Articles: Graphics

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The recent release of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti graphics card at a recommended price of $299 didn't really bring the Kepler architecture down into the mainstream sector, but today's announcement does. The new GeForce GTX 660 and GTX 650 models come at a recommended $229 and $109, respectively, and we’re going to have a close look at Zotac’s version of the former right now. The GeForce GTX 650 will be covered in an upcoming review very soon.

Being one of the first to hit the market, the Zotac GeForce GTX 660 2GB is not a copy of the reference design but an original product with a custom cooler and slightly pre-overclocked frequencies. Moreover, Zotac also offers an accelerated AMP! Edition which, hopefully, will soon make it into our test labs, too. But now we're talking exclusively about the new GeForce GTX 660.

Closer Look at Zotac GeForce GTX 660 2 GB Graphics Card

GeForce GTX 660: Positioning and Specifications

Putting the $229 price tag on the GeForce GTX 660, Nvidia obviously wants to pit this product against the AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition which has gone through two price cuts (before and after the GeForce GTX 660 Ti announcement) and now costs $249. More importantly, the new GTX 660 claims to raise the performance bar in the mainstream segment to an unprecedented level. Here are some numbers from Nvidia: the GeForce GTX 460 released in 2010 was 2.5 times as fast as the GeForce 9800 GT whereas the new GeForce GTX 660 is expected to be 4.3 times as fast.

And here’s the difference in frames per second:

The newest titles Borderlands 2 and Guild Wars 2 are absolutely unplayable on the GeForce 9800 GT, hardly playable on the GeForce GTX 460 and run smoothly enough on the GeForce GTX 660.
The new card’s GK106 GPU features five active SMX multiprocessors for a total of 960 CUDA cores (universal shader processors).

Compare this to the GeForce GTX 660 Ti with its seven SMX multiprocessors and 1344 shader processors.

Thus, the GeForce GTX 660 has 80 texture-mapping units while the GTX 660 Ti has 112, but each card has 24 raster operators. The memory bus and frequency have remained the same, too. The following table lists the specs of these cards in comparison with the AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, with differences marked in bold:

Like the rest of the Kepler GPUs, the new GK106 offers all modern technologies from Nvidia including adaptive V-Sync, NVENC encoder, support for up to four monitors concurrently, GPU Boost, FXAA and TXAA antialiasing.

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