11:11pm Jan 30th 13 and edited 5:34pm Feb 24th 13
Hey everyone, I'm excited to report that I have recently received a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Ti Windforce OC graphics card (courtesy of Exile5, NVIDIA and Gigabyte). Today I'll be taking a look to see how it performs in my system with two of the games I play; namely Call of Duty 4 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. I'll also be focusing on one of the included features of the GTX 660 Ti that I believe is the next big thing (in terms of hardware) for competitive gaming.
As you may know, The NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti was released a few months ago and is considered as one of the best price/performance graphics cards on the market today. With the new Kepler architecture, NVIDIA has stepped it up a notch with better performance, less energy consumption and less heat output compared with the previous generation. In addition to this, Kepler improves/adds a number of new features which you can read all about here: http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/introducing-the-geforce-gtx-680-gpu#kepler-architecture
Here are the specifications for the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Ti Windforce OC graphics card:
The specs of my computer:
And a couple of benchmarks:
As you can see above, the NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti is more than adequate for my gaming needs; it's quite amazing how quickly GPU technology is advancing! At about ~$100 cheaper than a GTX 670, the GTX 660 Ti is not too far behind the performance of a GTX 670 and is an excellent mid-range card.
Previously with my old card, if I wanted to keep a steady frame rate, I wasn't really able to turn on antialiasing or other graphical features. As most of you know already, in competitive play, it's more important to keep a stable frame rate at the cost of visual appeal. Now, thanks to the GTX 660 Ti, I'm able to change plenty of graphical settings without having to make that compromise.
The main feature of my GTX 660 Ti that I'm excited about using, is the NVIDIA 3D Lightboost technology. So, you might be thinking: "What does 3D have to do with competitive gaming?". Well, it's not so much the 3D aspect that I'm excited about...
3D LightBoost works by adjusting the LED backlight in an LCD monitor to pulse twice as brightly in unison with the LCD lenses in the 3D Vision glasses, making the resulting images up to 2 times brighter than previous 3D products.
NVIDIA's explanation of LightBoost Technology
NVIDIA Lightboost is a patented technology which is built into a handful of new monitors (so far) and needs to be complemented by a graphics cards which support NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 (such as the GTX 660 Ti). In order to increase the brightness, NVIDIA enables supported monitors to strobe the LED backlight in sync with each refresh of the screen. This is good for 3D, but also has an excellent side effect of dramatically reducing motion blur.
As some of you may be unfamiliar with what a strobing backlight is, here's a video by Mark Rejhon of blurbusters which shows the difference:
As shown in the video, with Lightboost disabled, each frame bleeds into the next due to the top-to-bottom refresh method of modern day LCDs. With Lightboost on, however, the backlight is switched on and off per refresh which almost eliminates bleeding frames; similar to a CRT monitor.
As you can gather, it is in the interest of competitive gamers to reduce motion blur as much as possible (especially for FPS gamers).This empowers you to see vital in-game details clearly, even when moving fast, which otherwise would have blurred into the background. In the top end of competition, this can mean the difference between winning or losing a match.
It's hard to portray a visual thing such as this in text, so I have created a short video to try and convey the benefits of LightBoost.
Benefits of NVIDIA LightBoost - By Spachala
As demonstrated in the video above, you can try this out for yourself by downloading PixPerAn (Pixel Persistance Analyzer) from the bottom of the following Prad.de webpage: http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/testsoftware/pixperan.html.
This webpage also gives a nice explanation of motion blur which probably makes more sense compared to my babble.
I strongly encourage you to try the Readability Test within PixPerAn so you can get a better understanding of the impact this technology can make. Setting the Tempo to 7 and comparing it with 20, you'll realise how much of a difference LightBoost really makes; Tempo 20 with LightBoost enabled is a breeze to read in comparison.
Bear in mind that the monitor that I'm currently using (Samsung S23A950D) is not an officially supported monitor and I do not recommend you purchasing this monitor for LightBoost. For a list of currently supported monitors, please see: http://www.3dvisionlive.com/node/12153
If you currently have a LightBoost enabled monitor and a compatible NVIDIA Graphics card, please have a look at Mark Rejhon's website which details how to set up LightBoost in 2D mode: http://www.blurbusters.com/zero-motion-blur/lightboost
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All in all, the GTX 660 Ti is an excellent midrange card from Nvidia. Whether you're a competitive gamer like me seeking the best performance, or a casual gamer who wants to awe at NVIDIA's new TXAA antialiasing mode; the GTX 660 Ti is an affordable card which packs a great deal of features and performance for the price.
If you have any questions or queries in regards to any of the above, please don't hesitate to tweet me on @spachala; I'll respond to you pretty quickly. Also, a final shoutout goes to Exile5 Management, NVIDIA and Gigabyte for making this review possible.
Who Am I?
I am the captain of the Call of Duty 4 division for Team Exile5 and have been competing in eSports for over 7 years. Alongside my team, I have won multiple tournaments at a National level and am currently working in the IT industry.