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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Performance Oddities Investigated

Throughout our in-game testing some interesting performance discrepancies were noticed. Some of these focused upon the ASUS GTX 660 Ti TOP which had the highest on-paper boost clocks but failed to consistently beat Gigabyte’s offering and at times even struggled to stay ahead of the MSI Power Edition. We also noticed that as we progressed through our four benchmark runs of each game, the EVGA GTX 660 Ti SC and NVIDIA’s reference card both showed slightly lower framerates from one repetition to the next. Granted, ASUS’ card still came out as the overall performance winner once the dust settled and EVGA’s provided more than adequate performance but we were left wondering: what was going on?

In our investigation the primary focus was upon each card’s clock speeds being the culprit and those assumptions bore fruit in short order. According to our findings, the ASUS TOP seemed to be unable to consistently hit the upper ranges of its Boost frequencies. Instead, it tended to fluctuate up and down quite a bit, with a few peaks that thrust up into extremely high clock speed ranges. Comparing and contrasting these results to those from MSI, Gigabyte and Galaxy cards puts things into stark contrast since these other products hit a mark and stay there throughout the benchmark, sometimes resulting in higher performance.

The two reference-based cards also showed an interesting side of their personas as their clock speeds gradually decreased throughout the test, resulting in the aforementioned performance drop-off up until their fans increased speed a bit. Now, the difference between maximum frequencies and where these cards end up after a few minutes is infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things and an end user will never notice anything but on paper at least, you’ll be losing a few frames per second here and there.

Within Batman, our results for the ASUS card were actually well in line with expectations as it provided class-leading framerates regardless of its constant clock speed dance. However, once again the EVGA SC and reference clocked cards exhibit a tendency to step back their clock speeds but this time it looks like the Power Limit is stepping in as well. However, be it TDP, Power Limit, temperatures or some combination thereof, we are seeing a general downgrading of Boost values over the course of our benchmark.

This brings whole exercise could bring up some worrying points about benchmarking NVIDIA’s Kepler-based cards in reviews (and charts) where every single FPS counts. Sites benchmarking with a single run or shorter sequences will likely achieve the “best” results rather than realistic performance. Luckily, we have been able to avoid this issue by using four run-throughs of every benchmark, each with somewhat long testing times. We’ll have a full article looking at GeForce Boost and AMD’s equivalent in the coming weeks but for the time being, this is certainly food for thought.

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