Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB

gigabyte-gtx760-4gb

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB is one of the most sold graphics cards today. It has proven to be a great card for those with a 1080p gaming setup as it is relatively affordable and can often be found for around $250. In recent months companies like Gigabyte have begun offering 4GB models of this popular card for an extra $40-50 over the price of the base model with 2GB of memory.  Gigabyte currently has the Gigabyte GTX 760 GDDR5-2GB for $259.99 and the Gigabyte GTX760 GDDR5-4GB for $299.99, so they are charging $40 or 15% more to have double the frame buffer. Many gamers are wondering how much memory they need, so when we got the chance to look at the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB we couldn't pass it up.  We would finally be able to see if the extra frame buffer was just a marketing gimmick or something useful that was worth the extra money.

gigabyte-gtx760-angle

The Gigabyte GTX760OC-4GD  is a factory overclocked card, which means that it runs with a base clock of 1085MHz, a boost clock of 1150MHz and the 4GB of memory operates at 1502MHz or 6008MHz effective.  The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB reference card runs at 980MHz base, 1033MHz boost and 1502MHz on the memory.  This means that Gigabyte has a 10.7% overclock on the base clock, so right off the bat you'll be getting a nice performance boost versus other models that are running reference card speeds.

gtx760-4gb

The Gigabyte GTX 760 4GB is a pretty long dual-slot card, so make sure you measure your case to ensure that it fits inside okay. The cards black PCB is 10-inches in length, but the fan shroud hangs over the end of the card bringing the total length of the card to 11-inches. The three eleven blade fans have an actual blade diameter measurement of 75mm.

geforce-gtx760-HDMI

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 OC WindForce 3X 4GB GDDR5 graphics card has a total of four display connectors.  You have dual-link DVI-I, dual-link DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. All of the video outputs are standard size, so no adapters are needed.  The only downside to using full size connectors is that the exhaust fan outlet is small, but due to the WindForce 3X GPU Cooler design most of the air is blown back into the chassis.

gigabyte-gtx760-gpu

Here is a closer look at the end of the video card to show how the fan shroud is pretty much open all the way around the card. The fans push air down into the two large aluminum heatsinks and then the air pretty much goes out in every direction once it hits the PCB.

gigabyte-windforce-cooler

There are a total of six copper heatpipes on this card with three going to each aluminum cooling fin array. You can see the gap in the arrays underneath the middle cooling fan in the image above.

geforce-gtx760-sli

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB graphics card supports triple-SLI, so Gigabyte supports it as well and the card has a pair of SLI connectors along the top of the PCB for multi-GPU systems. Gigabyte ships the card with blue colored dust protectors on all the video outputs, PCIe slot and the SLI connectors (we removed them for the pictures).

gtx760-4gb-skhynix

Gigabyte is using 2Gb SKhynix GDDR5 SGRAM memory ICs with part number H5GQ2H24AFR-R0C. Each chip has a storage capacity of 256MB and they are speed rated for 6Gbps operation at 1.5V. 

Now that we know the basics about this card, let's take a look at the test system and then compare a GeForce GTX 760 2GB versus a GeForce GTX 760 4GB with the base clock and memory clock speeds set identically. 

Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. It should be noted that we average all of our test runs. There has been some concern of people testing a cold card versus a hot card, but we've always done out testing 'hot' since the site started back more than a decade ago.

Video Cards & Drivers used for testing:

Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform

test-system

test-system

The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with BIOS 4401 that came out on 09/02/2013. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1866MHz quad channel memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-27 2T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD was run with firmware version 2.25.

 

The Intel X79 Test Platform

 

Component

 

Brand/Model

 

Live Pricing

 

Processor

 

Intel Core i7-3960X

 

Motherboard

ASUS P9X79 Deluxe

 

Memory

16GB Corsair 1866MHz

 

Video Card

 

Various

 

Solid-State Drive

 

OCZ Vertex 3 240GB

 

Cooling

 

Intel RTS2011LC

 

Power Supply

Corsair AX1200

 

Operating System

 

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

 

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB Video Card GPU-Z Information:

 gtx760-4gb-gpuz

gigabyte-760-idle

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card GPU-Z Information:

gtx760-2gb-gpuz

 

Far Cry 3

Farcry3 Game Screenshot

Far Cry 3 is an open world first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is the sequel to 2008's Far Cry 2. The game was released on December 4th, 2012 for North America. Far Cry 3 is set on a tropical island found somewhere at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. After a vacation goes awry, player character Jason Brody has to save his kidnapped friends and escape from the islands and their unhinged inhabitants.

FarCry 3 Quality Settings

FarCry 3 Video Quality

Far Cry 3 uses the Dunia Engine 2 game engine with Havok physics. The graphics are excellent and the game really pushes the limits of what one can expect from mainstream graphics cards. We set game title to 8x MSAA Anti-Aliasing and ultra quality settings before using FRAPS to manually benchmark each card.

fc3-19

Benchmark Results: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB reference card was running at 1085MHz Core, 1138Mhz Boost and 6008 MHz memory (effective) whereas the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB was running at 1085MHz Core, 1150Mhz Boost and 6008 MHz memory (effective). GPU-Z showed the NVIDIA reference card hitting 1215.0MHz in the games and the Gigabyte card was topping out at 1188.9MHz. This is a 26.1Mhz or just over a 2% clock advantage for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB video card. As a result the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB video card was in the lead on our 1080P test setup.  The average FPS was 33.8FPS on the 2GB card and 32.3FPS on the 4GB card.  Having the extra frame buffer did nothing at 1920x1080 as you can see from the frame rate over time chart above. 

fc3-25

Benchmark Results: Moving up to Ultra HD resolutions we tested at 2560x1600 on our Dell 30-inch display and found the cards nearly in a dead heat with the 2GB card averaging 19.4 FPS and the 4GB card averaging 19.0 FPS.  This shows that the additional frame buffer is helping just a little at 25x16 as the clock speed advantage appears to be nearly gone.  The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760's GK104 Kepler GPU is a powerful solution for 1080P gamers, but you can see the frame rate drops from the mid 30's down to the high teens when going from HD to Ultra HD resolutions.

fc3-38

Benchmark Results: We fired up the Sharp 4K monitor to do some 4K testing at 3840x2160.  We know from our benchmarking that running a multi-monitor setup at 57x10 or a 4K monitor at 38x21 needs more than 2GB to avoid stuttering on both AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards. This resolution didn't let us down and showed a huge performance difference between the two cards for the very first time.  As you can see the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB graphics card was finally able to put that extra memory to good use and shine in a benchmark! The bad news is that the GeForce GTX 760 doesn't have the horse power to push this many pixels and the frame rate is too low for the game to be enjoyable at either of these settings. 

4gb-full

As you can see from the GPU-Z screen shots above, Far Cry 3 really does gobble up the available frame buffer! The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB has 4096 MB of memory and GPU-Z showed that 4061MB was used when just playing Far Cry 3 on a 4K monitor for a couple hours.

2gb-full

If the Gigabyte WindForce 3X GTX 760 4GB video cards frame buffer it is safe to assume that the 2GB card was also full.  As you can see here 2043MB out of 2048MB was being used during our testing. Notice the GPU clock is set to 1085MHz on board cards, but the reference card still boosts higher. While we are looking at gaming load results we need to talk about the nice triple-fan GPU cooler that Gigabyte is using on this card. The Gigabyte WindForce 3X GPU cooler does an amazing job keeping this card cool as the 4GB card never got hotter than 64C and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB reference card would run at 82C when gaming. Something worth pointing out!

How much frame buffer did we use on each of our benchmark runs? The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB used the following amounts at each of the resolutions that we tested at:

1920x1080 - 1350MB
2560x1600 - 2060MB
3840x2160 - 3850MB

As you can see a 2GB card will easily suffice for 1080P gaming and can mostly handle 2560x1600! Let's take a look and see how Battlefield 4 runs on both of these video cards.

Battlefield 4

bf4-screenshot

Battlefield 4 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts. It is a sequel to 2011's Battlefield 3 and was released on October 29, 2013 in North America. Battlefield 4's single-player Campaign takes place in 2020, six years after the events of its predecessor. Tensions between Russia and the United States have beem running at a record high. On top of this, China is also on the brink of war, as Admiral Chang, the main antagonist, plans to overthrow China's current government; and, if successful, the Russians will have full support from the Chinese, bringing China into a war with the United States.

bf4-settings

This game title uses the Frostbite 3 game engine and looks great. We tested Battlefield 4 with the Ultra graphics quality preset as most discrete desktop graphics cards can easily play with this IQ setting at 1080P and we still want to be able to push the higher-end cards down the road. We used FRAPS to benchmark each card with these settings on the Shanghai level.

bf4-19

Battlefield 4 runs beautifully on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 graphics card and we were right around 50FPS during most of the gameplay. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB reference card averaged 53.5 FPS and the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB averaged 51.4 FPS. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB has a 26.1MHz clock advantage, so we expected it to be ahead at 1080P as less than 2GB of frame buffer is being used.

Battlefield 4 2560x1600

Moving from a 1920x1080 screen resolution up to 2560x1600 dropped performance by nearly 40% and both cards were able to average just over 30 FPS.  The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB reference card had a 1 FPS lead on average (31.4FPS versus 30.3FPS) thanks to what we suspect is the higher actual boost clock speeds on the GPU and nothing more than that. The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB video card was right there, but it wasn't able to put that extra frame buffer to good use.

bf4-38

At 3840x2160 we figured that we'd see the GeForce GTX 760 4GB video card easily take the lead, but BF4 must not use that much dedicated video card memory!  The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB averaged 16.4 FPS and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB reference card was at 16.5 FPS. This is one of the hottest game titles out right now, so it is disappointing that doubling the frame buffer from 2GB to 4GB doesn't translate into a better gaming experience.

bf4-4gb-load

We played through a couple maps on BF4 and we were able to get the memory usage up to 2997MB, so having 4GB of memory might help here and there. The bad news is that by the time you need more than 2GB of frame buffer the GPU doesn't have the power needed to game at that resolution. 

Power Consumption

gtx760-4gb

For testing power consumption, we took our test system and plugged it into a Kill-A-Watt power meter. For idle numbers, we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 15 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers we ran three games at 1920x1080 and averaged the peak results seen on the power meter.

power-consumption

Power Consumption Results: We wanted to know if the Gigabyte GeForce GTX WindForce 3X OC 4GB video card would use more power, so we left both cards at their stock settings and found that it consumed basically the same at idle and just about 10 Watts more when gaming.  Not bad for being overclocked with twice as many GDDR5 memory chips!

Sound Testing

We recently upgraded our sound meter to an Extech sound level meter with ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 36dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with 'A' frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.

noise-testing

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 OC 4GB is significantly quieter than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB reference card thanks to the WindForce 3X GPU cooler.  The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 OC 4GB card never got over 64C whereas the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 reference card would run at 82C when gaming. That makes the Gigabyte card 18C cooler and 8.2dB quieter when gaming!  That is a night and day difference. Both cards would idle between 26-27C.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

If you are shopping for an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 video card and are deciding between a 2GB and 4GB version you aren't alone.  We've had a ton of people ask us the same question and we figured that we'd do some testing to help others that might be wondering about it as well. Most gamers say that you want as much VRAM as possible, but very few have done any testing to back that up!

gigabyte-gtx760-angle

Gigabyte currently offers the Gigabyte GTX 760 GDDR5-2GB for $259.99 and the Gigabyte GTX760 GDDR5-4GB for $299.99. The cards are identical other than the amount of the frame buffer. The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 video card in general is a very nice card.  It is factory overclocked, fairly quiet and runs super cool (27C idle and 64C load). So, should you spay $40 more to double up on the memory? Our testing showed that while there were some benefits at Ultra HD resolutions on some game titles it wasn't enough to significantly impact the gaming experience. The issue with the GeForce GTX 760 series is that it is power by the GK104 Kepler GPU and there is only so many pixels that the 1152 stream processors and 32 ROPs can handle.  This means that while the additional memory did help when gaming at 4K resolutions in Far Cry 3, the GPU itself didn't have enough horse power to provide a smooth gaming experience. We would still get stuttering and tearing when gaming despite the fact that we had enough memory to render the scenes. 

 If you are looking to spend GeForce GTX 760 money and are considering spending an extra $40 for additional memory we highly suggest that you consider moving up to the GeForce GTX 770 series. The entry level GeForce GTX 770 video cards start at just $312.99 shipped  and you can pick up the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 GDDR5-2GB that we reviewed back in June 2013 for $334.99. The GeForce GTX 770 series uses the same GK 104 GPU and has 2GB of GDDR5 memory, but it has 1536 stream processors versus the 1152 on the GeForce GTX 760. If you game at 1680x1050, 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 you'll see a nice performance improvement across the board by stepping up to the GeForce GTX 770 series for as little as $13 more than a GeForce GTX 760 4GB. If you are an Ultra HD gamer or have a multi-monitor setup then you need to move to something more powerful like the GeForce GTX 780 3GB with the Gk110 GPU or the AMD Radeon R9 280X 3GB with the Tahiti GPU. Both of those cards have the horsepower and frame buffer needed to properly push a multi-monitor setup and most single Ultra HD monitors.

Legit Bottom Line: The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB video card is a very nice card, but by the time we see the performance advantages of having 4GB of memory it doesn't matter as the overall GPU performance is too low to have an enjoyable gaming experience.