Nvidia’s GTX 660 Ti GPU has been a big hit with gamers all over and we’ve already seen it in action in the ZOTAC GTX 660 Ti. Although it offers amazing performance, the price point is a bit on the high side and not many gamers are willing to shell out so much when the GTX 670 can be had for just a little more. Maybe Asus can change that with their GTX 660 Ti offering. We have with us today the GTX 660 Ti-DC2T-2GD5, their factory overclocked GTX 660 Ti with their custom cooler.
Design and Build
Unlike ZOTAC’s custom PCB design, which we absolutely love, Asus has stuck with the reference PCB design but has used their own cooler we’ve seen on their previous offerings as well. At 10.7 inches in length, it’s a big card so make sure you have a decently spacious mid-tower chassis. It is a dual-slot card thankfully and not a triple-slot one so it shouldn’t block too many slots. The cooler uses copper heatpipes to direct heat from the core more effectively. The aluminium fins help dissipate the heat which is then cooled by the two fans.
Well designed and built
For connectivity, we have two dual-link DVI (one DVI –D and one DVI-I) connectors, HDMI and a full sized DisplayPort. There are some exhaust vents at the rear as well although it really shouldn’t matter much since the card has an open design so most of the hot air is dumped inside the chassis itself. The GTX 660 TI-DC2T-2GD5 has a very good design and the build of the card is very good; no complaints here.
Asus has pushed the clock speeds of the card quite a bit, slightly higher than ZOTAC’s AMP! Edition. The core is clocked at 1059MHz while the 2GB GDDR5 memory is clocked at 1502MHz (6008MHz effective). ZOTAC had pushed the memory speeds a bit higher in the AMP! Edition so it may be able to have an edge in performance, which we’ll see in a bit. Other than a DVI-VGA adapter and PCIe to Molex power adapter, Asus does not bundle any game with the card. The bundle also includes Asus’s GPU Tweak utility.
Very good set of connectors
Since this GPU is based on the same GK104 die, you get all the new features that Kepler offers. These include GPU Boost, Adaptive V-Sync and new Anti-Aliasing (AA) models. GPU Boost is similar to Turbo Boost, in the sense that the card will dynamically increase its own clock speeds and voltages in a game, if and only if it does not go beyond a set TDP threshold. For instance, if there is an intense battle scene in the game which demands more shader power, the built-in algorithms will automatically check the current power draw, temperature, voltage etc. of the card and accordingly increase only those parameters that can be pushed. This keeps changing as you play the game and is built into Kepler itself, so it kicks in by default. Adaptive V-Sync can now be found in the Nvidia Control Panel and what it does is, dynamically toggle the V-Sync state depending on the frame rate. For instance, if you’re getting more than 60fps, then V-Sync will be on to avoid screen tearing and if it dips below 60fps, then it switches it off to avoid stuttering. The two new AA modes (FXAA and TXAA) are said to offer similar quality levels as MSAA, but without the huge performance hit.
The Asus GTX 660 Ti delivers performance very similar to ZOTAC's AMP! Edition. The latter manages to inch ahead due to the higher memory bandwidth. The card otherwise runs whisper quiet thanks to the low RPM fans that manage to dissipate enough of air to keep temperatures in check. The card idles at 44 degrees Celcius and on full load, does not go beyond 69 degrees Celcius. This is slightly higher than ZOTAC's offering but still good nonetheless.
3DMark is a computer benchmarking tool created and developed by Futuremark Corporation to determine the performance of a computer's 3D graphics rendering and CPU workload handling capabilities. The latest version makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. We used the ‘Performance’ preset for this benchmark.
Battlefield 3 is a first-person shooter developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and is based on the new Frostbite 2 game engine. The game only supports DX10 and DX11, which enables enhanced in-game destruction with Destruction 3.0, creating more refined physics than its predecessor and quasi-realtime radiosity using Geometrics' Enlighten technology. The game is a visual treat and a nightmare for graphics cards, which makes it perfect for our test. We used the ‘Ultra High’ preset, Post AA: High, Blur: Full, Field of View: 90, Level: ‘Fear no Evil’.
Crysis 2 is a first-person shooter developed by Crytek and is based on the new CryEngine 3. Just like the first iteration of the game, Crysis 2 continues to be one of the best looking shooters to date. The settings used for this benchmark were ‘Ultra High’ preset in Adrenalin, DX11 and High-resolution texture patch.
Dirt 3 is a rallying video game and the third in the Dirt series of the Colin McRae Rally series, developed and published by Codemasters. The game is extremely scalable and features DX11 tessellation effects. We used the built-in benchmark tool, along with ‘Ultra’ quality preset.
Metro 2033 is a slightly older first-person shooter, which continues to bring even the toughest of graphics cards to their knees. The game has a lot of DX11 eye-candy, which really puts a strain on any GPU. All DX11 features were enabled for the benchmark and we used the “Tower” level for our test.
Batman: Arkham City
A sequel to Arkham Asylum, Arkham City features a more open-world style of gameplay as well as DX11 elements. For this test, we disabled Nvidia's PhysX, since it would be unfair to AMD’s cards. Everything else was maxed out.
Verdict and Price in India
For Rs. 20,500, the Asus GTX 660 TI-DC2T-2GD5 offers great value as it offers very similar performance to ZOTAC’s offering but at a much lower price point. Yes, you don’t get a game bundled and the card is a lot bigger, but these are very small niggles when you’re saving almost Rs. 5,000. If you were contemplating buying the GTX 660 Ti but found the price too high, then the Asus GTX 660 TI-DC2T-2GD5 offers the same performance at a much lower price.
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