Analysis and Conclusions
It seems like a broken record, but the new GeForce GTX 660 2GB card is another great graphics card release from NVIDIA using the Kepler architecture. Based on GK106, the first "real" card that uses a GPU that isn't the GK104 (we don't count the GT 640, sorry) shows a solid set of performance results in our games. While we did test at 1680×1050, 1920×1080 and 2560×1600, the real important resolution is 1080p as that is where I imagine most users with this class of card will be targeting their displays.
At 1080p, the GTX 660 was able to outperform the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition in Battlefield 3 and Batman: Arkham City while matching it in performance on Metro 2033. In our other games, Skyrim, DiRT 3 and Deus Ex, the GTX 660 fell between the HD 7870 GHz Edition and HD 7850 cards.
Considering that the GTX 660 2GB card is going to have an MSRP about $30 less than the HD 7870, and about $30 more than Radeon HD 7850, that gives the new GTX 660 a pretty positive result. It is not quite the runaway that the early GTX 600-series cards were, but as the cost of these graphics cards decreases, the margins get tighter and the overlap between them will increase dramatically.
Interestingly, the GTX 660 vanilla is able to compete with the GTX 660 Ti pretty well for the $70 price difference. In fact, in Skyrim, Batman and Metro, the gap is small enough to be negligible. If you are going to be gaming at 1080p only for the foreseeable future, it just makes sense to go with the GTX 660 over the GTX 660 Ti.
Pricing and Availability
The GeForce GTX 660 2GB cards from most of NVIDIA's partners will be available today starting at $229 and going up for custom models.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 2GB – $229
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB – $299
- AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB – $259
- AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB – $199
As I just mentioned, the GTX 660 makes a good case for itself against ALL of the other cards in this list, including the GTX 660 Ti. For $70 less you could upgrade to a larger SSD or anything else; though if you were going to buy Borderlands 2 you might as well get the Ti version that comes with the free promotional copy…
The Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition is CLOSE to being the better choice over the GTX 660, but just can't quite cut it with the 50/50 performance results and the more expensive price tag. BUT, with the newly added copy of Sleeping Dogs that IS included with the HD 7870 GHz Edition (but not the HD 7850) you could definitely argue that the value is there.
What can we say? The GK106-based GeForce GTX 660 2GB card from NVIDIA is another winning combination of performance, features and efficiency. Starting at $229, this new graphics card starts at the exact same MSRP as the GTX 460 1GB card did at its launch and it plays the similar role as a disrupter. We have been waiting for NVIDIA's Kepler to hit lower price points and the GTX 660 does it in impressive fashion.