The word “thunder” and variations thereof have a certain allure that IT companies cannot help but succumb to every once in a while. Zotac is the one using the term now, in its newest graphics card.
The company hasn't actually released the new video board. We've learned of it thanks to some photos that surfaced on Expreview.
The full name of the item is GeForce GTX 660 Thunderbolt Edition, which is somewhat peculiar because no clock tweaks of any sort are part of the feature set.
That is to say, the base speed of the graphics processing unit is still 980 MHz (1,033 MHz GPU Boost), and the 2 GB of GDDR5 (192-bit wide memory interface) have the same 6 GHz frequency as on the original. There is also a distinct lack of Thunderbolt connectors.
What the newcomer does have is a better PCB (printed circuit board) and cooler. The photos that made their way to the net are primarily about the cooler actually, so we'll deal with it first.
The aluminum fin stack might look like any other at first glance, but it is actually a thick, monolithic aluminum heatsink, a hybrid of sorts between heatsinks and fin stack, with three copper heatpipes passing through it.
For those unaware of the difference, heatsinks are easier to clean and have greater spaces between ridges.
The “EClean” technology is used by the cooler as well, a mechanism that lets the shroud be detached easily, by pressing a retention notch (the shroud is suspended on rails).
As for the printed circuit board, it holds the 28nm GK106 GPU (960 CUDA cores), a single 6-pin power input, two DVI ports, an HDMI output, and a DisplayPort connector. It seems to be black in color.
No price has been mentioned, and it would not have made much difference to most of the world if it had been, since Zotac will keep this board within Chinese borders.