People like to exaggerate problems with ATI cards.
That is true! I do not feel we have gone into a fanboy contest here yet, and I hope we do not ever get there... it is such a waste of time.
That said there also are issues with Nvidia. Like the latest beta version and ENB showed... alot of people upgraded and suddenly everyone had the sun through every building!
Driver issues happen for both companies, and AMD have gotten better over the years, but they still have a horrible reputation to get past. Granted a large part of this is due to some of the major AAA titles have been more optimized for Nvidia cards, and hence produced better results in benchmarks.
but the differences are often to aesthetics
Aesthetics are part of it no doubt. However there are also large differences in what the cards support. I mention CUDA since it is the most obvious one where Nvidia is still far ahead of AMD. Again mostly because they where out quicker, and hence most people naturally started to use it.
PhysX is the next largest difference, and games made for PhysX will ofc
. have more effects at higher framerates then AMD can provide since they cannot use the technology.
I don't disagree with ENB being a bit more efficient on Nvidia cards, but then again, AMD has a lead at mainstream and lower end, and the difference in ENB's performance will be neglected by simply having a faster card.
It is not just performance wise that Nvidia is better for ENB. It is also largely in terms of stability and weird bugs etc. There are again subtle differences at the driver level that can have something work on Nvidia and not on AMD, but of course this also goes the other way around! Boris is afterall just one guy who does this in his spare time. And if he develops on an Nvidia card, then some AMD related issues slip through obviously.
Whilst VRAM might come into consideration when choosing similarly speced cards, I think it's ridiculous to think that your hypothetical GTX 660 would have enough power to utilise 3GB of video memory efficiently. It's a waste of money from that point of view. Another thing is, how did they implement 3GB VRAM on a card with 192-bit bus? Seems like you don't mind having a card with limited bandwidth.
Not sure what you mean by this to be honest. The reason they put the extra Gb on the card is just a marketing stunt I imagine. Higher numbers always look better after all.
As for it not having enough power to utilise it... not sure what you mean here. I have not seen a computer based on any of the more modern cards that have the bus speed of the GFX card being a bottleneck... at least not in games. There CPU, RAM, HDD etc. will all cause a bottleneck much earlier.
So I guess the reverse question is also relevant. Why do you need a card with such a high bandwidth when it is almost never the cause of bottlenecks ?
Getting that card is a bad idea. But sure the peeps on this forum know better.
Again my point is only to get the card that suits your needs. And not a general "Nvidia is always better then AMD" since that is just not true.
If you need CUDA, PhysX etc. then there is not even a choice in the matter sadly. And in terms of cost/performance ratio the 660 GTX 3Gb is the best one Nvidia has to offer.
Sorry if you felt that I advocated that people just get Nvidia because they are so much better etc! That was not my intention!