|EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB SuperClocked|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 13 September 2012|
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EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC 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.
The legendary GeForce 8800 GT was an impressive graphics card, delivering so much performance for the price that no other video card could match its value. Four years later, DirectX 11 video games have forced the GeForce 8800/9800 series into retirement. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 660 takes a shot at repeating history with value-packed performance and plenty of top-end features. The GeForce GTX 660 easily dominates competing graphics solutions that share the same $200 price point, but with EVGA's SuperClocked treatment the GTX 660 SC boosts graphical power and gets much closer to the $300 GeForce GTX 660 Ti series and ultra-premium $400 Radeon HD 7970 product line. Enthusiast can take things a step further with a maximum overclock that gives the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB SuperClocked a few more FPS across the board in every game.
In the DirectX 10 game Crysis Warhead, the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC trailed behind the premium Radeon HD 7970 at 1920x1080, but came close to performing like a GTX 660 Ti (especially with additional overclocking). DirectX 11 test results continued to keep the EVGA GTX 660 SC well ahead of the Radeon HD 6970 in most tests, while trailing just behind the GTX 660 Ti in others. The ultra-demanding DX11 game Batman: Arkham Asylum made use of Kepler's optimized architecture, helping to deliver a staggering performance lead of 5-FPS over the much more expensive Radeon HD 7970. Battlefield 3 the EVGA GTX 660 SC was only 1-FPS away from the Radeon HD 7970 when given an additional overclock. Lost Planet 2 played well on all graphics cards when set to high quality with 4x AA, allowing the EVGA GTX 660 SC to keep pace with AMD's Radeon HD 7970. In Aliens vs Predator the factory-overclocked EVGA GeForce GTX 660 matched performance with the GeForce GTX 660 Ti. Metro 2033 is another demanding game that requires high-end graphics to enjoy quality settings, and although this benchmark favors Radeon products the GTX 660 and 660 Ti were neck and neck.
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 $400 AMD Radeon HD 7970 to trail behind the $300 GeForce GTX 660 Ti, but the EVGA GTX 660 SC simply lacked the CUDA cores to keep up. 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 GTX 660 Ti. Taking all our benchmark results into consideration, the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC commands a decisive lead past its price-relative competition but also occasionally shadowed AMD's flagship Radeon HD 7970 graphics card that costs twice as much.
Appearance is a much more subjective matter, especially since this particular rating doesn't have any quantitative benchmark scores to fall back on. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX series has traditionally used a recognizable design over the past two years with reward fan and square corners, and EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SuperClocked looks very similar to the GTX 660 Ti or 670. Because GeForce GTX 660 operates so efficiently and allows nearly all of the heated air to exhaust outside of the computer case, we side with EVGA for keeping with the reference cooling design. While looks might mean a lot to some consumers, keep in mind that this product outperforms the competition while generating much less heat and producing very little noise. To their credit, EVGA does give the card a nice brushed metal and carbon fiber appearance.
Regardless of how you perceive this card's looks, construction is the one area where NVIDIA and EVGA continually shine. EVGA GTX 660 SC'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 will continue to impress gamers the same way that GeForce 8800 GT did four years ago. Even with a factory overclock, this card requires a single lonely 6-pin PCI-E power connection, which helps to keep this video card compatible with nearly every existing power supply unit. GeForce GTX 660 has one of the shortest PCBs we've seen from a GTX-series graphics card, 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.
As of launch day, the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB SuperClocked 02G-P4-2662-KR video card sells for $229.99 (Newegg). Please keep in mind that hardware manufacturers and retailers are constantly adjusting prices, so expect it to change a few times between now and one month later. The GeForce GTX 660 "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 shares the $200 price segment with AMD's Radeon HD 7850, yet occasionally performs like the $400 Radeon HD 7970. With regard to the $220 EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC video card, model 02G-P4-2662-KR, there's plenty of value beyond the basic frame rate, as the 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.
I expect that with such high levels of performance for a modest price, GeForce GTX 660 could easily become the best selling DirectX 11 graphics cards of the entire series. With plenty of CUDA cores available and 2GB GDDR5, GTX 660 has plenty of gaming potential. It's unlikely that these core will request more data than the 192-bit memory bandwidth supply, which means two of these cards together in SLI could achieve almost 100% scaling. NVIDIA's 28nm GK106 'Kepler' GPU has made a huge difference in power consumption and heat output, and are benefits that deserve recognition. A fierce factory overclock gives this SuperClocked video card some extra pep, while still saving some headroom for enthusiasts to work with. Best of all, for an extra $20 you can extend the 3-year warranty to an unprecedented ten years!
+ EVGA 3-year warranty, expandable to 10-years!
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
So what do you think of the GeForce GTX 660 graphics card, and are you planning to buy one?