NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Review (PNY XLR8 Performance Edition)
Launch day September 12th 2012 and today we see NVIDIA and their partner companies releasing the newest and very entry level GTX card the new GeForce GTX 660. Many of the companies are going to have market ready cards today and we start off by looking at the PNY Performance Edition GTX 660 that is based on NVIDIA’s reference recipe. The card sizes in at 10’’ X 4.376”” x 2.14’’ and requires a Dual-Slot in your case for installation. The minimum power requirements are 450W and you will need a single available six-pin connection or use the included Molex adapter included in the box. You also get the quick installation guide; the installation DVD and obviously the card itself in the retail box that also includes a Movie Night pass that you can choose 5 movie titles for free and is good until Xmas of 2013. You need a free 16X 3.0 PCIe slot to get the maximum benefits of the PNY GTX 660.
You can see the card has a Black plastic shroud that encompasses the entire top of the card with thee Performance Series XLR8 written on it. The card uses s single blower type fan cooling system that blows air across the GPU and its components. The GTX 660 uses the GK106 Chipset that is powered by 960 CUDA cores and 24 ROPs. The GTX 660 has a stock Core Clock speed of 980Mhz and a BOOST speed of 1033MHz, which can be increased through overclocking although reference cooling is really meant for, plug and play and forget about it performance. This is how many users actually prefer to run their cards so don’t let that daunt you and having a reference design actually makes it easier to upgrade to an after market cooler. The memory on the PNY GTX 660 is 2GB with a 192-bit memory controller that offers a total memory bandwidth of 144.2 GB/s.
Gamers know NVIDIA for their PhysX their TXAA Anti-Aliasing, Adaptive V-Sync and their 3D Vision technology that brings to life in 3D with matching monitor and glasses. The PNY GeForce GTX 660 supports up to 4 monitors off a single card solution so if you are so inclined to setup a 3-way Surround system you could, but with a maximum supported resolution of 2560X1600 it may run a bit slow on games, of course for business that wants to have four available view screens it could be very appealing. One of the main differences you will see between the Ti and Non Ti version of the GeForce GTX 660 series is that the Ti supports 3-Way SLI and the standard 660 supports only standard 2-way SLI configurations. Gaming is only one aspect of the card and the one that gets the most attention, but NVIDIA cards can also be used for many other purposes like video rendering, folding@home and many other3D related applications including Photoshop. Some people are hip to this, but other just game away happily ever after.
Installing the card into my system was easy as the single 6-pin connection needed was the only power I needed to connect and the after I screwed it in place it was off to install the drivers. I am using an ASUS Rampage Extreme X79 based system that features an Intel i7 3820, 32GBs of Patriot Viper Extreme Division 4 memory, a Kingston 240GB HyperX SSD for BOOT and a RunCore 480GB Storage drive as well as the PNY GeForce GTX 660 and a Thermaltake ToughPower 1200W PSU. I had to go back a generation in drivers for the install, which I personally thought was a bit weird, but whatever works right, after all it is launch day and drivers will improve in time anyways. After they installed and quick restart I was ready to start the testing phase of the review and see how well the new PNY GeForce GTX 660 stacks up against its own brothers and the rival found in AMD. We use a variety of games and synthetic benchmarks to gather our tests scores, and all tests are ran a minimum of 3 times and then balanced for a more accurate final score. The rear I/O offers Dual DVI, 1 HDMI and 1 Display port connection, which I feel is the best option.
After a few hours of testing the card and running benchmarks what did we finally come up with to say about PNY’s latest greatest GTX card? Well for starters the card ran no hotter than 70C under the full load of FurMark’s performance benchmark that throttles the card to insane loads in order to see how hot it gets under worse case scenarios. Any of the GTX series of cards works well in Photoshop with only a slight difference in the rendering speed with the 660 versus the Ti Edition so it is still very viable in that department. As far as gaming goes at resolutions of 1920X1080 the card played fairly well with all the settings set to their maximum visual best, but for some any framrates dropping below 60 are not feasible and for that crowd the Ti is a better solution as the 660 hovered in the upper 40s to mid 50s range in most games. All games were totally playable and looked great and at higher resolutions of 2560X1440 the new PNY GTX 660 did fairly well also, running in the low 40s and mid 30s in our testing. The card is made to compete with the 7750 and will come to market at around $229.00 arriving on shelves as you read this review. With its low power requirements and gaming and work performance as well as being pretty quite I think the GeForce 660 series will be a hit with budget gamers worldwide. At the end of the day the new PNY GTX 660 is the best priced card in NVIDIA’s GTX lineup and for the price point it is set at it deserves our Gamers Gold Award as many an NVIDIA gaming fan will be buying this card. Thanks for reading make sure to check out our gaming videos of this new card on our YouTube channel. Peace.
Testbed & Benchmarks