Do Two GeForce GTX 680s Beat Three GeForce GTX 660 Tis In SLI?

Power And Efficiency

Our overclocked hexa-core CPU pushes baseline power numbers fairly high, but we pushed them even higher by setting these graphics cards to run at their highest fan speeds. That extra cooling turned out to be necessary in order to get three highly overclocked GeForce GTX 660 Tis running in three-way SLI, particularly since the middle card's intake fans were stifled by the back of the bottom card. The cost of a 100% duty cycle ranged from 5 W on the stock GeForce GTX 680 2 GB to 20 W for three GeForce GTX 660 Ti cards in SLI. Under heavier GPU loads, the difference wasn't as significant.

The third GeForce GTX 660 Ti appears to idle down to around 18 W, while the second GeForce GTX 680 4 GB appears to idle down to around 25 W. Default fan speeds drop those numbers to around 12 W and 19 W, respectively.

The average performance chart could be a spoiler for the conclusion, but it's required for our efficiency calculation. Fortunately, we can still discuss some of the issues not easily identifiable from this chart, though.

Gigabyte’s overclocked 4 GB GeForce GTX 680 outperforms the stock 2 GB version by around 4% in our tests. Yet, higher power consumption nudges its efficiency gain down to 2%. A pair of Gigabyte’s 680s provides the best performance-per-watt, while high energy use keeps three GeForce GTX 660 Tis from scoring an efficiency lead.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
49 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • renz496
    off topic:

    when titan's review comes out?

    on topic:

    frankly i'm no multi gpu nor multi monitor user. but for the green camp if you want multi monitor gtx 660 ti 3Gb is a good choice if you want the cheap option. if you want more horse power while still on the cheap side then 7950 is the answer. (the latest game bundle from amd might also lean some people to buy amd cards)
    12
  • merikafyeah
    I'd still go for a GTX 690 Hydro Copper. Overclock it and pwn while only taking two slots. SLI configs which take up all your slots seem highly inefficient and unappealing.
    11
  • s3anister
    Interesting article, however, it'd be very nice to see a comparable Radeon article.
    11
  • Other Comments
  • renz496
    off topic:

    when titan's review comes out?

    on topic:

    frankly i'm no multi gpu nor multi monitor user. but for the green camp if you want multi monitor gtx 660 ti 3Gb is a good choice if you want the cheap option. if you want more horse power while still on the cheap side then 7950 is the answer. (the latest game bundle from amd might also lean some people to buy amd cards)
    12
  • jupiter optimus maximus
    4
  • rantoc
    From my own experience I would rather go with 2x 680 as dual sli scales very well on about _all_ titles while tri/quad sli can be more of a gambling in performance - For titles where all the cards scale well its sure nice as hell - Where it does not you can even loose performance by adding a third/fourth card (even thoo that scenario gets less and less frequent).
    2
  • mcd023
    id like to see some benchies on metro 2033 with physx and DoF just for fun hahaha
    3
  • hero1
    Nice review, makes me consider taking 3x7950 instead of 2x7970. Would equal in price due to sales that are going on. But, maybe grab a Titan? I hope to see another review in 8 hrs featuring Nvidia GeForce Titan.
    4
  • mayankleoboy1
    Not the point of this article, but i noticed that a single gtx680 is a complete beast at 1080P.
    Also, it would have been interesting to see the CPU usage during the tests.

    Edit : A repeat of this article with the HD7000 cards should be performed, specially after the 13.2 driver are released.
    4
  • hero1
    mayankleoboy1Not the point of this article, but i noticed that a single gtx680 is a complete beast at 1080P.Also, it would have been interesting to see the CPU usage during the tests.Edit : A repeat of this article with the HD7000 cards should be performed, specially after the 13.2 driver are released.


    Yes same review for HD 7000 series should be given. Can't wait for that.
    7
  • merikafyeah
    I'd still go for a GTX 690 Hydro Copper. Overclock it and pwn while only taking two slots. SLI configs which take up all your slots seem highly inefficient and unappealing.
    11
  • esrever
    when are you going to switch to the new 3dmark?
    2
  • rmpumper
    Why do you say "higher/lower is better" in some graphs? Which is it - higher or lower?
    -2
  • s3anister
    Interesting article, however, it'd be very nice to see a comparable Radeon article.
    11
  • sanilmahambre
    What about 4 X crossfire 7870LE VS 3 X crossfire 7950 VS 2 X crossfire 7970 VS Devil 13 7990
    6
  • PadaV4
    A review with SLI and no microstutter and frame latency tests?? Seriously?
    4
  • TheMadFapper
    670s are still a better value, you've shown that numerous times.
    4
  • TheMadFapper
    PadaV4A review with SLI and no microstutter and frame latency tests?? Seriously?


    Frame latency has only been a major issue for AMD setups, and mostly around the 7950, not so much the higher end cards.
    -3
  • kristi_metal
    TheMadFapperFrame latency has only been a major issue for AMD setups, and mostly around the 7950, not so much the higher end cards.


    Actually no, all cards have a problem with inconsistent frame latencies, including Nvidia cards.
    The problem is even bigger on multicard setup, where microstuttering can be a visual annoyance
    2
  • mayankleoboy1
    kristi_metalActually no, all cards have a problem with inconsistent frame latencies, including Nvidia cards. The problem is even bigger on multicard setup, where microstuttering can be a visual annoyance


    Actually no, AMD cards till now recently have had poorer frame latencies that the comparable Nvidia cards, mainly because of poor drivers. It does not mean Tahiti < Kepler. It only means AMD driver team is lagging.
    -2
  • ojas
    Could see the conclusion coming, 2x 4GB GTX680s seem to make more sense than the Ti's.

    Just like the other folks, would like to see the Radeon equivalent article too! And Titan as well :D
    2
  • ubercake
    kristi_metalActually no, all cards have a problem with inconsistent frame latencies, including Nvidia cards. The problem is even bigger on multicard setup, where microstuttering can be a visual annoyance

    I don't experience microstutter with my two 680s in SLI. I had it constantly with my 2 5850s and still with 3 5850s. I never had a problem with microstutter with 2 580s in SLI either.

    I challenge everyone to try both multi-card technologies for themselves and then talk about their results. Don't just take the word of others as the truth.
    0
  • KrisPC
    Somewhat happy to see the results, for reason that 660 Ti didn't seem to be bottlenecked by it's 2 GB VRAM (except perhaps in BF 3). Guess the guys who told that unless you plan to go 3-way SLI your cards don't have enough raw power to use 4 GB VRAM anyway were right and back when I bought my 2 670 cards it would have cost me 150$ extra for a bit weaker cards. So I have no regrets. PS. Gaming at 5760x1080 is awesome but even more so is video editing.
    2