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Test Setup And Benchmarks

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 And 660 Review: Kepler At $110 And $230
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Both the GeForce GTX 650 and GeForce GTX 660 are aimed at gamers with 1920x1080-capable displays. Because they serve up different performance levels, though, you'll need to tweak your favorite title's detail settings based on each card's capabilities. Because of this, we're putting the GeForce GTX 650 and its competition through less-demanding presets than the GeForce GTX 660 and its segment.

In addition to single-card testing, we're also testing the GeForce GTX 660 in SLI to see how it stacks up against AMD's Radeon HD 7850 in CrossFire. We're also overclocking the GTX 660 to see how well it does at its limit.

Finally, the Radeon HD 7850 that we had so many problems with in our Pitcairn launch story finally died on our test bench. We want to thank Jared and Mike at Itech Systems in Winnipeg, Manitoba for loaning us a replacement so that we could collect the data we needed for today's comparison.

Test System
CPU
Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 3.3 GHz, Six Cores, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3 Cache, Hyper-Threading enabled, Overclocked to 4.2 GHz
Motherboard
ASRock X79 Extreme9 (LGA 2011) Chipset: Intel X79 Express
Networking
On-Board Gigabit LAN controller
Memory
Corsair Vengeance LP PC3-16000, 4 x 4 GB, 1600 MT/s, CL 8-8-8-24-2T
Graphics
MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti
1019/1097 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHz

Reference GeForce GTX 660
980/1033 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHz

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660
1033/1098 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHz

Zotac GeForce GTX 660
993/1059 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHz

MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti
880 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1050 MHz

Zotac GeForce GTX 550 Ti
900 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1025 MHz

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650
1111 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1250 MHz

MSI N450GTS Cyclone (GeForce GTS 450)
850 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 980 MHz

Afox GeForce GT 640
902 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 891 MHz

Reference Radeon HD 7870
1000 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1200 MHz

Reference Radeon HD 7850
860 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1200 MHz

Reference Radeon HD 6870
900 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1050 MHz

Reference Radeon HD 7770
1000 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1125 MHz

Reference Radeon HD 7750
800 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1125 MHz

Reference Radeon HD 6670
800 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1000 MHz

All overclocked cards reduced to reference specification for testing
Hard Drive
Samsung 470-Series 256 GB (SSD)
Power
ePower EP-1200E10-T2 1200 W
ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 x64, Service Pack 1
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
Nvidia: 306.23 beta
(except GeForce GTX 650, which required 305.57 drivers)
AMD: Catalyst 12.8
Benchmarks
Battlefield 3
Campaign Mode, "Operation Swordfish" 60-second Fraps
Crysis 2
DirectX 11, 60 second Fraps
Batman: Arkham City
Version 1.0.0.0, Built-in DirectX 11 Benchmark
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
DiRT Showdown
Version 1.0.0.0, DirectX 11 Benchmark
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Update 1.4.27, THG Benchmarks save, 25-second Fraps
Max Payne 3
Version 1.0.0.4.7, Chapter 3, save 16, 65-second Fraps
World Of Warcraft: Mists Of Pandaria Beta
Elwynn Forest area, 30-second Fraps
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Top Comments
  • 29 Hide
    lahawzel , September 13, 2012 2:23 PM
    Goddamn Mike NY Gmail or whatever the hell your name is supposed to be, here, proper commenting etiquette:

    1. Read the article.
    2. Understand what the article is talking about.
    3. If you find an urge to comment about "______ sucks" or "_______ wins again", especially when the article says the opposite of what you want to post, chances are your comment will look dumb as hell when it's posted and earn you 20 downvotes. Therefore, don't post that goddamn poor excuse of a "comment".
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , September 13, 2012 2:30 PM
    Why are there giant gaps in both lineups? AMD has the 7770 at $130 and 7850 at $230 -- nvidia has the 650 and 660 at similar price points -- ideally for my budget would be something in the $150-170 price range, but I either have to compromise or shell out more. It seems like an obvious market gap.
  • 25 Hide
    EzioAs , September 13, 2012 2:31 PM
    Nice article to be honest. I'm really glad you tested the Radeon cards with the new driver compared to other review sites.

    I've got nothing else to say on the GTX650 but to just point out that it's a weak card.

    On the other hand, the GTX660 is probably the only Kepler (besides the 670) that impresses me. I don't know about everyone else though. To point out one thing, most Radeon 7870s can be found at $240 or lower without MIR. The GTX660 is priced well for a release MSRP and makes the 660ti offers less value, kind of like the 670 vs 680. For 8xMSAA, the performance does cripple but I think at this price point, most people are going to stay with 4xAA or possibly lower.
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    EDVINASM , September 13, 2012 1:35 PM
    Was waiting for GTX 650 to see if it can beat the old GTX 550 Ti but it seems other than power draw it's no match. Might as well keep my GPU until next NVidia lineup. GTX 660 on other hand is only €50 cheaper than GTX 660 Ti meaning its a no budget saver to buy non Ti version. Fail...
  • 29 Hide
    lahawzel , September 13, 2012 2:23 PM
    Goddamn Mike NY Gmail or whatever the hell your name is supposed to be, here, proper commenting etiquette:

    1. Read the article.
    2. Understand what the article is talking about.
    3. If you find an urge to comment about "______ sucks" or "_______ wins again", especially when the article says the opposite of what you want to post, chances are your comment will look dumb as hell when it's posted and earn you 20 downvotes. Therefore, don't post that goddamn poor excuse of a "comment".
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , September 13, 2012 2:30 PM
    Why are there giant gaps in both lineups? AMD has the 7770 at $130 and 7850 at $230 -- nvidia has the 650 and 660 at similar price points -- ideally for my budget would be something in the $150-170 price range, but I either have to compromise or shell out more. It seems like an obvious market gap.
  • 25 Hide
    EzioAs , September 13, 2012 2:31 PM
    Nice article to be honest. I'm really glad you tested the Radeon cards with the new driver compared to other review sites.

    I've got nothing else to say on the GTX650 but to just point out that it's a weak card.

    On the other hand, the GTX660 is probably the only Kepler (besides the 670) that impresses me. I don't know about everyone else though. To point out one thing, most Radeon 7870s can be found at $240 or lower without MIR. The GTX660 is priced well for a release MSRP and makes the 660ti offers less value, kind of like the 670 vs 680. For 8xMSAA, the performance does cripple but I think at this price point, most people are going to stay with 4xAA or possibly lower.
  • 11 Hide
    EzioAs , September 13, 2012 2:37 PM
    Quote:
    Why are there giant gaps in both lineups? AMD has the 7770 at $130 and 7850 at $230 -- nvidia has the 650 and 660 at similar price points -- ideally for my budget would be something in the $150-170 price range, but I either have to compromise or shell out more. It seems like an obvious market gap.


    The 6870 might be more compelling at that price point. Newegg still sells them. It's too bad that AMD didn't release a 7830 or something similar from the Nvidia side. But chances are, you probably can get the 7850 or 660 below $200 by the end of the year. Fingers cross though.
  • 7 Hide
    tomfreak , September 13, 2012 2:37 PM
    mikenygmailThanks for the attempted compliment, but call me Mike. I'm glad you've been paying attention.It was more of a joke than anything else to simply write "AMD wins again!" and it was actually pretty funny! I try to balance things out so that no one company is viewed too favorably.For example, I recently bought an Nvidia GTX 460 1 GB 256 bit card for $70, new, with a 3 month warranty for a friend to upgrade his gaming computer. Unusual? Yes. Great deal? You better believe it! Of course, if an equivalent AMD card was available at a cheaper price, that's the one I would've bought.Now, relax and try to control yourself. Refrain from the use of profanity in future posts. Thanks.
    they cant even dare to put up a weaker 460SE up against 650 let alone a full 460. I guessing the 650 got trash hard when u put serious shader and resolution on it. It is a garbage card @ $110.
  • 12 Hide
    EzioAs , September 13, 2012 2:38 PM
    Quote:
    Gtx 660 is the only option in mid-range gpu


    That is if you don't need the compute performance in which AMD clearly leads
  • 15 Hide
    Anonymous , September 13, 2012 2:39 PM
    I totally agree with TomFreak

    another thing, i would prefer more comparison to old cards like the 460 1GB (256bit). i am sure alot of gamers still use that old card
  • 12 Hide
    jimbaladin , September 13, 2012 2:39 PM
    Buy a 7850, overclock it. Win.
  • 20 Hide
    cleeve , September 13, 2012 2:48 PM
    TomfreakHow "nice" of u tomshardware. By only compared 7750/7770 vs 650 in high detail but not comparing 7750/7770 on the Ultra detail, then when u pull out a 460 SE/9800GT for benchmark, u are taking away 650(why?). Is it because 650 performance is too poor to show off on benchmark? It doesnt take a genius to figure out the huge diff between 6870 vs 650. 7770= 6850 speed. So I guess even the 7750/460SE are putting shame on 650 on those high quality detail? too shy to show off 460SE/9800GT up against 650?I dare u put on a detailed benchmark with 650 up against 7770/7750/GTS450/550ti/460/9800GT/9800GTX on all condition. Not a selective benchmark.


    Dude, we included the 650 for reference at high details in the rest of the benchmarks. The info is there, just trying to keep it focused.

    It's all there. Just look for it.

    Tomfreak I guessing the 650 got trash hard when u put serious shader and resolution on it.


    It did, look at the numbers from the other high detail benches. The 460 kills it.

    But the 460 192-bit is too expensive for a direct comparison, so I didn't include it in the standard low-detail benches. It has a higher price point than the 7770.
  • 21 Hide
    Gman450 , September 13, 2012 2:55 PM
    NVIDIA seriously needs to step up their mid range cards! The 650 is weaker than expected...
  • 21 Hide
    EzioAs , September 13, 2012 3:01 PM
    Quote:
    NVIDIA seriously needs to step up their mid range cards! The 650 is weaker than expected...


    True. I thought it could at least give the 7770 some competition, but as it turns out it's slower than the 7750. But actually, that's to be expected since it's basically a GT640 with GDDR5. They should probably called it a GT645 or GTS640. It doesn't deserve the GTX name
  • 5 Hide
    tomfreak , September 13, 2012 3:09 PM
    CleeveDude, we included the 650 for reference at high details in the rest of the benchmarks. The info is there, just trying to keep it focused.It's all there. Just look for it.It did, look at the numbers from the other high detail benches.
    according to the bench, each game have 2 presets, the similar priced 7770/7750 is missing on the second higher bench on most games. Would be love the 6870 being replace with 7770/7750 on the second game bench.
  • 5 Hide
    bawchicawawa , September 13, 2012 3:13 PM
    WHY didn't they add the 7770 to the 1920 x 1080 preset? =\
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