In September 2012 we checked out the Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics card from Zotac. We found it to be a good solution and it became quite widespread eventually, its retail price dropping to the recommended level ($229) and even lower. This price category being hugely popular among end-users, graphics card makers each has released not just a copy of the reference GeForce GTX 660 but two or three or even eight variations of it so that people could flexibly choose what’s suitable for them. There are some truly exciting products with original coolers and increased clock rates. It is about such GeForce GTX 660s that we are going to tell you about in this review. They come from EVGA Corporation, Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International.
Technical Specifications and Recommended Price
EVGA GeForce GTX 660 FTW Signature 2 (02G-P4-2663-KR)
EVGA has set a record making its variations on the GeForce GTX 660 theme. The company offered as many as eight models at the time of our writing this! Ranging in price from $239 to $279, they differ in coolers, clock rates and memory amount. We’ve got an EVGA GeForce GTX 660 FTW Signature 2 with 2 GB of memory for us to test.
Its compact cardboard box is designed in an austere style. You can see key product-related information, including the type and amount of onboard memory, on the front of the box.
On the back you can see a list of supported technologies, accessories, video interfaces and awards collected by the product. The graphics card is additionally wrapped into antistatic and soft packs inside the box. It is accompanied by a DVI->D-Sub adapter, power adapter (two PATA->one 6-pin plug), a CD with drivers and EVGA Precision X, a EVGA sticker, an installation guide and a couple of leaflets:
The card is manufactured in China. Its recommended and retail prices almost coincide ($239 and $235). It comes with a 3-year warranty.
The EVGA GeForce GTX 660 FTW Signature 2 isn’t an eye-catching thing, yet its restrained design is quite attractive in its own way. The plastic cooler casing with two sunken fans has titanium-like inserts and the SIG2 abbreviation in the top right corner.
On the reverse side we can see a short PCB with stickers and memory chips and the plastic extension of the cooling system. The card is 242 mm long.
As is typical of EVGA products, the card’s mounting bracket has a lot of vent openings.
This should make the cooler even more efficient. The EVGA has the same video outputs as the reference GeForce GTX 660: a dual-link DVI-I, a dual-link DVI-D, an HDMI connector and a DisplayPort.
One MIO connector for building 2-way SLI configurations and one 6-pin power connector can be found in their conventional locations.
The EVGA GeForce GTX 660 FTW Signature 2 is specified to consume up to 140 watts of power and is recommended to be used with a 450-watt or better PSU.
The PCB follows the reference design and has a 4-phase GPU voltage regulator based on a NCP5395G controller.
Software-based GPU voltage regulation is supported. There is one more power phase for the memory chips.
The GK106 revision A1 GPU of our sample of the EVGA card was manufactured on the 35th week of the last year (in late August) and measures 221 sq. mm. The GPU die is not covered by a heat-spreader but protected by a metal frame:
The GPU clock rate is increased by 9.4% compared to the reference GeForce GTX 660: from 980/1033 MHz to 1072/1137 MHz. That’s the highest GPU frequency among the three products in this review. The GPU voltage is 1.175 volts. In 2D applications the clock rate and voltage are lowered to 324 MHz and 0.987 volts.
The EVGA GeForce GTX 660 FTW Signature 2 is equipped with 2 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory in FCFBGA-packaged chips you can see on both sides of the PCB. These are K4G20325FD-FC03 chips from Samsung Semiconductor.
Rated for 6000 MHz, the memory chips are clocked at 6008 MHz by the card, so there is no factory overclocking in this respect. The 192-bit memory bus ensures a peak bandwidth of 144.2 GB/s.