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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 review

Chris Finnamore
13 Sep 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
179
inc VAT

Not any quicker than the mid-range competition from AMD, but smaller and less power-hungry

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Nvidia has had a good run with its "Kepler" graphics card chips. All this year’s Nvidia cards have been powerful, power-efficient and quiet, and the competition between Nvidia and AMD has meant that there is a superb range of enthusiast and high-end graphics cards available.

So far, though, there's been a gap in Nvidia's line-up: a true mid-range card. Even the GeForce GTX 660 Ti, at £240, is towards the enthusiast end of the market. Step forward the GeForce GTX 660 to plug the hole. It’s an £180 graphics card which goes up square against the AMD Radeon HD 7870. The card has 960 CUDA cores compared to the GTX 660 Ti’s 1,344, but the core runs at a quick 980MHz and can boost up to 1,033MHz when there’s enough power and thermal headroom.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660

The GTX 660 is a significantly smaller card than the GTX 660 Ti, and only requires one 6-pin PCI Express power connector, so most people won’t have a problem fitting it in their case or powering it - AMD’s rival Radeon HD 7870 requires a couple of PCI Express six-pin connectors. Nvdia’s reference design is a dual-slot card with two DVI, one HDMI and a DisplayPort connector.

The card is certainly quick enough for modern games. In Dirt 3, at 1,920x1,080, 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra detail, we saw 80.3fps, and the frame rate never dipped below 68.4fps. This puts it firmly ahead of the AMD Radeon HD 7870’s 74.3fps, but this test doesn’t really challenge either card. Crysis 2, which we run with the high-resolution texture pack installed and Ultra detail, is a different matter. In this punishing test the GeForce GTX 660 managed 27.2fps, which is just below the Radeon HD 7870’s 28.8fps. This is almost at the playable 30fps threshold, so you’ll be able to play modern games at 1,920x1,080 with some fairly minor detail tweaks down from maximum.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660

The card is also available in a single-slot model from Zotac

We also tried the card out on three monitors in Surround mode. At this 5,760x1,080 resolution with Ultra detail and 4x anti-aliasing, Dirt 3 ran at a smooth 32.3fps average, very slightly faster than the 31.1fps from the Radeon HD 7870.

Overclocking was easy enough with the MSI Afterburner tool. We added 80MHz to the core clock speed, which added a few fps to our benchmarks for a slightly smoother 29.7fps in Crysis 2 and 35.1fps in Dirt 3 in 5,760x1,080 Surround mode.

There’s little to choose between the GeForce GTX 660 and AMD Radeon HD 7870 in terms of performance, and the cards are almost identically priced. However, Nvidia’s model has the advantage of only needing one power connector so is a more sensible upgrade if you have a modest power supply.

Basic Specifications

Price£179
Rating*****
Detailswww.nvidia.com
InterfacePCI Express x16
Crossfire/SLISLI
Slots taken up2
BrandnVidia
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce GTX 660
Memory2GB GDDR5
Memory interface192-bit
GPU clock speed980MHz
Memory speed1.50GHz
Card length71mm

Features

Architecture960 CUDA cores
Anti aliasing32x
Anisotropic filtering16x

Connectors

DVI outputs1
VGA outputs0
S-video outputno
S-Video inputno
Composite outputsno
Composite inputsno
Component outputsno
HDMI outputs1
Power leads required1x 6-pin PCI Express

Extras

Accessoriesnone
Software includednone

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB
Price£179
Detailswww.nvidia.com

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