Asus GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II OC 2 GB Graphics Card Review (Part 3)

4/23/2013 2:10:06 AM

Test configuration and testing method

All participating graphics card will be tested in a system with the following configuration standard:

Test configuration

·         Motherboard: Intel Siler DX79SI (Intel X79 Express, LGA 2011, BIOS 0494 from 7/23/2012)

·         CPU : Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition, 3.3 GHz, 1.2 V, 6×256 KB L2, 15 MB L3 (Sandy Bridge-E, C1, 32nm)

·         CPU cooling fan : Phanteks PH-TC 14PE (2×135 mm fans at 900 RPM)

·         Thermal surface : ARCTIC MX-4

·         Graphics card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP 2 GB (TI-DC2T-2GD5); Asus GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II OC 2 GB (GTX660-DC2O-2GD5); Sapphire Redeon HD 7870 GHz Edition OC 2 GB; HIS 7850 IceQ Turbo X 2 GB (H785QT2G2M)

·         System storage: DDR3 4×4GB Mushkin Redline (Spec: 2133 MHz / 9-11-10-28 / 1.65 V)

·         System hard drive: Crucial m4 256 GB SSD (SATA-III, CT256M4SSD2, BIOS v0009)

·         Drive: for programs and games: Western Digital VelociRaptor (300GB, SATA-II, 10000 RPM, 16MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” HDD silencer and cooler

·         Backup drive: Samsung Ecogreen F4 HD204UI (SATA-II, 2 TB, 5400 RPM, 32 MB, NCQ)

·         Case: Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel; three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S2 fans at 1020 RPM; back panel: two Noiseeblocker NB-BlackSilenPRO PL-1 fans at 1020 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM)

·         Controlling and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC3

·         Power source: Seasonic SS-1000XP Active PFC F3 1000W (with a default 120 mm fan)

·         Screen: 27” Samsung S27A850D (DVI-I, 2560×1440, 60Hz)

Here are pictures and technical specs of products participating in testing process:

Products participating in the tests

Products participating in the tests

To reduce the dependence of the graphics cards performance on the overall platform speed, I overclocked 32 nm six-core CPU with BCLK frequency set at 125 MHz and “Load-Line Calibration” allowed at 4.625 GHz. The processor Vcore was increased to 1.49 V in the motherboard BIOS:

Overclocking CPU

Overclocking CPU

Hyper-Threading tech was enabled. 16-GB DDR3 system memory worked at 2 GHz frequency with 9-11-10-28 timing parameter and 1.65V voltage.

The test session took place on February 7, 2013, based on Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 with all updated criteria and drivers as of that date as follows:

·         Drivers Intel Chipset WHQL from 02/07/2013 for motherboard’s  chipset;

·         DirectX End-User Runtimes from 30/11/2010;

·         AMD Catalyst 13.2 Beta 5 ( driver from 02/05/2013 + Catalyst Application Profiles 12.11 (CAP2) for AMD graphics card;

·         Driver Nvidia GeForce 313.96 Beta from 29/01/2013 for Nvidia graphics cards.

We carried out our tests in two following resolutions: 1920x1080 and 2560x1440. The tests were performed in two different image modes: “Quality+AF16x” – default image quality with drivers enabling 16x antialiasing filtering process and “Quality+ AF16x+MSAA 4(8)x”, allowing 16x antialiasing filtering process and full screen at 4x or 8x if the average frame rate was high enough to comfortably experience games. We enabled anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing filtering when setting up games. If the corresponding demand were not enough, we changed these settings in the Control Panels, Catalyst and GeForce drivers. We also disabled Vsync here. There were no other changes in the driver settings.

Ever since we have already reviewed a few basic GeForce GTX 660 graphics cards, the list of games and apps used was shortened and included two popular system-standard suites and 9 latest games of various genres with the up-to-date updates as of the beginning of the test session time:

Games participating in test session:

·         3Dmark 2011 (DirectX 11) – version, Performance and Extreme profiles;

·         3Dmark 2013 (DirectX 9/11) – version 1.0, benchmarks in “Cloud Gate” , “Fire Strike” and “ Fire Strike Extreme” scenes;

·         Metro 2033: The Last Refuge (DirectX 10/11) – version 1.2, maximum graphics quality settings, official standard PCB, highest graphics-quality settings; DOF and MSAA4x disabled; AAA enabled, two consecutive test sessions.

·         Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai (DirectX 11) – version 1.1.0, built in standard (Sekigahara battle) with maximum graphics settings and enabled MSAA 4x in one test mode;

·         Crysis 2 (DirectX 11) – version 1.9, we used Adrenaline Crysis 2 Benchmark Tool v. BETA with “Ultra High” graphics configuration, activated HD features, two runs the same demo recorded on “Times Square” level;

·         Battlefield 3 (DirectX 11) – version 1.4, all images set to “Ultra”;

·         Sniper Elite V2 Benchmark (DirectX 11) – version 1.05, used Adrenaline Sniper Elite V2 Benchmark Tool v1.0.0.2 BETA with maximum graphics settings (“Ultra” profile), Advanced Shadows: HIGH, Ambient Occlusion: ON, Stereo 3D: OFF;

·         Sleeping Dogs (DirectX 11) – version 1.5, used Adrenaline Sleeping Dogs Benchmark Tool v1.0.0.3 BETA with maximum graphics settings, Hi-Res Textures PCK installed, FPS Limiter and V-Sync disabled, two consecutive runs of the built-in benchmark with quality antialiasing at Normal and Extreme levels;

·         F1 2012 (DirectX 11) update 10, used Adrenaline Racing  Benchmark Tool v1.0.0.13 with image-quality settings at “Ultra”, “Bonnet” camera mode;

·         Borderlands 2 (DirectX 11)- version 1.3.1, built based on system benchmark with maximum image quality settings and maximum PhysX level, FXAA enabled;

·         Hitman: Absolution (DirectX 11) – version 1.0, high image quality settings.

If the game allowed recording the min fps reading, they would also be performed on the charts. We ran each game test or scored the system twice but only if the difference between the 2 didn’t exceed 1%. If it exceeded 1%, we would run the tests at least one more time to have the repeated results.

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