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EVGA GTX 660 Ti Super Clocked

EVGA GTX 660 Ti Super Clocked

A perfectly cromulent card

Though the EVGA GTX 660 Ti looks like a reference card don’t let its standard-looking cooling shroud fool you. This is certainly an overclocked card, though its overclock is the most modest in this grouping at just 65MHz above reference speeds. Its Boost Clock frequency is also lower than the other cards at just 1,059MHz. The board features a very short 7” circuit board, compared to over 9 inches on the other cards, but its extra-long cooling shroud makes the card just as big and long as the others.

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Gigabyte GTX 660Ti OC Version

Gigabyte 660 Ti

Big fans of overclocking

The Gigabyte card is also an overclocked card, having a stock GPU clock speed of 1033MHz, which is 118MHz higher than stock. It also features a decent overclock on its Boost Clock that gives it a ceiling of 1,111MHz when overclocked. The card includes a massive cooling apparatus that features twin 100mm fans blowing down onto aluminum fins fed by two fat copper heatpipes connected to a heat exchanger. The cooling setup is so big it overhangs the edges of the card a bit, but we don’t mind—it was the quietest card in our testing by a clear margin and remained silent even under full load—an impressive feat for a card that is overclocked this much.

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MSI GTX 660Ti Power Edition

MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition

When one Frozr just isn't enough

The MSI GTX 660 Ti is an overclocked version of the 660 Ti, hence the name Power Edition. The company has pushed the core clock speed up 105MHz from the reference design and given the Boost clock quite a bit of latitude as well. Memory speed is 1,502MHz, just like the reference design and all the cards in this roundup. Keeping the whole things frosty is an elaborate cooler with a funny name—Twin Frozr—that is comprised of two heatpipes embedded into a flat, wide array of aluminum fans.  Two decently sized fans squat down on top of the heatsink and do an amazing job of keeping temperatures in check: we never saw the card go above 61C under full load, but it was easily the loudest cooler in this group when run at full load. The fan spun down nicely once the stress was relieved, like a college student exhaling after a tough final exam. 

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Asus GeForce GTX 690 Review

SLI speeds on a single card

Hello, gorgeous. That’s what we said when we first laid eyes on Nvidia’s reference design for the GeForce GTX 690, which combines two full 28nm GK104 GPUs into one PCB and covers them with the best-looking cooling shroud we’ve seen on any videocard. Our in-depth analysis of the reference card can be found in our August 2012 issue, but we can’t verdictize a reference card. If you’re wondering how this Asus GTX 690 differs from the reference card Nvidia sent us, wonder no more: It’s exactly the same, except the edges of the PCB are a slightly different color.

Still gorgeous. Still massive.

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MSI GeForce GTX 670 Power Edition

EVGA GeForce GTX Titan

MSI GeForce GTX 670 Power Edition

A smokin' fast GTX 670 card designed for overclocking

We’re big fans of the GTX 670 cards, and that’s not a joke relating to their generous-size cooling mechanisms, either. Oh no this is a serious love affair, brought on by the fact that this $400 GPU can be just as fast, if not faster, than the $500 GTX 680 flagship GPU with just a little overclocking. Not only is achieving that level of performance “sticking it to the man,” it’s also sound economics.

 

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XFX Radeon HD 7850 Black Edition Review

Outsized performance from a midrange card

The $250 price point is where the hardcore and the serious gamer part ways. It’s not that hardcore gamers aren’t serious—it’s that they sometimes lose perspective, willing to throw vast, silly sums of money at shiny high-end GPUs. Serious gamers know that a good $250 graphics card will buy you high frame rates on standard, 1080p displays without requiring a second mortgage.

XFX’s “Ghost” fan shrouds are easy on the eyes, but they don’t vary much from card to card

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Asus GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Review

More power than a stock GTX 680

Every GPU generation has its flagship videocards: the ones with the top-of-the-line GPU with all cores enabled, loaded for bear. In this generation, those cards are Nvidia’s GTX 680 (with a full GK104 GPU inside) and AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 (with a full Tahiti GPU). These cards are monstrously fast, but they’re also expensive and tricky to manufacture. Not all parts come off the line fully functional. So a few months after each flagship GPU launch, the vendors come out with a slightly stripped-down version that uses binned top-end GPUs with a few parts disabled, or lower clock speeds. AMD’s Radeon HD 7950, for example, uses the same GPU as the 7970, but with 28 GCN units instead of 32, and with an 800MHz reference clock instead of 925MHz. The cheaper, lower-powered video cards appeal both to gamers with shallower pockets and also to vendors, who clock those stripped-down, less expensive GPUs right back up to within spitting distance of their full-powered peers. Thus we arrive at the Asus GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP, a factory-overclocked GTX 670 with a custom cooling solution.

The DirectCU II cooler’s three direct-contact heat pipes keep the GPU cool.

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Asus GeForce GTX 680 Review

Asus has been coming on strong in graphics cards for several years now, though it never offers quite the variety of versions as companies like XFX and EVGA. Typically, Taiwan-based Asus will ship a reference card under its main brand, and then a custom-built, high-end card under its DirectCU brand. At a later date, the company might ship a super-high-end card using the company’s Matrix or Mars sub-brands. Price differences between Asus’s high-end and standard versions are wider, too, so it’s a little easier to figure out which card really is the premium version.

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EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Review

Consider the bog-standard reference-card design. Enthusiasts often sneer at the thought, but the GTX 680 reference design is efficient, quiet, and fast. You often have to spend extra for higher clocks and more fans—and more moving parts and heat often equate to a higher probability of failure.

The EVGA GTX 680 we’re reviewing here is a standard reference card, but EVGA equips it with one of the best overclocking software tools we’ve tested.

You can use Precision to tweak the base clock, Boost clock, voltage, fan settings, and more. The GTX 680 GPU itself offers good overclocking headroom, so a few quick tweaks using Precision should get you 5–10 percent pretty easily.