The GeForce GTX 670
What happens when you disable one of the Streaming Multiprocessor (SMX) units on the NVIDIA GK104 processor used for the GeForce GTX 680 video card? If you answered that you come up with a GeForce GTX 670 video card that is available for $100 less, you are on the right track!
This morning NVIDIA announced the GeForce GTX 670 2GB GDDR5 video card that has a total of 1344 CUDA cores and has seven streaming multiprocessors instead of the eight found on the GTX 680. NVIDIA also lowered the clock speeds down a bit as the base clock on the core of the GeForce GTX 670 is 915MHz (980MHz Boost) versus 1006MHz (1058MHz) on the GeForce GTX 680. The 2GB of GDDR5 memory remains untouched and stays clocked at 6008MHz (effective). Even with one less multiprocessor than the GTX 680, gamers will be able to experience amazing gaming performance and for a better value.
The price versus performance value is better on the GeForce GTX 670 as it is costs just $399, which is $100 less than the GeForce GTX 680. The GTX 670 is less than 10% slower than a GTX 680, so you get card that costs 20% less and still packs a mean punch. With a little overclocking, pretty much any GTX 670 should be able to get up to GTX 680 performance levels, so gamers have a very interesting card to check out. Who knows, maybe you can even unlock the SMX unit that NVIDIA said was fused off!
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 graphics card has visually changed a decent amount as NVIDIA has completely redesigned the PCB on this card to make it more cost effective and smaller. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 measures in at 9.5-inches in length, but the PCB is just 6.8125-inches long! This is amazing if you want to run water cooling as you could possibly have an insanely fast graphics card that is under 7-inches in length!
The GeForce GTX 670 has a maximum TDP of 170 Watts, although the typical board power is around 141 Watts. If you overclock this board and max out the power target slider at +122% the highest TDP will be just 173 Watts. This means that just two 6-pin PCIe power connectors are needed on a 500 Watt or greater power supply. As you can see NVIDIA has created a pretty impressive card that doesn't consume too much power or take up that much space.
It should be noted that NVIDIA did make some changes when it comes to SLI, so if you plan on running more than one video card be sure to listen up. The GeForce GTX 680 supports 2-Way, 3-Way, and 4-Way SLI. The GeForce GTX 670 supports just 2-Way and 3-Way SLI. NVIDIA figured that people looking to break overclocking world records wouldn't be running 4 GTX 670 boards and disabled that functionality. Since GeForce GTX 670 and GTX 680 both run derivatives of the GK104 core we know it is possible, but NVIDIA made the executive decision to lock it down.
When you look at the features of the GeForce GTX 670 and GTX 680 next to each other you can see how similar the two cards are. Notice that the largest performance different is with the peak texture fillrate. The GeForce GTX 680 is rated at 128.8GT/s, while the GeForce GTX 670 is at just 102.5GT/s. The memory bandwidth on both cards is virtually identical at 129.2 GB/s. The performance tests that we will do today will be very close from the looks of it!
The EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC
Our friends over at EVGA sent a retail boxed card for testing, so that we will go dive into the features of that card. EVGA will initially be carrying four difference GeForce GTX 670 models:
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB: $399.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Superclocked: $419.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB: $469.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Superclocked: $489.99
The card that EVGA gave us was the $419.99 priced 2GB Superclocked edition, so it comes factory overclocked. This card will be available under part number 02G-P4-2672.
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked Features:
- Base Clock: 967 MHz
- Boost Clock: 1046 MHz
- Memory Clock: 6210 MHz (effective)
- Memory Size: 2GB GDDR5
- Texture Fill Rate: 108.3 GT/s
- Memory Bandwidth: 198.72GB/sec
The EVGA graphics card uses the NVIDIA reference design for the the PCB and the GPU cooler, but has been dressed up a bit to look unique. Besides adding several stickers to the plastic fan shroud, EVGA also changed out the exhaust bracket for a high-flow model.
As we mentioned on the previous page, the GeForce GTX 670 is 9.5" in length and is a dual-slot card.
Turning the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 you can see that the PCB stops short and that the fan is actually bolted to a base plate that is being used on the card. NVIDIA managed to move components around on the PCB and utilize the back of the PCB more effectively. This is how they were able to shorten the PCB down to under 7" and make the card so short. NVIDIA had this to say about the new PCB design.
"To get the GeForce GTX 670 into smaller form factor chassis’, we made a number of adjustments to the reference board to save space.
Thanks to the power efficiency of the GTX 670 GPU, we were able to move the GTX 670’s power supply to the west side of the GPU. The GPU was then rotated to improve power integrity and increase efficiency, as the power supply is much closer to the GPU than on traditional boards.
With the GTX 670’s power circuitry moved to the other side of the board, the area on the right side of the PCB was empty and was therefore removed to save board space.
To provide the cooling you’d expect on a high performance GPU, we then incorporated the same cooling fan used on the GeForce GTX 680. This fan is fitted with acoustic dampening material to minimize unwanted tones in the fan noise.
The GTX 670’s blower fan exhausts hot air from the GPU outside the system chassis. This helps to reduce chassis temperature inside the PC, as GPU heat is blown outside the PC rather than being trapped within it. This feature is particularly beneficial for small form factor PCs." - NVIDIA PR
The one thing that we noticed with this design is that there are now GDDR5 memory chips on the back of the board running at 6GHz and beyond with no back plate or active cooling. We will be testing these GDDR5 memory IC's to see how hot they get on our temperature testing page.
EVGA is using GDDR5 memory chips that are manufactured by Hynix Semiconductor. Their marking (H5GQ2H24AFR-R0C) suggests that they work at a voltage of 1.5 volts and run at a speed of 6.0Gbps. These are relatively new memory ICs as Hynix just released them in Q4 2011.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB GDDR5 graphics card has two dual-link DVI
outputs (one dual-link DVI-D and one DVI-D) along with DispalyPort and HDMI connectors. EVGA uses a High-Flow video card exhaust bracket that helps lower temperatures and noise levels. EVGA has been using designs like this since 2010 and they work great.
Here is a different angle of the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked. As you can see the end of the card is enclosedand the corners are rounded. We used a pair of dial calipers and found the mounting holes around the GPU are spaced 58mm apart in case you are curious about mounting a water block or a third party GPU cooler.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 video card requires a 500 Watt or greater power supply with a minimum of 30 Amps on the +12V rail and two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors for proper connection. It should be noted that the NVIDIA minimum system power requirement is based on a PC configured with an Intel Core i7 3.2GHz CPU. These are pretty reasonable power requirements, so that is good news for everyone!
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 graphics cards has full SLI support and comes with a pair of SLI bridges located along the top edge of the graphics card. The GeForce GTX 670 supports just 2-Way and 3-Way SLI, so don't expect any Quad-SLI gaming with this card!
With the black plastic fan shroud removed you can see that NVIDIA uses two heat sinks to keep the hot components cool. One is over the GK104 Kepler GPU and the other is over the PWM area. The fan that is attached to the end of the card blows air across the front of the card.
The fan is held on with six screws and can be easily removed.
Take a look at how short the PCB is on the GeForce GTX 670 reference card! At 6.8125-inches, this is one of the smallest video cards that has ever come across our test bench. This card is just begging for water cooling!
Now that we have a good feel for what the GeForce GTX 670 is we can show you the test system and get straight to the performance numbers
The 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.
Drivers used for testing:
- Catalyst 12.4 WHQL - AMD Radeon HD 6990
- Catalyst 12.2 WHQL - AMD Radeon HD 7970
- GeForce 301.10 - GeForce GTX 680
- GeForce 301.24 - GeForce GTX 580
- GeForce 301.34 - GeForce GTX 690 & GeForce GTX 670
Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform
The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with BIOS 0906 that came out on 12/22/2011. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1866MHz quad channel memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-27 1T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD was run with firmware version 2.15.
|The Intel X79 Test Platform|
Intel Core i7-3960X
ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
16GB Corsair 1866MHz
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Video Cards Tested:
- MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB - 1075MHz Core / 1400MHz Memory
- Sapphire HD 7950 3GB - 950MHz Core / 1425MHz Memory
- AMD Radeon HD 6990 OC 4GB - 880MHz Core / 1375MHz Memory
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4GB - 915MHz Core / 1502MHz Memory
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB - 1006MHz Core / 1502MHz Memory
- EVGA GeForce GTX 680 SC 2GB - 967MHz Core / 1552MHz Memory
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB - 915MHz Core / 1502MHz Memory
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 GPU-Z Information:
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC GPU-Z Information:
Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios. It is the sequel to the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. The game was released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The PC and Onlive version was released on November 22, 2011.
Batman: Arkham City uses the Unreal Engine 3 game engine with PhysX. For benchmark testing of Batman: Arkham City we disabled PhysX to keep it fair and ran the game in DirectX 11 mode with 8x MSAA enabled and all the image quality features cranked up. You can see all of the exact settings in the screen captures above.
Battlefield 3 (BF3) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America on October 25, 2011 and in Europe on October 28, 2011. It does not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista as the game only supports DirectX 10 and 11. It is a direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release and the PC download is exclusive to EA's Origin platform, through which PC users also authenticate when connecting to the game.
Battlefield 3 debuts the new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions. Unlike previous iterations, the new version can also support dense urban areas. Battlefield 3 uses a new type of character animation technology called ANT. ANT technology is used in EA Sports games, such as FIFA, but for Battlefield 3 is adapted to create a more realistic soldier, with the ability to transition into cover and turn the head before the body.
This game looks great and we tested with the highest settings possible. This means we used 'ultra' settings and really punished the cards being tested. We ran FRAPS for two minutes on the single player map called 'Rock and a Hard Place' for benchmarking.
Benchmark Results: The EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 reference card were both beat out by the GTX 680 in Battlefield 3. The EVGA GTX 670 SC was able to outperform the MSI R7970 Lightning at 1920x1080 and 1280x1024 by 1.3 frames per second at 19x10 which is nearly 2%. At 1280x1024 the EVGA GTX 670 SC has a larger lead on the MSI R7970 Lightning with a difference of 4.8 frames per second or 4.9%. At 2560x1600, the MSI R7970 had a solid performance margin over the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC with 3.1 fps or 6.9% separating them.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the third game in the Deus Ex first-person role-playing video game series, and a prequel to the original game. Announced on May 27, 2007, Human Revolution was developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. It was released in August 2011. Human Revolution contains elements of first-person shooters and role-playing games, set in a near-future where corporations have extended their influence past the reach of global governments. The game follows Adam Jensen, the security chief for one of the game's most powerful corporations, Sarif Industries. After a devastating attack on Sarif's headquarters, Adam is forced to undergo radical surgeries that fuse his body with mechanical augmentations, and he is embroiled in the search for those responsible for the attack.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution uses a modified Crystal Dynamics Crystal game engine, which some of you might know as the game engine from the last Tomb Raider game title. The game developers did some rather hefty modifications to this engine though as the graphics are superb in this title.
Dirt 3 (stylized DiRT 3) is a rallying video game and the third in the Dirt series of the Colin McRae Rally series, developed and published by Codemasters. However, the "Colin McRae" tag has been completely removed from this iteration. The game was released in Europe and North America on the 24 May 2011.
Dirt3 uses Ego 2.0 Game Technology Engine (more commonly referred to as Ego Engine or EGO, stylised ego), which is a video game engine developed by Codemasters. Ego is a modified version of the Neon game engine that was used in Colin McRae: Dirt and was developed by Codemasters and Sony Computer Entertainment using Sony Computer Entertainment's PhyreEngine cross-platform graphics engine. The Ego engine was developed to render more detailed damage and physics as well as render large-scale environments.
Aerial warfare has evolved. So have you. As a member of the ultra-secret H.A.W.X. 2 squadron, you are one of the chosen few, one of the truly elite. You will use finely honed reflexes, bleeding-edge technology and ultra-sophisticated aircraft - their existence denied by many governments - to dominate the skies. You will do so by mastering every nuance of the world's finest combat aircraft. You will slip into enemy territory undetected, deliver a crippling blow and escape before he can summon a response. You will use your superior technology to decimate the enemy from afar, then draw him in close for a pulse-pounding dogfight. And you will use your steel nerve to successfully execute night raids, aerial refueling and more. You will do all this with professionalism, skill and consummate lethality. Because you are a member of H.A.W.X. 2 and you are one of the finest military aviators the world has ever known. H.A.W.X. 2 was released on November 16, 2010 for PC gamers.
We ran the benchmark in DX11 mode with the image quality settings cranked up as you can see above.
The H.A.W.X. 2 PC game title runs on what looks like seven threads as you can see from the task manager shot seen above that was taken on the test system running the Intel Core i7-3960X processor.
Benchmark Results: The EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC was able to take the top spot of the single GPU cards at 2560x1600 by 2 frames per second! Which is impressive since the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 is the flagship card from NVIDIA, granted the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 is their super clocked version but even the reference GeForce GTX 670 is only 1 fps behind the GTX 680!
Just Cause 2
Just Cause 2 is a sandbox style action video
game developed by Swedish developer Avalanche Studios and Eidos Interactive, published by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2006 video game, Just Cause.
Just Cause 2 employs a new version of the Avalanche Engine,
Avalanche Engine 2.0, which is an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game will be set on the other side of the world, compared to Just Cause, which is on the fictional tropical island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Rico Rodriguez will return as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former boss, Tom Sheldon.
Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in the Ukraine. The game is played from the perspective of a character named Artyom. The story takes place in post-apocalyptic Moscow, mostly inside the metro station where the player's character was raised (he was born before the war, in an unharmed city), but occasionally the player has to go above ground on certain missions and scavenge for valuables.
This is another extremely demanding game. Image quality settings were raised to Very High quality with 4x AA and 16x AF. We turned off PhysX, but turned on DOF (Depth of Field) for benchmarking.
Benchmark Results: Metro 2033 is likely the most challenging gaming benchmark that we run. With that being said, our pair of GTX 670's performance was split by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 with the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC taking the lead.
3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
Since Futuremark has recently released 3DMark11 we decided to run the benchmark at both performance and extreme presets to see how our hardware will run.
3DMark11 Performance Benchmark Results:
Futuremark 3DMark11 with the performance preset showed that the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC had a score of P9002, this is faster than either of the Radeon HD 7970's. Though as respectable as a score of P9002 is, the NVIDAI GeForce GTX 680 still has a solid lead with a score of P9767. The reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX was able to muster up a score of P8745, only 257 3DMarks behind the EVGA SC edition.
3DMark11 Extreme Benchmark Results:
Once we ran the Extreme preset, we can see that the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC is still going strong with a score of X3045 which is enough to edge out the MSI R7970 and was 113 3DMarks ahead of the reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670.
Unigine Heaven 3.0
The 'Heaven' benchmark that uses the Unigine easily shows off the full potential of DirectX 11 graphics cards. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging, experience of exploring the intricate world is within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extent and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming. The distinguishing feature of the benchmark is a hardware tessellation that is a scalable technology aimed for automatic subdivision of polygons into smaller and finer pieces so that developers can gain a more detailed look of their games almost free of charge in terms of performance. Thanks to this procedure, the elaboration of the rendered image finally approaches the boundary of veridical visual perception: the virtual reality transcends conjured by your hand.
For this benchmark we used Heaven DX11 Benchmark Version 3.0, which just came out on March 7th, 2012. We haven't run this benchmark in over a year, so it will be interesting to see how this new generation of video cards handles this benchmark. We wanted to see how the cards would do with mild settings, so we disabled AA and AF and set the Tessellation to moderate. We ran the benchmark at 2560x1600, 1920x1200 and 1280x1024 to see how the cards would perform with a wide variety of settings.
With moderate tessellation enabled and AA and AF disabled the benchmark results were very close. The EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC held a lead of 2.9% at 1280x1024 and 1920x1080 over the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670. At a resolution of 2560x1600 the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC lost a little bit of ground and the lead dropped to 2.4% over the reference card.
Many feel that tessellation is one of the most important features of game titles today and in the future, so we set tessellation to extreme and maxed out the anti-aliasing at 8x and the anisotropic filtering at 16x. These are as high as you can set the tessellation and image quality settings in Heaven DX11 Benchmark v3.0, so it will really punish these cards.
As you can see performance is less than half of what it was with the previously and the performance between the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC and the reference card remained pretty constant. At 1280x1024 and 1920x1080 the difference dropped to 2.7% and 2.5% respectively. Though at 2560x1600 the difference increased to 3.3% instead of the 2.4% we saw above.
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 measured the peak wattage used by the system while running
the OpenGL benchmark FurMark 1.10.0 at 800x600 resolution. We also ran six game titles at 1920x1080 and averaged the peak results recorded the highest Wattage seen on the meter for the gaming results.
The Performance per watt on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 6670 is up to 2.5 times greater than GeForce GTX 470! It is supposed to be very power efficient, so this will be interested to check out. The AMD Radeon HD 6990 with Catalyst 12.4 WHQL drivers doesn't play nice with Furmark in full-screen mode, so we will not be including those results.
Power Consumption Results: Both of the GeForce GTX 670's had lower power consumption under load than any of our previous video cards. It isn't surprising that the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC draws slightly more power under load than the reference card. When running furmark, the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC pulled 322 Watts while the reference GTX 670 pulled 317 Watts. When taking the average of our 6 games, the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC had an average power consumption of 335 Watts and the reference GTX 670 averaged 331 Watts. We were expecting the Idle power consumption to be lower than the power consumption of the GTX 680 since the 670's each have one of the Streaming Multiprocessor (SMX) units disabled. Though being disabled doesn't mean that it isn't getting power. There are rumors floating around that the GeForce GTX 680's that were sent out to the review sites were cherry picked to run cooler, and boost further than the retail cards. There isn't any proof of this, but the rumors are flying. This would explain why the idle power consumption of the NVIDIA GTX 680 is lower than the GTX 670's by ~5%.
Temperature & Noise Testing
The GeForce GTX 670 has had some of the power circuitry moved to the other side of the board, so we wanted to check out the temperatures back there to see what was happening.
During benchmarking we found the back of the GeForce GTX 670 got up to 99C (210F) on our open air test bench with the processor being water cooled. Since we were liquid cooling the processor we didn't have much air circulated behind the card, so it got pretty toasty on the exhaust side of the PCB.
The Hynix GDDR5 memory chips are running over 6GHz and we found them reaching around 79-81C during gaming and benchmarking. We contacted NVIDIA with concerns about these temperatures and we were told that the modules are rated for operation in environments up to 115C and that we need not be concerned.
"Hynix spec says the memory can run at up to 115C max operating temp. So at 82C, you’re nowhere near the max temp the modules are rated for. If the modules were overheating you’d be seeing artifacts and other stability issues." - NVIDIA PR
Since video card temperatures and the heat generated by next-generation cards have become an area of concern among enthusiasts and gamers, we want to take a closer look at how the graphics cards do at idle, during gaming and finally under a full load.
We recorded temperatures during several scenarios on each of the cards we tested today and the benchmark results are shown above. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 had an idle temperature of 34C, while the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC was 33C. These two cards were 1C different at all test settings despite the EVGA card being overclocked. It looks like the high-flow exhaust bracket that comes with the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC really works as the temperatures were lower and so was the noise since the fan wasn't spinning as fast due to the lower temperatures. The GPU core temperatures don't look bad on the GeForce GTX 670!
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 38dB. 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.
The water pump on our water cooler is starting to grind, so we switched CPU Coolers and started our chart over for this review. The EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC was quieter than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 due to what we think are different fan profiles and the more free flowing exhaust bracket. Pretty impressive difference for something so simple. Both EVGA GeForce GTX 670 cards are quieter than the GeFroce GTX 580 reference design.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 Furmark:
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC Furmark:
Overclocking The GeForce GTX 670
EVGA has been producing the Precision Overclocking Utility for years and it has been without a doubt one of our favorite tools to overclock video cards since it came out. You can now adjust the power target of the video card and the GPU and Memory clock offsets within a certain range. EVGA Precision X 3.0.2 software makes overclocking easy and that is what we will be using this for this section of the review. We are also using the new GeForce GTX 670 skin that EVGA made for this card!
EVGA Precision X v3.0.2 lets you increase the power target to 122%, the GPU clock offset to 549MHz and the Memory clock offset to 1000MHz. We were told by EVGA that they are seeing overclocks similar to the GeForce GTX 680 and that we can expect to be running boost speeds of around 1200MHz after overclocking.
After spending some time with the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC 2GB we found that we were able to reach +130MHz on the core and +25MHz on the memory. This is a great overclock on the GPU core from what we can tell as the core was hitting 1280MHz in games and the memory was hitting 6264MHz!
Here is a GPU-Z screen shot of our highest stable overclock. We checked power consumption numbers at load and in Battlefield 3 we were using exactly 30 Watts more power at the wall with this overclock (331W versus 361W). Not every game pulls the same amount of power though and on Metro 2033 the difference was observed at just 11 Watts (322W versus 333W)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 at 915MHz core and 6008MHz memory:
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC at 967MHz core and 6210MHz memory:
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC at 1097MHz core and 6264MHz memory:
We tried out this overclock with Futuremark 3DMark 11 on the performance preset and saw the score go from P8745 on a bone stock NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 to P10065 on the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked with the highest overclock that we could get stable. This is a solid 15% or 1320 3DMark point increase from the card's stock settings. These cards are very overclocking friendly as you can see from our results here.
GeForce GTX670 Overclocked Benchmarks
In Futuremark 3DMark11 with the performance preset we found the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC had a score of P9002. Once we overclocked the already overclocked card an additional 130MHz on the core and 56MHz on the memory we were able to break past 10k with a score of P10065! Enough to blow past the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 by ~300 3DMarks!
In the game title Just Cause 2 we found the that overclocking the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC helped boost the frame rate significantly! At 1280x1024 we saw a 2.5% performance improvement, followed by 8.1% at 1920x1080 and 12.2% at 2560x1600. Considering this a free performance boost on an already overclocked card, speaks volumes!
In Metro 2033 our gains ranged from 1.9% at 2560x1600, 3% at 1280x1024, up to 4.4% at 1920x1080. These performance gains aren't as high as in some of our tests, but can you really complain about free performance?
The final game title that we benchmarked the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC overclocked on is Battlefield3. The performance at 1280x1024 jumped from 102.4 fps up to 111 fps! That's a jump of 8.4%! At 1920x1080 we saw a gain of 8.3% and 2560x1600 jumped by 10.6%!
Final Thoughts & Conclusions
Over the past two months we have seen NVIDIA successfully launch three GeForce 600 series video cards based off the GK104 Kepler GPU that have changed the way gamers are buying high-end video cards. Prices for the currently released NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 series cards
are a whopping $999 for the GeForce GTX 690 dual-GPU behemoth, $499 for
the GeForce GTX 680 and $399 on the GeForce GTX 670. It is pretty common to see AMD and NVIDIA trade victories at various price points for who has the best video card, but in the $399 to $999 price range it is clear to us that NVIDIA has raised the bar and has the better performing product. Not bad, considering that NVIDIA manged to topple their opponent with just a single GPU core!
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 has four Graphics Processing Clusters (GPCs) with 7 Streaming Multiprocessor (SMX) units, 1,344 CUDA parallel processing cores, 112 texture units, and 32 ROP units. There's a total of 2GB of GDDR5 video memory, running at 6,008MHz over a 256-bit memory interfaces to seal the deal. Those specifications are enough for the GTX 670 to compete on the same playing field as overclocked versions of the AMD Radeon HD 7970 that cost more as standard versions cost $459! When we fired up Battlefield 3 at 1920x1080 and saw we had an average of 72.6 FPS on the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC 2GB ($419.99) we were impressed as the MSI R7970 Lightning 3GB ($599.99) was getting just 71.3 FPS and costs $180 more!
The performance of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB and the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC 2GB are impressive at there default clock speeds and even more so when overclocked. For example the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 reference cards comes at 915MHz on the GPU base clock and can Boost up to 980MHz. The EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC that we got is factory overclocked to 967MHz on the base clock and can boost up to 1046MHz. Thanks to the EVGA Precision X overclocking utility we were able to increase the base clock up to 1097MHz (1176MHz Boost) for a healthy overclock! We increased the power target +122%, so in games we were able to hit 1280MHz on the core and that gave us some insane performance numbers. We are talking about over 10,000 points in 3DMark11 here and performance that rivals the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 and AMD Radeon HD 6990 dual-GPU monsters that were the fastest cards in the world back in 2011!
NVIDIA has done a remarkable job with the GeForce GTX 670 and it is the card to buy right now. The performance is close to that of a GeForce GTX 680 and the price tag is $100 lower, so there really isn't much bad to say about the card. The performance, power usage, appearance and overclocking abilities are all in order.
That said it will be interesting to see what NVIDIA plans on doing with the GK110 GPU and we have a feeling we might find out next week during GPU Technology Conference. There have been rumors that NVIDIA will be releasing a GK110 powered GeForce GTX 685 and that they company will slowly phase out the GeForce GTX 680. Last month we would have thought that idea was crazy, but looking at how close the GTX 670 and GTX 680 are in terms of performance it could be plausible. It's always fun to speculate, but we will find out the real story soon.
At the end of the day the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 is a great graphics card that is going to bring a world of hurt to AMD. NVIDIA has been unable to keep the GeForce GTX 680 in-stock due to a variety of issues, so it will be interesting to see how well they can do with the GeForce GTX 670. Historically, the lower skus are usually easier to make as they use fallout from higher skus. Since the GTX 670 uses a trimmed down GTX 680 core with some features fused off it should be readily available.
Legit Bottom Line: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 has become the card to have if you are looking in the $400 price range and want the best of everything!