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NVIDIA GTX 670 Review

ccokeman    -   May 10, 2012
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Conclusion:

After having looked at both the GTX 690 and GTX 680 and now the GTX 670, it is clearly evident that Kepler-based GPUs deliver a higher level of gaming performance than the competition at a better price point. Priced at $399 it is equal to or less expensive than HD 7950 offerings at more than a few etailers. Sure you can find bargains with rebates but for the most part the $399 price point is at the low end for an HD 7950. HD 7970s are still at the $499 price point. Why is this such a big deal? Well the NVIDIA GTX 670 cleans house with the HD 7950 in just about every benchmark and game tested. There are a few wins for the HD 7950 at 5760x1080, but at 1920x1080 where most players will be gaming, it's a no win situation. What's even more impressive is that in the majority of tests it beat out AMD's $499 single GPU powerhouse HD 7970, all the while using less power and running cooler. Both of these bonuses can't be overstated since you won't have to mortgage the kids' futures to pay the power bill for your gaming fix. As impressed as I was with the GTX 690, the GTX 670 is even more impressive because it takes a Kepler GK104 with one less SMX and delivers performance levels almost on par with the GTX 680.

The cooling solution used is adequate for the task of cooling down the GPU and memory and is the same one used on the GTX 680. Temperatures were very close to what the GTX 690 delivered all the way around without the noise penalty associated with previous generation cards. When overclocking the GTX 670 the maximum fan speed I could set in the EVGA Precision application was 80%. At this level the fan was audible inside the chassis if you listened for it. If the card BIOS controls the fan speeds, the maximum it would ramp up to with the temperatures delivered was 53%. For all intents and purposes this is dead silent. Overclocking the GTX 670 is a way to gain additional FPS performance. NVIDIA does this dynamically for the end user up to a point with its GPU Boost technology. On this card the stock clock speed on the GPU is 915MHz with a boost speed of 980MHz. It was rare in my testing to see a boost clock as low as 980MHz as I found it to be much closer to 1100MHz in just about every game I tested. Not just close as in 25MHz away, but I saw 1097MHz using the stock voltage and fan speed. That's a 182MHz boost without even doing anything but playing a game. Adding clock speed to the GPU and memory were easy enough with EVGA Precision or the latest version of MSI Afterburner. The final clock speeds for this card were 1230MHz on the GPU and 1638MHz (6552MHz QDR). Overclocking drives the performance up quite nicely in all the games and benchmarks tested with a score of almost P10000 in 3DMark 11.

The GTX 670 proves that you do not need the highest dollar video card on the market to enjoy a surround gaming experience with framerates above 30FPS. If you need more you can always step up to a second card for a smooth running SLI setup for an even higher level of performance and FPS scaling with the eye candy turned up. Adding a 3DVision 2 setup to the scenario provides a more engaging game experience, but as a single card 3D Surround is going to be a little hard on the hardware as there is some overhead with the addition of the 3DVision setup. At 1920x1080 you can turn up the settings ,including PhysX with 3DVision, to get the most visually stimulating gaming. Adaptive VSync is a new feature for the Kepler line up and is used to manage VSync by dynamically turning VSync on and off to minimize frame tearing and reduce stuttering. FXAA and TXAA are implemented with the Kepler lineup to improve texture aliasing without the overhead associated with MSAA.

We spoke with NVIDIA who assured us we will see plenty of stock available on the GTX 670. We really hope so, considering the GTX 680 is hard to find. We asked NVIDIA why there was a shortage and the company told us because it was selling so well. We decided to make some inquires to some big retailers to see what they said, and the response was the GTX 680 is outselling the 7970 by as much as four to one. That is pretty scary when you think about it; great for NVIDIA but bad for us who have slow Internet connections that can't buy quick enough.

What this all boils down to is that NVIDIA has delivered a wicked fast card in the $399 price point that will essentially deliver the highest FPS performance per dollar spent. As an upgrade for the gamer who has been sitting on a GTX 470 this card is a great upgrade path and offers up a whole new level of gaming performance. No need to stop at the GTX 570 when you can get this kind of bang for the buck. The GTX 670 is a cool running, efficient card capable of delivering a high level of performance with the added bonus of being able to use the entire NVIDIA ecosystem. It's fast, its frugal on power and it's quiet. Just what the doctor ordered. Kepler continues to perform very well and we are excited to see what is next from the green camp. As for the GTX 670, it's better than make-up sex in the morning. :)

 

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Overclocking
  • Cooling
  • Price for Performance
  • Adaptive VSync
  • 3D Surround
  • Surround gaming
  • New AA methods
  • SLI ready
  • Low power

 

Cons:

  • None


 

Editors' Choice



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: GTX 670
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Metro 2033
  6. Testing: Batman: Arkham City
  7. Testing: Battlefield 3
  8. Testing: Unigine Heaven Benchmark 3.0
  9. Testing: Sid Meier's Civilization V
  10. Testing: DiRT 3
  11. Testing: Mafia II
  12. Testing: 3DMark 11
  13. Testing: Temperatures
  14. Testing: Power Consumption
  15. Conclusion
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