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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The GTX 660 Ti burst onto the market about two weeks ago and has gone on to become extremely popular. The overnight superstar status shouldn’t come as a surprise since this affordable $299 graphics card provides excellent performance –in some cases surpassing the previous generation’s GTX 580-, relatively low power consumption and widespread availability. Gamers have a bevy of choices as well since NVIDIA’s board partners had custom, overclocked designs in the pipeline since day one. Those cards are precisely why this article came to fruition.

Considering the large selection of non-reference GTX 660 Ti SKUs in the channel right now, anyone looking of a $299 GPU will likely be considering a product with a custom cooler or higher clock speeds or a combination of both. Naturally, the premium GTX 660 Ti cards available in North America come from the usual selection of partners: ASUS, EVGA, Galaxy, Gigabyte, MSI and Zotac so there’s something for everyone. Five of those six are being represented here so if you are looking for a comparison between these manufacturers’ cards, you’ve certainly come to the right place.

At the top of our GTX 660 Ti pile is ASUS’ GTX 660 Ti DirectCu II TOP. Not only is this the highest clocked (and one would assume the highest performing) GTX 660 Ti available but it is also the most expensive. At $325 the TOP certainly isn’t cheap but as we’ll see in upcoming sections, its list of features is long and it boasts one of the best heatsinks around.

EVGA has a huge selection of GTX 660 Ti’s –from a card equipped with 3GB of memory to an FTW model with ultra high clock speeds- but their SC version is simply overclocked by a small amount and given an understated upgrade to its heatsink. With that being said, this card’s $309 price tag may be only $10 more than the reference design but EVGA may have a hard time competing against options that have substantially higher clocks but don’t cost all that much more.

The Galaxy GTX 660 Ti GC and MSI’s GTX 660 Ti Power Edition are within spitting distance of one another on the clock speed front and both incorporate upgraded PWM designs. We’ll likely see a real fight in the trenches between these two but there are some items which will likely make one stand out so make sure you read through this review thoroughly before deciding between them.

Like the ASUS card, Gigabyte’s GTX 660 Ti OC boasts some impressive base and Boost speeds which should put it within spitting distance of its arch rival. However, at $319 this is one of the more expensive cards in this roundup so Gigabyte will need a great showing to differentiate their design from those of their competitors.

Ironically, this is one of the only graphics card roundups we’ve done here at Hardware Canucks that doesn’t include at least one card with overclocked memory. Considering one of the GTX 660 Ti’s main weaknesses is its limited bandwidth, we’re actually quite surprised that not a single board partner has moved to alleviate this deficiency. Another thing is quite evident as well: board partners can’t equip their GTX 660 Ti offerings with ultra high performance or they’ll begin competing against the GTX 670. The last thing these companies want is to cannibalize their enthusiast market with a sub-$375 card. Nonetheless, expect some mavericks to do just that as NVIDIA’s $299 product matures in the coming months.

Throughout this roundup, the presence of AMD’s HD 7950 and its Boost Edition sibling shouldn’t be overlooked. At $299 and $319 respectively, they represent a clear and present danger to every GTX 660 Ti on the market but that doesn’t mean NVIDIA’s board partners aren’t avoiding the challenge. Some have already begun their own rebate programs and the end result will likely be a more affordable mid to high end price bracket.

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