MSI’s GTX 660 is an all-around great card that includes a healthy dollop of overclocking and a side of Frozr to keep it cool. Its base clock speed is a decent 53MHz over stock at 1,033Mhz, and when running at full load we saw its boost clock speed rise 130MHz over stock to 1,110MHz, which is also higher than the stock boost-clock spec. The Twin Frozr III cooler sports three copper heat pipes, aluminum fins, and dual 8cm fans housed in a metal-alloy shroud to direct the airflow. Like the other GTX 660 cards, it uses just a single 6-pin power connector, but unlike the others it sports an extra-long 9-inch PCB (Gigabyte’s board is just 7.5 inches but the cooler is actually 9 inches long).
Gigabyte’s GTX 660 is similar to MSI’s board in that it’s overclocked and has a cooler with a silly name—Windforce. The board is clocked at the same base and boost clock speeds as the MSI card, too, running at 1,033MHz and 1,098MHz, respectively. The cooler features four copper heat pipes, aluminum fins, and two large 10cm fans breathing down on the whole shebang. Even though the board sports a smallish 7.5-inch PCB, the cooling apparatus is so large that it’s 2-inches longer than the PCB and extends the length of the card to 9.5 inches. With a cooler this large you expect it to perform quite well, and it does. It kept the card absolutely silent even when the board was being tortured in the Lab, and allowed it to run at a moderately cool 63 C under full load.
What time is it? It's time to build a PC with our Blueprints! This month, we've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Baseline, Performance, and Ultra. Baseline gets you a powerful, no-compromises rig, suitable for gaming and content creation at 1080p. Performance gets you more, and the Ultra is for those who want a killer PC.
These rigs are lab-tested and editor-approved, and we'll update them every month. Feedback is, of course, welcome. Tell us what you think!
Corsair and Samsung debut new SSDs and controllers in a battle for SSD-ominance
The pace of development in the SSD world is staggeringly awesome, as each generation of SSD controllers has delivered substantial increases in performance and reliability, while at the same time we’ve seen flash prices drop like a stone. It’s a great time to be storing and accessing data, for sure, but we’ve also seen the market dominated by a trio of SSD controllers from SandForce, Marvell, and Indilinx, with different vendors applying their own tweaks to the drives’ firmware to differentiate them. Though these controllers are all pretty sweet, we were beyond stoked to see two brand-new drives from Samsung and Corsair arrive this month, both with all-new SSD controllers. Will either of them put a dent in the SandForce/Marvell juggernaut? Read on to find out!
There’s some magical quality about the Transformers brand, a wonderful beauty in the idea that giant, walking Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots—who absolutely hate each other, we note—can transform into the coolest of cars, the heaviest of machinery, the biggest of guns… or even larger, walking Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em robots.