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

Test Settings And Benchmarks

We tested Gigabyte’s GeForce GTX 660 Ti samples in both two- and three-way SLI, and its GeForce GTX 680 4 GB samples in single-card and two-way SLI configurations.

A reference-clocked GeForce GTX 680 2 GB helps us define the advantages of Gigabyte's overclocked boards with twice as much memory. Don't worry, the differences between clock rate and memory capacity will become perfectly clear as we work our way through the benchmarks.

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E): 3.30 GHz, 15 MB shared L3 cache, LGA 2011 Overclocked to 4.40 GHz at 1.35 V
MotherboardBiostar TPower X79, BIOS 917 (09/17/2012)
CPU CoolerNoctua NH-D14 SE2011 w/Zalman ZM-STG1 Paste
RAMG.Skill F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD (16 GB) DDR3-2200 at DDR3-2133 CAS 9-11-9-36 1.65 V
GeForce GTX 680 4 GB Graphics2 x Gigabyte GV-N680OC-4GD: 1071-1137 MHz GPU, 4 GB GDDR5-6008
GeForce GTX 680 2 GB GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 680: 1006-1059 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5-6008
GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics3 x Gigabyte GV-N66TWF2-2GD: 941-1019 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5-6008 Reflashed to GV-N66TOC-2GD: 1032-1111 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5-6008
Hard DriveMushkin Chronos Deluxe DX 240 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerAntec High Current Pro 1200: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
System Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Professional RTM x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 310.90
ChipsetIntel INF 9.3.0.1020
3D Games
Aliens vs PredatorUsing AvP Tool v 1.03, SSAO/Tesselation/Shadows On Test Set 1: High Textures, No AA, 4x AF Test Set 2: Very High Textures, 4x AA, 16x AF
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-Second Fraps Test Set 1: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF) Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF)
F1 2012Steam version, in-game benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.7, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25-Second Fraps Test Set 1: DX11, High Details No AA, 8x AF, FXAA enabled Test Set 2: DX11, Ultra Details, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA enabled
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On
Synthetic
3DMark 11Version 1.0.3.0 Professional Edition, SystemInfo 4.14.0.0
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • 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)


    Reply
  • A sneak peak to the GTX Titain 6GBs. From the website "WCCF Tech"
    http://wccftech.com/nvidia-geforce-gtx-titan-pictured-gk110-finally-arrives-consumers-blasting-6-gb-memory/
    Reply
  • 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).
    Reply
  • mcd023
    id like to see some benchies on metro 2033 with physx and DoF just for fun hahaha
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • esrever
    when are you going to switch to the new 3dmark?
    Reply
  • rmpumper
    Why do you say "higher/lower is better" in some graphs? Which is it - higher or lower?
    Reply