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NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance

We take a look at the overclocking side of things with the upcoming GTX 660 to see what kind of performance we can expect.
@TweakTown
Shawn Baker
Published Wed, Sep 5 2012 3:34 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Introduction and Specifications

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 01 | TweakTown.com
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While we're still about a week and a half away from the upcoming NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 officially launching, we got a chance to have a look at what kind of performance we can expect from the new model when it came to its reference clock speeds. As always the next step is to look at the overclocking side of things to see just what we can expect out of it.

Like when we looked at the GTX 660 Ti overclocking ability pre-launch we don't have the ability to adjust voltage at the moment. We're not sure if it's going to be like that for all GTX 660 based video cards or over the next week or two we'll get an updated version of MSI Afterburner that will bring with it the ability to adjust voltages.

There's not a whole lot of detail we need to go into so we'll get into the swing of things pretty quickly. Below we'll take a quick look at how we went with the overclocking side of things. Once we've done that we'll quickly cover our testbed, the cards that we'll be using in our graphs today and then we'll just get into the performance side of things to see what the overclock we managed to achieve today does for overall performance.

With numbers that currently sit extremely close to the GTX 580 and HD 7870, it will be interesting to see what kind of overclock we manage to achieve while also see what kind of boost the overclock gives us. So without going on much more let's quickly cover the specification side of things before we get into the test system setup and the benchmarks.

Specifications

Out of the box a reference clocked GTX 660 is going to carry with it a default core clock of 980MHz which via boost comes in at 1033MHz. As for the 2GB of GDDR5 that comes in at 6008MHz QDR.

Today we managed to get our core running at 1165MHz via boost while we pushed the 2GB of GDDR5 up to 6192MHz QDR. This isn't a bad boost at all considering we have no options when it comes to voltage and it will be interesting to see what kind of performance increase we see.

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 we have no change when it comes to our testbed and when it comes to the lineup of cards in our graphs today they're identical to that which was seen in our original review of the GTX 660.That means we've got the GTXD 660 running at its reference speeds.

Moving up we've then got the older GTX 580, new GTX 660 Ti and other GTX 600 based models in the form of the GTX 670 and GTX 680.

We've also got a strong lineup of AMD cards which include the HD 7870, HD 7950, HD 7970 and newer GHz Edition of the HD 7970.

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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Starting with 3DMark 11 we can see that we get a nice boost in overall performance thanks to the overclock. We continue to sit a fair bit behind the higher end GTX 660 TI, though.

On the AMD side of things, though, we do see the GTX 660 jump ahead of the HD 7950 with ease.

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.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 21 | TweakTown.com

Under Heaven we can see the overclock helps extend the GTX 660s lead over the HD 7870 thanks to strong tessellation performance.

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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Under H.A.W.X. 2 we can see a bump across the board, but out of the box you can see we've already got some very strong FPS coming from the GTX 660 under this game.

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.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 23 | TweakTown.com

Looking above you can see we've got a couple of FPS extra across the board with the most beneficial being seen at 2560 x 1600 where we move a little deeper into the 60 FPS realm giving us a bit more breathing room for a smooth gaming experience.

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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Lost Planet 2 sees some really nice gains and we get mighty close to that 60 FPS average at 2560 x 1600, but it just falls short. Below that, though, we've got some strong gains and some strong FPS which make for some smooth gameplay.

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.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 25 | TweakTown.com

Looking at our Aliens vs. Predator numbers the overclock gives us a bit more breathing room at 1920 x 1200 as we get a little higher into the 60 FPS realm that we consider provides a solid gaming experience.

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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Just Cause 2 sees a couple of FPS across the board, but at 2560 x 1600 we continue to sit in the 50 FPS region, which is too low.

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.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 27 | TweakTown.com

Metro 2033 across the board sees a couple of extra FPS and while it's not enough of a gain at the highest resolution to give us playable numbers, the extra couple of FPS at 1920 x 1200 is appreciated as we manage to get a bit more breathing room with that new 69 FPS average.

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.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 28 | TweakTown.com

Dirt 3 sees a nice little jump at all resolutions, but you can see, it's not quite enough at the higher 2560 x 1600 resolution in which we again fall below the 60 FPS number that we always aim for.

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.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 29 | TweakTown.com

Across the board you can see a bump in performance thanks to the overclock. Looking at the numbers, though, you can clearly see we don't really need the extra FPS in this situation.

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.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 30 | TweakTown.com

At both resolutions we can see a slightly bump in performance and it's appreciated at 1920 x 1200 as we get a little bit more breathing room as our stock numbers saw an even 60 FPS.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 31 | TweakTown.com

While we see a small bump at both resolutions, the intensity of this game engine makes it impossible for a mid-range card to offer us playable numbers with AA and AF turned on at the highest resolution.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 32 | TweakTown.com

You can see a bump in both resolution, but you can see even though Far Cry 2 is quite an old engine, we couldn't break that 30 FPS minimum we need at 2560 x 1600 when AA and AF is turned on.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 33 | TweakTown.com

While we do indeed see a boost in performance the intensity of the Metro 2033 engine means that AA and AF just isn't an option on this mid-range video card.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 2GB Video Card Overclocked Performance 34 | TweakTown.com

Looking at Just Cause 2 numbers we can see we get a bit of extra breathing room at 1680 x 1050 as we move to a 66 FPS average. While we see a nice little bump at 2560 x 1600 as well, it continues to be below that 60 FPS number we want for smooth gameplay.

Final Thoughts

Overclocking potential at the moment on the upcoming GTX 660 is a little hit and miss. It's going to really come down to if we have the ability to adjust the core voltage which will help boost the overall numbers a bit more as we know that an increase in core speed is going to give us a stronger boost, compared to an increase in memory clocks.

Like we said in our reference card review the GTX 660 is looking to be a good model, but it isn't quite giving us the "WOW" factor that we experienced from other GEFORCE 600 series models. The pricing and performance of the model is exactly what you'd expect and while that's not a bad thing, considering we've been left a bit shell shocked over the last few months with other NVIDIA cards, it's probably a little disappointing as the GTX 660 doesn't hit us as hard as we may have expected.

The only thing we really wonder now is the availability side of things, but mid-range models tend to never be an issue so some launch day we should see a strong lineup of GTX 660s from companies with aftermarket coolers that move away from the reference design and clock speeds that are also above the reference model speeds.

If you pick up a HD 7870 or a GTX 660 in the coming weeks there's really no bad choice as both models seem to be nearly identical in most respects. If we had to ultimately choose between one or the other, though, we'd probably lean a little more on the AMD side of things just because you're more likely to get it at a cheaper price thanks to rebate offers.

It's pretty impressive that the GTX 660, a model that will launch at a mid-$200 price bracket, manages to offer similar performance to the GTX 580, the king of the single GPU video cards just last year. At the same time, though, it's worth remembering that AMD have been able to do it with the HD 7870 for a while now, but not at the same price point it's at right now. We've only recently seen the HD 7870 come down in price and that's thanks to the aggression NVIDIA has shown on the pricing front since they launched the GTX 600 series.

You ultimately can't go too wrong picking up a HD 7870 or GTX 660. If you don't want to wait any longer, though, you can go get a HD 7870 now verse having to wait another week or two for the GTX 660 to launch which will offer almost identical performance at an almost identical price tag, if not slightly higher due to it being newer and lese rebate offers being available.

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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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