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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