I was just about to buy a 570 yesterday and decided to wait and sure enough I get an email from Newegg telling me they just released the 660ti and it's bundled with a download of borderlands 2!
A good read for what makes this new card tick (with benchmarks etc; it is very similar to a 670, the already limited memory bandwidth was slashed*, the casualty of making a new price bracket out of this GPU).
Which did this to the benchmarks vs the full memory bus on the GTX670 (at $400 vs the new card's $300).
And it makes the comparison with the new AMD card released to stores tomorrow (but called the same name as the card you don't want, the AMD 7950. You want the new one with Boost if you're buying AMD for $330) even more of a winning 6 of one, losing half a dozen of t'other (by quite some margin in the games where one design is clearly better). The only thing I would say about AMD is their new card uses about 60W more power under load to get this competitive performance and while it is dissipating that heat it is about twice as loud as it spins the fans up (+10dB = doubling of volume due to log, not linear, scale).
So at $300-330 we have two brand new cards coming to shops in the coming days and weeks and showing both major PC GPU manufacturers tweaking the designs they've been bringing to market over the last calendar year. nVidia is low power, low noise, and agile but the memory bandwidth is crippling (even vs last gen parts it is a step down) so some games really hurt while others use the power that is there to scream along. AMD are fighting at that price with a very good card that goes big and pays for it in noise and heat but clearly has nVidia crushed in games that want as much memory bandwidth as they can get. If you only play Crysis then you'd be crazy to think the 660Ti was good value; for BF3 then the 7950 Boost is $30 more expensive and 20% slower (1080p with FXAA) and even worse in Portal 2 with SSAA on. They're both good cards with very different strengths and better value than the $400-500 cards above them (if you can't justify throwing money at making all games sing at max settings).
* Memory bandwidth = bus size * memory speed so the $300 660Ti is 192bit * 6GHz (670 was 256bit * 6GHz) while the $330 competition from AMD is 384bit * 5.5GHz so AMD have a whole lot more memory bandwidth even though the headline frequency number is slightly lower.
Admittedly I have not been up on graphics cards for awhile now, but isn't the Ti branding just short hand for low end of whatever card is the current hot shit?
A while ago (few years) nVidia used the tags GS/GT/GTS/GTX at the end of their model names to denote the value families (budget, mainstream, enthusiast, bleeding edge) but then they decided to change this and put the tags at the start. The GTS and GS died and now you get GeForce (budget, not really gaming capable), GeForce GT (mainstream), and GeForce GTX (enthusiast). Only now even the cheapest discrete cards (to beat the iGPU that comes with every CPU you buy) can game and so there aren't any non-GT cards. Right now (with 600 series cards) then GT mean cheap to mainstream and GTX means upper-mainstream to bleeding edge.
The Ti is used to split two cards with the same model number in the mainstream segment. So a 660Ti will be faster than a 660 (non-Ti). This is the first Ti we've seen in the 600 series (and no corresponding non-Ti 660 was released at this time) but in the 500 series the 550 and 560 both had Ti and non-Ti editions with a range of crippling disabled section of the GPU to differentiate between them. In a sense the current GTX680 is actually a GTX670 Ti (the 670 is a slightly cut down 680 which either has a bad transistor in an area that could be safely disabled as it isn't used in the 670 GPU or didn't make the frequency requirements to pass all the test for the higher operating speed required of the 680). Edit: Of course you can say the same thing about the 570/580 and 470/480 where the x80 card is the full-fat GPU and the x70 is the same thing but with a small section disabled and a lower clock speed.
So the Ti isn't a mark of shame and nVidia's own benchmarking numbers point out that this 660Ti is actually on slightly off the pace of the 670 and 680 cards (and they put it as out-'theoretical-benchmark-3DMark'ing every single-GPU card they've ever made previous to the 600 series models). The big hole in their graph also points out that they probably will release a 660 non-Ti and possibly a pair of 650s to fill in their product line (in the $100-250 price range).
@Shivoa: Thanks for the info. Honestly, reading that over makes me sad that after all these years they still have to make things so stupidly complicated for no real reason. Just use A,B,C,D or 1,2,3,4 and call it a day. You shouldn't need a history lesson just to understand the naming conventions of these dam things, but such is the price we pay I guess.
@Shivoa: I read through the message you sent me before I bought the 660ti and your current post (the one below my op) and I have to say thanks for all the info. I am pretty happy with all the results and the review you posted for the 660ti. It has the crippling memory bandwidth problem, but the fact that it's worlds better than my GTX 285, and that I get a voucher for Borderlands 2 (which to me means that the card is $250 and the game is $50. I'd say that's a pretty good deal. I also have a distrust with anything AMD/ATI. I've had tones of trouble with their drivers and game breaking bugs they've had for me in the past. On top of that the lack of Linux driver support doesn't help either.
@crusader8463: The naming conventions are pretty simple. For Nvidia the x90 is usually a dual x80 card, while x80 is the top of the line single card. Every card below goes down by 10, so the x70 is worse than the x80, and the x60 is worse than the x70. The Ti denotation means that you are basically getting a souped up version of whatever card it is. ATI decided to do some crazy number swapping for the 6000 line so it's a bit harder to follow if you followed their previous lines, but generall the x970 is the dual card, the x950 is thd top of the line single card, followed by the x870, then x850 and down the line. Basically the higher number means a better card.
And before anyone kills me, there are times when a lower end card can be better in certain ways than a higher end card, and from a value standpoint a mid-range card is almost always superior to the top of the line model. But in theory that is how the numbering system works. Your actual mileage may, of course, vary.