Skip to main content

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 And 660 Review: Kepler At $110 And $230

Test Setup And Benchmarks

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
CPUIntel 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
MotherboardASRock X79 Extreme9 (LGA 2011) Chipset: Intel X79 Express
NetworkingOn-Board Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LP PC3-16000, 4 x 4 GB, 1600 MT/s, CL 8-8-8-24-2T
GraphicsMSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti1019/1097 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHzReference GeForce GTX 660980/1033 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHzGigabyte GeForce GTX 6601033/1098 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHzZotac GeForce GTX 660993/1059 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHzMSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti880 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1050 MHzZotac GeForce GTX 550 Ti900 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1025 MHzGigabyte GeForce GTX 6501111 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1250 MHzMSI N450GTS Cyclone (GeForce GTS 450)850 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 980 MHzAfox GeForce GT 640902 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 891 MHzReference Radeon HD 78701000 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1200 MHzReference Radeon HD 7850860 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1200 MHzReference Radeon HD 6870900 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1050 MHzReference Radeon HD 77701000 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1125 MHzReference Radeon HD 7750800 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1125 MHzReference Radeon HD 6670800 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1000 MHzAll overclocked cards reduced to reference specification for testing
Hard DriveSamsung 470-Series 256 GB (SSD)
PowerePower EP-1200E10-T2 1200 W ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 x64, Service Pack 1
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriversNvidia: 306.23 beta (except GeForce GTX 650, which required 305.57 drivers)AMD: Catalyst 12.8
Benchmarks
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Operation Swordfish" 60-second Fraps
Crysis 2DirectX 11, 60 second Fraps
Batman: Arkham CityVersion 1.0.0.0, Built-in DirectX 11 Benchmark
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
DiRT ShowdownVersion 1.0.0.0, DirectX 11 Benchmark
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.4.27, THG Benchmarks save, 25-second Fraps
Max Payne 3Version 1.0.0.4.7, Chapter 3, save 16, 65-second Fraps
World Of Warcraft: Mists Of Pandaria BetaElwynn Forest area, 30-second Fraps
  • EDVINASM
    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...
    Reply
  • mikenygmail
    AMD wins again!
    Reply
  • mikenygmail
    Buy a 7770 or 7870 instead.
    Wait for sales on whichever one is needed and then grab one -
    AMD 7770 can be had for just over $100.
    AMD 7870 can be had for about $220.
    Reply
  • lahawzel
    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".
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    How "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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • mikenygmail
    LaHawzelGod damn Mike NYThanks 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.
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    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.
    Reply
  • mikenygmail
    EzioAsNice 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. It's 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.
    Exactly - Savvy TH readers will wait for sales on whichever one is needed and then grab one!
    AMD 7770 can be had for just over $100 on sale.
    AMD 7870 can be had for about $220 on sale.
    Reply
  • mubin
    Gtx 660 is the only option in mid-range gpu
    Reply