NVIDIA GTX 670 Reviewccokeman - May 10, 2012
» Discuss this article (55)
What we have is the reference board equipped GTX 670 from NVIDIA. From the front the card looks similar to the GTX 680 but from the back you will notice that it is quite different. The PCB does not run the length of the entire video card. A smaller PCB was used that measures 6.5 inches in length with overall card length at 9.5 inches. This shrink in size allows the card to fit in a larger variety of chassis. The blower style fan vents the thermal load out of the chassis to promote better component cooling in smaller form factor chassis. The GEFORCE GTX logo on the top side of the fan shroud looks good but sadly does not light up like the logo on the GTX 690.
Connectivity options for the GTX 670 include a pair of Dual Link DVI ports, a full size DisplayPort 1.2 port and an HDMI 1.4a port to connect up to four monitors simultaneously. NVIDIA Surround is supported on the GTX 670 in a 3+1 configuration. The venting on the mounting bracket is used to vent the thermal load out of the shroud on the GTX 670. The trend has been to enlarge these vents to reduce back pressure and noise from the cooling fan. The back end of the card is closed up completely without any intake channels so all of the air comes through the fan opening in the shroud.
There are two SLI brdge connections on the GTX 670 allowing SLI configurations of more than two cards. With the GTX 670 a second card is not needed to enjoy NVIDIA Surround as it can handle this with just a single card. Power requirements include two 6-pin PEG power connections. The TDP is 170W with a minimum power supply requirement of 500 watts. NVIDIA has enabled a feature that lets the end user know when one of the 6-pin power connectors is not inserted correctly with a warning on the screen that tells the user to check the power connections. The reasoning behind this is that one of its top support issues comes down to simple basic installation mistakes in not putting in the power connector fully.
Pulling off the shroud we can get in and see what kind of cooling solution that is employed on the GTX 670. A small copper-based heat sink with nickel-plated fins is used on the GPU core and a small aluminum sink is used on the VRM circuit. The blower fan is attached to the mini-me sized PCB with a pair of screws and extends the length of the card out by three inches. To help reduce noise from the blower fan an acoustic dampening material is used to eliminate unwanted tones. The mini-me sized PCB was a surprise initially but as it turns out the GPU is efficient enough to move the power circuit to the left side of the board by rotating the GK104 core. By rotating the core and moving the power circuits there is an increase in power integrity and efficiency. With the power circuit no longer on the right side of the PCB it was removed saving on cost of goods and allowing a smaller overall card.
The GTX 670 is built around the GK104 Kepler core. As a scalable, modular-type core much like the Fermi micro-architecture, individual SMX units can be removed to downsize to fit a performance point. The GTX 670 has a total of 3.54 Billion transistors and is equipped with four GPC (Graphics Processing Cores) with seven SMX instead of the eight on the GTX 680, which drops the CUDA core count to 1344. Like the GTX 680, the GTX 670 has 32 ROPs but only 112 Texture units. Clock speeds are similar to the GTX 680 at 915MHz with a GPU Boost clock of 980MHz, although I saw much higher in my testing. The memory subsystem remains unchanged from that of the GTX 680 with four 64-bit (256-bit) memory controllers. 2GB of GDDR5 memory is used on board clocked at 1502MHz (6008MHz QDR). The memory used on the GTX 670 is from Hynix with part number H5GQ2H24AFR-R0C.
With that quick look at the GTX 670 and what's under the hood let's take a look at all it has to offer in terms of performance and value.