Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Amp! Extreme

1/19/2013 3:40:40 PM

Zotac pushes the GTX 660 Ti 2GB to its limits

Although Nvidia's GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB didn't hit the sub-$320 price that many were hoping for when it was released, it still put in a good showing and offered a respectable price and performance balance compared to the rest of the market.

Not content with the hefty 13% overclock it applied to its Amp! Edition of the GTX 660 Ti 2GB, Zotac has gone one step further and pushed the core clock to a whopping 1098MHz for its Amp! Extreme Edition, a 20% boost over the reference frequency of 915MHz. This gives the card a boost clock of 1176MHz, although it will reach 1254MHz under enough load. The memory frequency, 1.65GHz (6.6GHz effective), is the same as the regular Amp! Edition, and is equal to a 10% increase from stock speeds.

Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Amp! Extreme

Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Amp! Extreme

As a reminder, the GPU of the GTX 660 Ti 2GB is a 28nm Kepler GK104 processor, with 1,344 stream processors and 112 texture units in the pipeline, alongside four rasterisers and seven tessellation units. In that regard, it's the same as the GTX 670 2GB, but compared to the costlier card, it has one of its 64-bit memory controllers disabled, which reduces its active ROP count from 32 to 24 and its memory interface from 256 bit to 192 bit. With its overclocked memory, the Amp! Extreme Edition therefore has 158.4GB/s of total memory bandwidth.

Annoyingly, the Extreme Edition hasn't been upgraded from the Amp! Edition in any way apart from the clock speed, as the cards are physically identical. That's why it's very odd that the Extreme Edition can be found for around $32 less than the regular Amp! Card, although whether or not this price difference will remain in place for long is impossible to say. The black and orange dual slot cooler is 193mm long and provides direct cooling to the GPU but not the memory chips, and it features two 80mm down draft fans that exhaust hot air back into your case.

Description: Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Amp! Extreme

Two DVI ports, an HDMI connection and a single DisplayPort form the array of the video outputs and, as before, the Extreme Edition supports multi-card SLI with its dual SLI connections. Despite the increased overclock, the four GPU power phases and two memory ones have not been changed or added to, but it's still a bonus to see that the VRMs receive cooling from their own fixed heatsink.

With eight 256MB GDDR5 memory chips and only three memory controllers, it has been necessary to double stack two of the chips on the rear of the PCB. This means that four memory blocks in total are connected to one memory controller, and two each to the remaining two controllers. These rear mounted memory chips are also left uncooled.

Performance across the board is noticeably improved over the stock GTX 660 Ti 2GB, but even the massive overclock hasn't been enough for the card to catch the GTX 670 2GB and make up for its memory interface deficiencies. At higher resolutions, the performance gap between the cards gets larger as more strain is placed on the memory. The cooler does an admirable job, keeping temperatures below those of a stock GTX 660 Ti despite the increased clock speeds, and staying nice and quiet too.

Attempts to overclock the Amp! Extreme Edition card are rendered pretty useless, as the GPU is already running close to its maximum potential. My sample begun to experience glitches and issues after adding only 20MHz to the core clock and 25MHz (100MHz effective) to the memory, and again these clocks were not enough for the card to catch the GTX 670 2GB. Kudos to Zotac for shipping a card with such a high factory overclock, however.

As far as GTX 660 Ti cards go, the Amp! Extreme is excellent value. It runs as fast as you could expect a board partner's card to go, and is small, cool and quiet too. However, GTX 670 2GB cards are still falling in price, with some partners making cards available for pre-order for under $425, and others being available now for $441.

Description: Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Amp! Extreme

An extra $32 or so for the GTX 670 2GB is well worth it, as the extra memory controller will make it the more sensible purchase in the long run. It also has plenty of juice left to be squeezed from it, whereas the Amp! Extreme Edition is already running at close to full capacity, yet still finds itself consistently outpaced by its bigger brother at stock settings.


·         Price: $401

·         Manufacturer: Zotac

·         Website: www.zotac.com

·         Required spec: Free PCIe expansion slot, two six-pin PCIe power connectors


·         Quality: 8

·         Value: 8

·         Overall: 8


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