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Nvidia unleashes new weapon of choice for PC gamers

In gamer talk, Nvidia says it is unveiling a new weapon of choice for gamers today. In English, that means a new graphics chip. Starting at $299, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti GPU (graphics processing unit) is a new midlevel graphics chip that can keep up with the latest high-end PC games.

nvidia 2The new chip, pictured within the add-on graphics card above, is based on the powerful Nvidia Kepler architecture that the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company introduced in March with its high-end chip, the GeForce GTX 680.This new chip is the kind of gadget that will help the PC take back the throne of top gaming machine from the video game consoles.

When Nvidia launched that chip, it reclaimed the throne as the world’s fastest graphics chip, something only gamers or scientists at NASA could appreciate. The new chip will make its way to more of the mass-market, price-conscious gaming enthusiasts. As such, Nvidia says it will bring blazing-fast game graphics to a much wider market.

The chip is a sequel to the GTX 560 Ti (based on the previous-generation Fermi architecture) from 2011. The 660 Ti is 41 percent faster than the 560 Ti, and it is 58 percent faster than the GTX 470 chip from 2010. The 660 Ti falls below the GTX 670, GTX 680, and dual-GPU GTX 690 in the graphics hierarchy. As such, it is Nvidia’s most affordable high-end chip.

max payne 3The GTX 660 Ti has support for DirectX 11 tessellation, TXAA, and PhysX technologies. That means it will play games faster, with smoother imagery and more realism. Using tessellation means that a character such as Max Payne from Max Payne 3 will have ears that look real, rather than blocky or jagged (as pictured). It can drive three displays from a single graphics card. James Wang, product manager, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the 660 Ti can keep up with rival cards that cost $50 more while consuming 25 percent less power.

Nvidia said that the 660 Ti will run Max Payne 3 at 44 frames per second, compared to a barely acceptable 29 frames per second on the GTX 470. The new Secret World game will run at 61 frames per second on the 660 Ti, compared to 31 frames per second on the GTX 470. The TXAA anti-aliasing technology means that buildings won’t shimmer when you move down a street in a realistic shooter game.

When you put two GTX 660 Ti cards paired together in a single machine, the performance beats rival Advanced Micro Devices’ chip by 21 percent. Those who buy a new GPU from a participating retailer or web site will get a voucher for a free copy of Gearbox Software’s Borderlands 2, which launches next month. Borderlands 2 runs at 78 frames per second on a 660 Ti, compared to 45 frames per second on a GTX 470. Nvidia says the 660 Ti is 20 percent to 30 percent faster at running games than the AMD Radeon HD 7870.

The 660 Ti is based on a 28-nanometer Kepler architecture (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter). It has 1,344 CUDA cores and consumes 150 watts of power.

Suppliers shipping cards with the new 660 Ti include ASL, ASUS, Colorful, ECS, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Innovision 3D, Jetway, Leadtek, MSI, Palit, Point of View, PNY, Sparkle, and Zotac.


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