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MSI GEFORCE GTX 660 Ti 2GB Power Edition Video Card Overclocked

We overclock our first retail NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 Ti and see just how powerful the Power Edition is from MSI when put to the test.
@TweakTown
Published Fri, Aug 17 2012 1:47 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Overclocking

MSI GEFORCE GTX 660 Ti 2GB Power Edition Video Card Overclocked 02 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 21 IMAGES

Yesterday we got an opportunity to look at the MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition and found ourselves extremely impressed with the new NVIDIA based GPU and what MSI was able to do with it out of the box. Coming in under the Power Edition label, though, we'd normally just skip the whole out of the box performance and instead get straight into the overclocking side of things.

Due to the fact it was our first retail GTX 660 Ti, though, we wanted to see just what kind of performance we could expect out of the box. Today, though, we've thrown the video card back into our testbed and we intend to see just how this Power Edition variant goes with its Triple Overvoltage feature that lets us adjust the Core, Auxiliary and Memory voltages above stock settings.

Since we've already taken the time to go over the MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition in detail (hit the link above to see more), we'll simply be moving into the overclocking side to see just what we can get out of the card here today. From that point we'll quickly go over our testbed, cover the cards that will be in our graphs today and then simply get into the performance to see just what kind of boost the overclock gives us.

We really want to see what the overclock does when it comes to comparing the performance against not only the higher end GTX 670 and GTX 680 which has proven to perform stronger at the higher resolutions. We also want to see how it compares to the HD 7970 GHz Edition; the one model from AMD that tends to consistently be in front of the new NVIDIA offering. We also want to see if the overclock helps close the gap at the higher 2560 x 1600 resolution; an area that is constantly lacking when comparing NVIDIA video cards to AMD.

Overclocking

Having a look below we can see the default clocks on the MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition is 1020MHz on the core or 1098MHz via Boost, while the 2GB of GDDR5 memory comes in at 6008MHz QDR.

This compares to the stock 915MHz / 980MHz core clock we saw on the reference card. The memory speed is the same as the stock version.

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As for the overclock we managed to achieve, you can see the core comes in at a very strong 1127MHz or 1205MHz via boost. This is a really strong overclock and should yield some strong performance.

If that wasn't enough, though, we pushed the 2GB of GDDR5 to a massive 7000MHz QDR.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS and Corsair.

Looking above you can see our X79 testbed with everything covered; because of that we'll just quickly get into the cards that will be included in our graphs today.

Outside of the overclocked MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition, we also have the video card running at its stock out of the box clock speeds, while we also have the reference clocked GTX 660 Ti to see just what kind of performance increase we get from the overclock here today compared to that.

We've also got the two GTX 600 big brothers; the GTX 670 and GTX 680. We've also got a number of AMD video cards starting with the HD 7870. Along with that we've also got the HD 7950, HD 7970 and recently updated version of the HD 7970, the HD 7970 GHz Edition.

Let's get started!

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Straight away in 3DMark 11 we can see an excellent boost in performance that sees the GTX 660 Ti Power Edition perform at the same level as a stock clocked GTX 680.

Compared to the HD 7970 GHz Edition we see performance is stronger at the Performance preset while very similar when we move to the higher Extreme preset.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com

Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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The intensity of Heaven saw the GTX 660 Ti really begin to fall behind the GTX 670 and GTX 680. This is where we see the stronger 256-bit memory bus come in to play that's present on those higher end models compared to the 192-bit that is on offer with the GTX 660 Ti.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx

Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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We can see under H.A.W.X. 2 we've got performance that literally sits on top of the GTX 670 thanks to some really strong gains. Compared to the AMD offerings we also see across the board we manage to sit ahead of even the HD 7970 GHz Edition.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/

Buy It Here

Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Moving into Mafia II we've got some great FPS across the board and you can see the overclock puts us between the GTX 670 and GTX 680 in this case.

Compared to the AMD offerings, we can see that at 1920 x 1200 and below the overclocked GTX 660 Ti Power Edition has absolutely no issues dealing with even the HD 7970 GHz Edition. It's only at 2560 x 1600 we see it fall behind by 10%.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1

Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Looking at the ever intensive Lost Planet 2 you can see we've got some great performance here and looking at the 2560 x 1600 numbers we can see that compared to the reference clocked card, the overclock we achieve gives a massive boost in performance as we move from 63 FPS to a super solid 77 FPS.

These are the kind of boosts we love to see and really help show the benefits of overclocking.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/

Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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While the overclock under Aliens vs. Predator helps boost our performance up to similar levels as the GTX 670, you can see the NVIDIA video cards continue to struggle here at 2560 x 1600.

The only video card that is able to break the 60 FPS mark in this benchmark at 2560 x 1600 is the HD 7970 GHz Edition.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.2

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

Developer Homepage: http://www.eidos.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.justcause.com/

Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the other side of the world from the original Just Cause, on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Panau has varied terrain, from desert to alpine to rainforest. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.

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Looking at Just Cause 2 numbers you can see we've got numbers that line up our overclocked Power Edition video card with the reference clocked GTX 680.

We also again see the difference in performance compared to the reference clocked card at 2560 x 1600, which sees us move from 65 FPS to a really solid 73 FPS and that will guarantee smooth gameplay.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Moving into Metro 2033 we can see that we're again sitting behind the GTX 670 and GTX 680 in this instance.

Like Aliens vs. Predator, though, we can see at 2560 x 1600, the only video card that is able to break the 60 FPS barrier for a solid gaming experience is the new HD 7970 GHz Edition from AMD.

Benchmarks - Dirt 3

Dirt 3

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.dirt3game.com/

DiRT 3 boasts more cars, more locations, more routes and more events than any other game in the series, including over 50 rally cars representing the very best from five decades of the sport. With more than double the track content of 2009's hit, DiRT 3 will see players start at the top as a professional driver, with a top-flight career in competitive off-road racing complimented by the opportunity to express themselves in Gymkhana-style showpiece driving events.

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Dirt 3 numbers look good and you can see we're bouncing around the GTX 680 level when it comes to performance. We also again see that compared to the reference clocked video card, we move from a 67 FPS average to 81 FPS.

60 FPS is always that number we aim for to provide a solid experience, but the further away we get from it means that our gameplay is going to be even smoother.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01

Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/

Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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Far Cry 2 numbers see a little bit of movement, but without AA and AF on, we see that overall the FPS is extremely strong.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to an unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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Starting our AA and AF tests with Mafia II we can see that our increases are strong which again see us floating around the GTX 670 and GTX 680 level of performance. Like every other video card here, though, 2560 x 1600 just isn't an option, as we see all models fall below that 60 FPS number that we aim for that provides a smooth gaming experience.

MSI GEFORCE GTX 660 Ti 2GB Power Edition Video Card Overclocked 31 | TweakTown.com

Aliens vs. Predator sees some strong gains, but you can see we're behind the GTX 670 by a decent chunk still in this case, while overall we're just below that 60 FPS mark that we want at both resolutions. Only the HD 7970's manage to break the 60 FPS barrier at 1920 x 1200, while all cards fail to hit it at the more intensive 2560 x 1600 resolution.

MSI GEFORCE GTX 660 Ti 2GB Power Edition Video Card Overclocked 32 | TweakTown.com

Looking above you can see the overclock we managed to achieve out of the MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition is enough to break that 30 FPS minimum we need at 2560 x 1600. While people argue that Far Cry 2 isn't intensive, you can see that even powerful modern day video cards like the GTX 660 Ti struggle at running the game at its highest resolution.

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Metro 2033 sees the GTX 660 Ti Power Edition still fall behind the GTX 670 when overclocked, which means we fall shy of that 60 FPS number that we want to hit at 1920 x 1200. Of course missing it at 1920 x 1200 means that it's not an option when we move to 2560 x 1600, too.

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Finally we finish with Just Cause 2 and we see some nice gains which give us playable numbers at 1920 x 1200, but you can see like all our other video cards here; we again fail to hit the 60 FPS number that we want when we move to 2560 x 1600.

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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While we see no change in the idle heat numbers, you can see at load we move from 64c to 72c. While an 8c is a decent increase, it's not a number that at all worries us.

Considering the performance we're seeing out of the video card as well, we'd hardly complain.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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While the MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition does indeed run a little warmer, we can see that on the noise side of things nothing really changes. We'd rather take a couple of extra degrees with no change in dB, compared to the other way around.

Power Consumption Test

Using our PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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With extra voltage running through the video card it's surprising to see that there's no real change when it comes to power draw levels at both idle and load.

Like we mentioned in our original review, if you're buying a video card like this, the chances are you'll have a quality power supply, which is capable of handling it.

Final Thoughts

When we first got a chance to overclock the GEFORCE GTX 660 Ti, we didn't get the chance to play with stuff like voltages and while we achieved some strong performance, we knew once we had the ability to play around with voltages and all the other fun stuff, we'd see even more performance.

Today you can see that giving us the ability to adjust those voltages has really given the new model from NVIDIA a chance to breathe with some awesome performance gains being seen. I think some of the most interesting numbers come from when we compare our overclocked numbers today to the reference clocked version of the video card. Often we saw numbers move away from that 60 FPS area and instead move into the 70s making sure that gameplay is extremely smooth.

While the MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition is indeed the first retail GTX 660 Ti we've tested, the previous track record from not only MSI, but the Power Edition series, tells us that it is going to make it one of those video cards that stand out from the pack for all the right reason. With over 1200MHz on the core via boost and a massive 7000MHz QDR memory clock, we ultimately see fantastic performance.

Of course the GTX 660 Ti isn't without its weakness and we continue to see NVIDIA struggle at the higher resolution benchmarking when compared to its AMD counterpart. The new HD 7970 GHz Edition from AMD has done a really good job of helping cement that high resolution performance crown. While the GTX 660 Ti is of course a cheaper option at around the $300 - $330 mark, even with a massive overclock, we don't see those 2560 x 1600 numbers that we'd like to see. A lot of this is of course due to the fact we're dealing with that smaller 192-bit memory bus. This compares to the GTX 670 and GTX 680 which carries a 256-bit one and the HD 7900 based cards which carry an even more impressive 384-bit memory bus.

We're really seeing a lot more back and forth with AMD and NVIDIA at the moment than we expected. First we saw AMD come out with price drops to battle NVIDIA and then we saw the GHz Edition of the HD 7970. Alongside that we've also seen them revamp the HD 7950 with a new higher clocked version.

In the end, the person that wins is you, as more and more choices come to the market, they hit a more aggressive price point. It's good to see NVIDIA is filling out the price bracket with the GTX 600 series and the upcoming GTX 660 and GTX 650 will really help NVIDIA with a strong top to bottom setup for this generation. If you're looking at spending around $300, though, you'll be hard pressed to turn away from the new GTX 660 Ti, especially when you consider the overclocking power of the new Power Edition version that manages to impress.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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