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.

NVIDIA GPU Boost is not some marketing gimmick, it's a way for manufacturer's to ensure their product performs well on demand while conserving power whenever it sits idle. GPU Boost also complicates how enthusiasts define their clock speed. There's the core speed, which is a constant clock speed that never changes, and then there's the ever-changing Boost speed. Furthermore, the maximum GPU Boost speed is a target clock range the video card will attempt to operate at if it can maintain the defined power profile.

EVGA Precision X Overclocking Utility

EVGA offers a free software utility to overclocking enthusiasts named Precision X. EVGA Precision X is completely free software, and works with almost every video card on the market regardless of manufacturer. Register and download the utility from here: http://www.evga.com/precision/

This tool can be used to squeeze additional performance from one or more video cards by tweaking GPU and memory clock speeds within defined ranges based on the product. 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. Voltage can be adjusted using the and power target setting, which helps to unlock greater GPU speeds.

EVGA Precision X is also useful for fine-tuning the cooling fan power profile as well as the temperature response curve. 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. Most GeForce GTX 600-series video cards already operate quietly even at 100% power, but it's better to use a purpose driven profile that reduces noise whenever possible. For this purpose, EVGA Precision enables a feature where users may define their own custom fan power scale with transition points.

The EVGA Precision X utility also allows hardware enthusiasts to monitor various aspects of their computer components, and can be customized to show metrics for every measurable aspect of the graphics card. Once the desired settings have been tested stable, EVGA Precision X can store up to ten custom profiles using buttons 1, 2, 3, etc. Some features such as Frame Rate Target help energy-conscious users conserve power while playing video games or working on the computer.

EVGA-GeForce-GTX-660-PC-PrecisionX.png

EVGA GTX 660 SC Overclocking

Because the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SuperClocked 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 well past the reference speeds. Using the retail kit 02G-P4-2662-KR for testing, I was able to achieve an additional 79MHz to the already-high GPU core clock. This raised the GPU Boost target, and was good for a few more FPS. Here are the results:

Test Item Reference GPU GTX 660 SC Max Overclock GTX 660 Ti
EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC 980/1033*MHz 1046/1111*MHz 1125/1190*MHz 915/980*MHz
DX11: 3dMark11 GT1 29.5 30.8 33.5 37.9
DX11: 3dMark11 GT2 29.5 31.0 33.6 35.8
DX11: 3dMark11 GT3 39.9 42.1 44.8 48.4
DX11: 3dMark11 GT4 18.7 19.6 20.9 23.2
DX11: Aliens vs Predator 42.8 43.8 44.8 43.8
DX11: Batman Arkham City 59 60 62 60
DX11: Battlefield 3 48.7 50.0 52.2 53.5
DX11: Heaven 3.0 32.2 33.4 34.9 35.6
DX11: Lost Planet 2 55.4 57.2 60.6 69.7
DX11: Metro 2033 33.0 33.7 36.3 35.7

*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: At reference speeds (980/1033*MHz) the GeForce GTX 660 performs well, but when giving a modest factory overclock the EVGA GTX 660 SC really matches up nicely to the more-expensive GTX 660 Ti (see chart above). For the most part, there was an average 1-FPS difference between reference clock speeds, the EVGA GTX 660 SC, and the 660 SC with maximum stable overclock. Every extra frame translates into an advantage over your enemy.



 

Comments 

 
# Prices a bit higherWade 2012-09-13 11:52
Newegg $299.99, Amazon $309.99, J&R $319.99, TigerDirect $329.99, MacMall $363.99 - these start about 25% higher than the listed MSRP but, as Olin pointed out, this is the first month and they are sure to change. I would expect the prices to become lower as the holidays approach and this is the best card for the money that I have seen in a couple of years.
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# RE: Prices a bit higherOlin Coles 2012-09-13 12:46
I think you've got the wrong product, because this is the GTX 660 and not the 660 Ti. Newegg lists the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SuperClocked for $229.99
newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130826
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# RE: Prices a bit higherWade 2012-09-13 13:58
I think you are right, Olin - my mistake. It is difficult to find listings/prices for the SC - in fact I can only find the one you supplied. Most vendors are listing the GTX 660 Ti SC because that version is also SuperClocked. I hope this does not portend short supplies and is just a temporary deficit while vendors stock up.
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# RE: RE: Prices a bit higherOlin Coles 2012-09-17 07:54
Less than a week later, this card is now priced for $224.99 at Newegg.
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# value- 8.5?pabs 2012-09-17 07:50
I don't understand your rating system as you gave the card an 8.5 for value, where you clearly state that the card has "value-packed performance" and dominates cards in its price range and comes close to cards twice as expensive. So the question is ... why an 8.5 for value? shouldn't it be closer to a 10?
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# RE: value- 8.5?Olin Coles 2012-09-17 07:53
A score of 10 would imply that no other product comes close to offering the same value, and that's just not true. It's got a lot more value than most products, but not by so much more that it deserves a ten. Make a decision for yourself, and use our ratings (which we already mention are our own) as a guide.
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# goodamir from iran 2012-09-17 08:45
Nvidia The Best Graphic Card In world I Like It .for evvvvvver

the new product nVIDIA best price and best work its mean to be play
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# Energy MisersDale S 2012-09-23 08:17
Good review, Colin. One of these babies is going into my first build.

These GPUs are getting so efficient that you might just be able to SLI two together and still get by with only a 650W power supply.
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# Easily on 650 :)MRutten 2012-10-04 10:30
Yes, Dale S, you can easily run dual SLI on the GTX660 with an 80plus 650w power supply.

That's exactly what I am going to be building the coming few weeks, putting in a LEPA 650G which gives me headroom to OC both the GPUs and the i3570k.

Incase you were uncertain about it being enough :)

Lovely GPU this one!
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# 660sli psu 600660sli 2013-08-15 05:21
hd 1tera
ssd 128gb
16gb kingston ram 1600mhz
2x gtx 600sc evga

PSU 600 watt

lolz you dont need MORE!
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