GTX 660 Ti Roundup (ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, Galaxy, MSI)

Author: SKYMTL
Date: August 30, 2012
Product Name: GTX 660 Ti 2GB
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ASUS GTX 660 Ti DirectCu II TOP

Product Number: GTX660 TI-DC2T-2GD5
Warranty: 3 Years

With a price that exceeds other cards in this roundup, ASUSí DirectCu II TOP has a lot to live up to if it has any hope of finding buyers. However, it looks like this card exceeds expectations on the specification front since it boasts high clock speeds, a 6-phase digital PWM (versus the reference designís 4-phase analog design) and the excellent DirectCu II heatsink. While it wonít have any issue fitting into most enclosures, the upgraded components do mean a slightly larger footprint and a length of about 10.5Ē. One interesting thing to note is that ASUS doesnít have a reference GTX 660 Ti available and all of their cards will be using this heatsink.

The DirectCu II heatsink uses a pair of large fans which push cool air down onto a large aluminum fin array thatís fed by a trio of large heatpipes. These heatpipes boast five contact points with the fins and interface with the GPU core through a copper substrate in order to increase conductivity and cooling efficiency. ASUS claims this setup result in 20% better temperatures than the reference design and if our past experience is any indication, this may be slightly conservative. Due to its weight, ASUS has equipped the TOP with a retention bracket to stiffen the PCB and prevent flex.

Like many other manufacturers, ASUS utilizes a long list of features that should not only extend the life of their cards but may also prove beneficial for overclockers. In many ways, ASUS feels these items add to the value of their cards and justify their premium price.

Most of the additional features on the GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP fall under the purview of ASUSí SAP or Super Alloy Power design. When used in conjunction with the 8-phase (6 phases for the core and 2 phases for the GDDR5) Digi+ VRM, these higher end components allow for an impressive setup.

The chokes used in the SAP design are supposed to offer cool and quiet operation without any of the coil whine thatís normally associated with some graphics card designs. The coil itself is wrapped tightly around a core of concrete substrate that acts as a buffer, thus lowering vibrations and efficiently dispersing the heat evenly throughout the chokeís structure.

The Super Alloy Capacitors may sound like nothing more than a fancy marketing term thatís meant to draw in naÔve first time buyers but there are some actual benefits to the components which ASUS has chosen. Not only do these capacitors boast a lifespan thatís 2.5X longer than standard units but they also factor heavily into the long term stability of an ASUS graphics card.

Typically, the MOSFETs on graphics cards, motherboards and many other high end PC components are relatively large and produce quite a bit of heat. This is why theyíre usually covered by extensive heatsinks but the ones used by ASUS buck this trend. Their components are crammed into an amazingly small package thatís efficient and thus produces very little excess heat. These ďSuper Alloy MOSĒ units also allow for a 30% higher voltage threshold, thus increasing overclocking capabilities in some instances.

Alongside all of these components, the all-digital Digi+ VRM results in lower power noise and could in extreme instances, improve overclocking results. We doubt most end-users would ever encounter a situation where these components will be put to their fullest use but no matter how you use your card, theyíre still good to have around.

Due to the size and relatively low-slung nature of ASUSí DirectCU II heatsink, the PCI-E power connectors have been flipped around and the PCB has been notched to ensure the PSU cables can still click into place. ASUS has also added small LEDs to each connector which turn green once the connector has been properly plugged in. Meanwhile, the TOPís backplate retains the reference design with two DVI outputs and connectors for HDMI and DisplayPort.

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