When Nvidia launched the Kepler architecture with the GTX 680 last year, it was, and still remains, one of their most impressive chips to date. The raw power and efficiency of Kepler is arguably better than AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture, but its availability has remained somewhat exclusive.
The difference between the two architectures is simply money. While Kepler based cards to date have been over $300 (GTX 660Ti onwards), AMD’s GCN based cards have been available to people for as low as $100 with their HD7750 cards.
Today marks the launch of the sub-$200 cards from Nvidia with the GTX 660 and sub-$100 with the GTX 650. In our offices, however, are two GTX 660 cards from Zotac and MSI. Both cards come with a custom cooling solution, and also come with factory overclocked speeds.
Coming back to the GTX 660, Nvidia main purpose with the card is to provide the masses with an entry level DX11 card that’s capable of playing at resolutions of 1080p. Based on the latest Steam hardware surveys, it’s clear that the majority of PC gamers own DX10 cards, and those too are over 3 years old. The average PC gamer doesn’t replace a card yearly, and so finding a sweet spot between price and performance is the key.
With this in mind the sub-$200 category is pretty much dominated by AMD’s HD7800 series right now, while previous generation Nvidia GTX 560s are still fighting the good fight. In all honesty, however, Nvidia is targeting the GTX 660 not towards GTX 560 owners, but those of the 9800 GT.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at the specs for the GTX 660.
As you can see, unlike the minor trim the GTX 660Ti had from the GTX 670, the GTX 660 has had major trimmings to bring down the cost. The standard GTX 660 is to have a 6-pin power connector on a 9.5-inch card, with a recommended PSU of 450W. Obviously depending on the manufacturer these basic specs will change.