GeForce GTX 660 Cards: GB, MSI, Zotac
For the purposes of this article, we got our hands on a trio of retail-ready GeForce GTX 660 cards from MSI, Gigabyte, and Zotac, in addition to the reference card we showed you on the previous page. First up, here’s a look at the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Twin Frozr III cooler
Although it is overclocked and sports a fully custom design, the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Twin Frozr III's cooler is the standout feature on this card. The dual-slot Twin Frozr III sports high-density heatsinks, with dual 80mm cooling fans, and thick copper heatpipes that run from the cooler’s base up through the heatsink fins. We should also point out that the cooler’s base is made of pure copper and the entire assembly is nickel-plated. The Twin Frozr III’s cooler has also been outfitted with custom “propeller blade” fans that reportedly push 20% more air than previous designs.
The customizations on the MSI GeForce GTX 660 TwinFrozr III don’t stop at the cooler. MSI has also overclocked the card, with 1033MHz (base) and 1098MHz (boost) clocks for the GPU. The memory runs at the same speed as reference models, however, at 1502MHz (6008MHz effective). The MSI GeForce GTX 660 also has a custom PWM that can handle more current than reference designs and it’s outfitted with all solid caps and supper ferrite chokes. Supplemental power is handled by a single 6-pin connector and the outputs on the card consist of a pair of DVI outputs and single DP and HDMI outputs.
Bundled with the MSI GeForce GTX 660 Twin Frozr III are a quick installation guide and user’s manual, a PCI Express 6-pin power adapter, a DVI to VGA adapter, and of course a driver / utility disc. Also available for the card is MSI’s excellent Afterburner performing tuning and monitoring tool, which is available for download right from MSI’s website and allows for additional overclocking and voltage adjustments.
Next up we have the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 OC Version with Windforce cooling. As is the case with MSI’s offering, although Gigabyte’s card is also overclocked, the real attraction here is the Windforce cooler. Underneath a pair of oversized fans sits an array of aluminum heatsink fins, linked to a copper base via multiple 6mm, copper heat-pipes. The cooler’s dual fans blows air directly onto the heatsinks, where some is diverted into the case and some exhausted outside through the vents in the case bracket. The base of the cooler is shaped in such a way that it reportedly helps minimize turbulence and better direct the airflow through the fins. As you’ll see a little later, the Windforce cooler also does an excellent job of keeping temperatures in check, and it’s nice and quiet too.
The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 OC with Windforce cooler ships with its 2GB of memory clocked at the same 6008MHz (effective data rate) of reference cards, but with a base GPU clock of 1033MHz and a boost clock of 1098MHz. Outputs on the card are the same as the reference version as well (dual DVI, HDMI, DP), and Gigabyte’s offering requires the same 6-pin supplemental power connectors of stock GTX 660 cards as well.
Included with the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 OC with Windforce cooler were a quick installation guide, driver / utility CD, and a power adapter.
Which brings up to the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 660 AMP! Edition. Like the Ti model we liked so much a few weeks back, the “non Ti” GTX 660 from ZOTAC sports a short PCB, which makes the card look somewhat petite.
Although the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 660 AMP! Edition actually utilizes a PCB similar in size to NVIDIA’s reference design, its cooler doesn’t protrude past the end of the card, which shortens the overall length. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 660 AMP! Edition instead has a compact array of heatsink fins that sit just above the card’s components. The cooler is comprised of large aluminum heatsinks, linked together by an array of thick copper heat-pipes. Two large fans sit above the heatsinks in an angular shroud, blowing air down on the heatsinks and PCB. As you’ll see a little later, the cooler does its job fairly well and it’s relatively quiet too.
Like the other cards featured here, ZOTAC has done some factory overclocking too. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 660 AMP! Edition’s base and boost GPU frequencies are 993MHz and 1059MHz, respectively, but its memory is identical to NVIDIA’s reference specs and the other cards featured here. With those frequencies, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 660 Ti AMP! Edition should trail the other cards slightly, but we’re talking about relatively miniscule differences in clock speeds here. We should also note that the ZOTAC card's got the same display output configuration of the others as well.
ZOTAC did go a step further than the other manufacturers featured here with their 660’s bundle, however. Included with the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 660 AMP! Edition, we found a user’s manual and quick installation guide, a coupon for the game TrackMania 2 Canyon, a driver utility disc, a ZOTAC case badge, a peripheral to 6-pin adapter and a DVI to VGA adapter.