Everybody understands the direct correlation between working hard and getting results. After a certain point, however, working hard is simply not enough to increase gains. This is true whether you are exercising or whether you are engineering a piece of performance equipment. Working smart is equally important and an efficient work rate maximizes the output beyond what is possible through brute force alone. When NVIDIA introduced their Fermi GPU series, enthusiasts saw the brute strength of what NVIDIA’s GPU design team could come up with. Subsequent updates with the release of the GTX 500-series showed what multiple, small important changes can do to make it seem like the design was a different beast entirely.
NVIDIA, it seems, has found the balance between working hard and working smart with the introduction of the GK104 cards. Highly efficient and power conscious, the recently introduced GK104 cards were astoundingly a major leap forward, in terms of performance, compared to the 400 series’ transition to the 500 series. Since $300 video cards are out of budget range for over 90% of gamers worldwide, NVIDIA is now introducing the GK106 to the mainstream gamer crowd. The full implementation of the GK106 silicon features five SMX units distributed across three Graphics Processing Clusters with 960 total CUDA cores and 80 texture units. In terms of memory capabilities, the GK106 comes with three 64-bit memory controllers 384K L2 cache and 24 ROP units. This full implementation of the GK106 is available on the GTX 660 video card being introduced by various manufacturers on launch day with their own unique spin in cooling design. MSI, in particular, utilizes their Twin Frozr III cooling technology to further improve thermal performance and overclocking headroom over the reference design.
The MSI GTX 660 Twin Frozr OC video card’s core clock comes out of the box set to 1033 MHz, 53 MHz more than the stock 980 MHz. The MSI GTX 660 Twin Frozr OC’s boost clock also gets bumped up from 1033 MHz to 1090 MHz. To keep temperatures cool, MSI has outfitted the GTX 660 OC with Twin Frozr III technology, producing 19C cooler temperatures and quieter by 12.9dB, compared to the NVIDIA reference design. MSI also used long-life solid capacitors on the GTX 660 Twin Frozr OC, rated up to 10 years under full load. For total peace of mind, the MSI GTX 660 Twin Frozr OC is backed with a 3-year limited warranty.