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Nvidia Corp. on Thursday introduced third graphics processing unit - code-named GK106 - that belongs to Kepler family of products and which was developed to offer decent performance in the mainstream segment of the market. Nvidia also revealed two new graphics cards: GeForce GTX 660 powered by GK106 chip as well as GeForce GTX 650 based on GK107.

"PC gamers love technology, but they are also very value conscious, with most preferring to spend only $100 to $250 on a video card upgrade. Nvidia’s Kepler line of GPUs, though undoubtedly fast, has therefore been outside the price range of most gamers. Today, we are unveiling two new Kepler graphics cards: the GeForce GTX 660 and the GeForce GTX 650. Starting at $229 and $109, respectively, these new cards at long last bring the exceptional performance and power efficiency of Kepler to all PC gamers of every budget," wrote Andrew Burnes, a spokesman for Nvidia.

Both novelties unveiled today are based on Kepler architecture and made using 28nm process technology, so they fully support contemporary capabilities like DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2, OpenCL 1.2, stereoscopic-3D, multi-monitor output, PhysX, PCI Express 3.0 and so on. The main difference between the two is obvious: performance.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics card is entirely different from the one called GTX 660 Ti simply because it is based on an entirely different graphics processor, the GK106. The latter appears to be a pretty mysterious chip: officially it has 960 stream processors, 80 texture units and 5 tessellation/geometry engines organized into 5 SMX [streaming multiprocessors] arrays (1 SMX = 192sp, 16tu, 1ge) accompanies by 24 raster operations units with triple-channel 192-bit memory controller. Previously Nvidia incorporated even numbers of streaming multiprocessors into its chips. Nvidia recommends its partners to clock the chip at 980GHz and use 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 6.0GHz.

The graphics chip designer positions GeForce GTX 660 as a successor for such popular graphics cards as GeForce 8800 GT, 9800 GT, GTX 460 and GTX 560. Based on benchmark results of the novelty, which demonstrates performance comparable to that of AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition (which costs $20 - $30 more), the model GTX 660 seems to be a good successor for now-legendary gamers' solutions.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 graphics solution barely has the right to carry "GTX" moniker as it is based on low-power GK107 chip that is massively behind even the GK106 in terms of performance. Nvidia GK107 graphics processing unit is configured as two streaming multiprocessors (SMX) with 384 stream processors and 32 texture units as well as 16 render back ends and dual-channel 128-bit memory controller. The GTX 650 graphics solutions will clock the chip at 1058MHz and will utilize up to 1GB of 5GHz GDDR5 memory.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 and 650 GPUs are available now from the leading add-in card suppliers, including ASL, Asustek Computer, Colorful, ECS, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Innovision 3D, Jetway, Leadtek, MSI, Palit, Point of View, PNY, Sparkle and Zotac.

Tags: Nvidia, Kepler, GK106, GK107, 28nm, Geforce

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