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Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Amp! Extreme review

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Noob? 10th December 2012, 09:55 Quote
Those cards look unbelieveably short but then again I've a HD7950 and a GTX680.
Spreadie 10th December 2012, 09:59 Quote
What a pointless card!

Normally I'm a fan of Zotac's efforts, but £250 for a card that, when you wring it's neck, almost gets close to the stock performance of a card that can be had for less than £15 more. The only benefit I see is lower temps from the cooler - nowhere near enough to justify the price.

To be fair, Nvidia left the partners on a hiding to nothing when the 660Ti launched at a price so close to that of the 670, so I'm surprised that Zotac made the effort at all. Surely there's more mileage in souping up a 660 non Ti card?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noob?
Those cards look unbelieveably short but then again I've a HD7950 and a GTX680.
Same as the reference 670 (without the cooler), by look of it. I have a block on mine, and it only measures 175mm.
iajo 10th December 2012, 10:28 Quote
7950 from £220 on scan so £30 saving similar performance and could also be overclocked to be faster again if needed. I like Nvidia but their mid ranged cards seem a little overpriced.
CAT-THE-FIFTH 10th December 2012, 11:52 Quote
The drivers used were GeForce 306.23 for the Nvidia cards and Catalyst 12.8 for the AMD cards. The newer driver revisions have improved performance especially for the AMD cards.
Hustler 10th December 2012, 12:24 Quote
..still £50 overpriced, like all gfx cards these days.
xxxsonic1971 10th December 2012, 13:06 Quote
Should be around £200
Parge 10th December 2012, 13:17 Quote
I have the AMP! version of the 670 - it uses the 680 PCB so you get great OCing ability. However, Zotacs quality control is dubious at best - on my card the screws holding the cooler to the PCB have an integrated stop so temps raced to nearly 100C straight away - check out techpowerups review as they had the same issue. Luckily mine is under water so wasn't an issue.

"Important: All data in this review was obtained after I repaired a major design error of the card. When I received it, the card ran extremely high temperatures, reaching beyond 100°C. This is caused by screws with integrated stop, that resulted in too little mounting pressure between GPU and heatsink. I added four metal washers, by removing the screws, adding the washer and putting the screws back. The cooler was not removed for this procedure, thermal paste was not changed."

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/GeForce_GTX_670_Amp_Edition/images/tempfix.jpg
Tangster 10th December 2012, 19:47 Quote
Still doesn't really matter to me. There just aren't enough games that pose a serious challenge(even to my venerable 460) to warrant upgrading. I suspect there are plenty of people who feel the same way.
SchizoFrog 10th December 2012, 21:05 Quote
Tangster, I'm still gaming on an overclocked Palit 9600GT on 1680x1050 and as much as I would love to upgrade I can't afford to right now and don't really feel the need to either.
Adnoctum 10th December 2012, 22:30 Quote
"Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Amp! Extreme"? Really?

Zotac, when I have written "Zomg GeForce GTX650 Ti 5GB Super OC Black WTF! Edition" in the past, I was JOKING about the stupidity of graphics card marketing, Nvidia in particular, as well as the disconnect between the performance reality of mid-range GPUs matched to huge amounts of video RAM and ridiculous OTT names designed to appeal to 12 year olds (actual or emotional or intellectual).

It was a kind of social commentary. You shouldn't have taken it as INSPIRATION.

I know that this might be a bit of a dead time of the year, but what a waste of time this review is. The product is of very little use, with little to recommend it, and the results were entirely predictable from looking at the specifications and the price.

And as an owner of two Zotac cards (only one I purchased), I couldn't possibly recommend them other than in basic vanilla form. They do some really interesting products, often catering to a really niche market (one of mine is an under-volted and slightly down-clocked 9800GT that requires no external power), but their quality can be really low rent at times. Cooling solutions that have contact surfaces that look as if they had been ground on a coarse-grain belt sander, little fans screaming away or big fans with odd harmonics, and plastic-y bits that rattle or break.
This card is an excellent example of Zotac cooling style over substance, fiddly bits over functionality. It sits in a closed case and faces downwards, Zotac, who is going to look at it?
Anfield 10th December 2012, 23:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by iajo
7950 from £220 on scan so £30 saving similar performance and could also be overclocked to be faster again if needed. I like Nvidia but their mid ranged cards seem a little overpriced.

And thats before even factoring in the never settle bundle with amd cards (free far cry 3, absolution and sleeping dogs).
Spreadie 10th December 2012, 23:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
"Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Amp! Extreme"? Really?

Zotac, when I have written "Zomg GeForce GTX650 Ti 5GB Super OC Black WTF! Edition" in the past, I was JOKING about the stupidity of graphics card marketing, Nvidia in particular, as well as the disconnect between the performance reality of mid-range GPUs matched to huge amounts of video RAM and ridiculous OTT names designed to appeal to 12 year olds (actual or emotional or intellectual).

It was a kind of social commentary. You shouldn't have taken it as INSPIRATION.
Yes, it's true, Zotac scour the forums for little tidbits of your wisdom. :p ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
I know that this might be a bit of a dead time of the year, but what a waste of time this review is. The product is of very little use, with little to recommend it, and the results were entirely predictable from looking at the specifications and the price.

And as an owner of two Zotac cards (only one I purchased), I couldn't possibly recommend them other than in basic vanilla form. They do some really interesting products, often catering to a really niche market (one of mine is an under-volted and slightly down-clocked 9800GT that requires no external power), but their quality can be really low rent at times. Cooling solutions that have contact surfaces that look as if they had been ground on a coarse-grain belt sander, little fans screaming away or big fans with odd harmonics, and plastic-y bits that rattle or break.
This card is an excellent example of Zotac cooling style over substance, fiddly bits over functionality. It sits in a closed case and faces downwards, Zotac, who is going to look at it?
Whilst I agree that this is a redundant release, I think you're a little harsh on Zotac. They've produced some impressive OC editions in the past, but have been somewhat hamstrung by nvidia's pricing stupidity on this occasion.

Still, be it to praise or gripe, the article has generated some interest. Score another one for bit-tech. :D
rollo 11th December 2012, 00:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH
The drivers used were GeForce 306.23 for the Nvidia cards and Catalyst 12.8 for the AMD cards. The newer driver revisions have improved performance especially for the AMD cards.

bit tech sticks to 1 driver only for all its GPU testing, otherwise they would have to retest every card on the list and they just dont have the time to do that. ( i also dout its financially viable for what is a small ish site)
BlueFalcon 11th December 2012, 04:51 Quote
Yet another pointless review. These drivers are completely outdated on both sides, especially on AMD's side. The most disappointing part is how misleading these reviews are with old drivers. Yes, it does take time to retest older cards with newer drivers, but then if you don't have time to do that, either select 3-4 cards or compare direct competitors, in this case HD7950/7950V2 against GTX660Ti.

When you have a review that shows GTX660Ti outperforming HD7970 in Skyrim and BF3, you know it's basically wrong. Of course it's not the testing methodology that is flawed, but the use of drivers that missed all the performance upgrades in the last 2+ months.

For instance in BF3, HD7950 950mhz V2 cards and HD7970 are faster than GTX660Ti/GTX670, respectively.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/HD_7950_X2_Boost/8.html

In Skyrim, there isn't even a contest as HD7950 950mhz is even faster than a GTX680:
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/HD_7950_X2_Boost/22.html

I know you guys are trying really hard to do a good job but last couple GPU reviews have completely dropped the ball. There are times in the year when drivers hardly matter and there are occasions where testing without newer drivers is worthless/simply misleading to the consumer. This would be no different than testing Fermi cards with old 266.58 drivers after at least 3 revisions of subsequent drivers that give GTX400/500 cards a 9% performance boost on average:
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/2011/test-nvidia-geforce-285.79/3/

Since Catalyst 12.8, we've had 12.9, 12.10 and 12.11 b11. Frankly the same is true on the NV side as their drivers improved too.

Also, the test suite could be improved to include more recent games like Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed 3, etc.
Adnoctum 11th December 2012, 09:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie

Whilst I agree that this is a redundant release, I think you're a little harsh on Zotac. They've produced some impressive OC editions in the past, but have been somewhat hamstrung by nvidia's pricing stupidity on this occasion.

Still, be it to praise or gripe, the article has generated some interest. Score another one for bit-tech. :D

Hardware articles are always welcome, even if the product is pointless, but I just hope that this wasn't reviewed just because Zotac sent 10,000 out to reviewers, and over something else that is a little more interesting. But it is a bit of a dead time so it probably didn't bump anything else off the test bench.

As I said in my comment, Zotac does some interesting stuff. Stuff that makes XFX look like Johnny Boring on imagination zapping pills. And their mITX motherboards are as good as other makers, I have one of those too. I haven't had any hardware issues with them at all.

But the quality of the cooling they put on their hardware is really patchy.
No excuses for rough contact surfaces on a GPU heatsink that goes straight onto the die surface and should be smooth. No excuses for flimsy heatsink shrouds that rattle or (as reported above) is dangerously assembled. No excuses for bottom drawer cooling solutions on products that aren't particularly cheap.

My 9800GT wasn't cheap, and there are numerous single-slot solutions available to graphics card manufacturers that are cheap and reasonably quiet, especially if you are putting it on a low power product.
Instead Zotac slapped on a solid slab of finned, extruded aluminium and a tiny 50mm fan that screams when the card is loaded (and is audible when idle), and gets very hot on an under-volted/down-clocked GPU.
This on a card meant for HTPC use and attracting a price premium. I've had some noisy cards in my time (though not GeForce FX levels of noisy), but I had to put an after-market cooler on it.
I love the card, and it got some heavy use in some interesting places, but poor and cheap cooling choices. I had a reference 9800GT that was much quieter and cooler.
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