NVIDIA GTX 670 Reviewccokeman - May 10, 2012
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Testing of the NVIDIA GTX 670 will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.
The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing, with the exception of the 3DMark 11 testing, where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA Control Panel, if applicable. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The latest press release driver will be used in testing of the GTX 690, GTX 680 and the GTX 670. Other NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 296.10 drivers; AMD will be using Catalyst 12.3 drivers.
- Processors: Core i7 2600K @ 4.4 GHz 100 x 44
- CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H100
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68AP-D3
- Memory: Mushkin 993997 9-11-10-28 1866Mhz
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 670
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1200
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: Lite-On Blu-Ray
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
- OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Comparison Video Cards:
- XFX HD 7970 Black Edition
- XFX HD 7950 Black Edition
- ASUS GTX 580 Direct CU II
- ASUS GTX 570 DIrect CU II
- ASUS GTX 590
- GTX 680
- GTX 690
- NVIDIA GTX 670 — Core 1231MHz, Memory 1638MHz
Overclocking a Kepler-based GPU is somewhat different from what we have been used to with prior generation NVIDIA video cards. Or for that matter any video card. While you still have to raise the clock speed, voltage and memory clocks, how they are applied is where the difference comes into play. NVIDIA uses GPU Boost to dynamically raise the clock speeds under load to increase performance as high as possible while still falling into the thermal (98C) and power design (300 watt) envelopes. If you have had fun overclocking a Sandy Bridge-based CPU from Intel you kind of get the gist of how it all works. NVIDIA uses both a hardware and software-based set of controls to ensure thermal and power envelopes are not exceeded while still allowing the highest possible performance. The baseline clock speed of 915MHz is used when the most demanding games are played yet in every game I tested the clock speed was usually above the 980MHz GPU Boost clocks for the majority of the test. It seems as though the controls used by NVIDIA seem to allow this kind of speed at will.
Raising the performance levels of the GTX 670 requires using a software-based utility such as EVGA Precision or MSI Afterburner to raise the GPU core and memory clocks, the power target limits, core voltage and the fan speed. Using all of these tools is going to be required to get the most from the Kepler GPU. After getting my legs wet on the GTX 690 I went straight for the top rather than inching the clock speeds up and set the power target to the 122% maximum level; boosting the clock speed to +153MHz on the core and +265 on the memory and bumping the core voltage to +1175mv. Then turned on Unigine 3.0 with all settings maxed out with a resolution of 5760x1080 to check stability. About two minutes in the familiar fan speed crash and black screen told me that was a little aggressive for this card. After a restart and applying the same setting and clock speeds I made a change to the GPU core clock speed and dropped it to +147 and dropped the voltage to +1150mv and reran the tests with success.
Now at a lower resolution a higher clock speed was possible but my testing includes resolutions up to 5760x1080 and the clock speeds have to be stable up to that level. The GTX 670, when run at the default speed setting, showed a nice increase in clock speed above the 980MHz GPU Boost clock speed in many games with as high as 1097MHz on the GPU core or 100MHz over the default boost clock. This is because the GPU was staying underneath the 100% power target. Still a clock speed of 1231MHz (as high as 1245MHz) is over 300Mhz faster than the base clock speed on the GK104 core and 138MHz higher on the GDDR5 memory (6552MHz QDR). When running through the benchmark suite with the GTX 670 overclocked we saw measurable gains in performance across the board in each game tested.
Maximum Clock Speeds:
Testing for the maximum clock speed consists of looping Unigine 3.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds fail when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment fails, then the clock speeds are adjusted and the test is rerun until each card passes the testing.
- Gaming Tests:
- Metro 2033
- Batman: Arkham City
- Battlefield 3
- Sid Meier's Civilization V
- Unigine Heaven Benchmark 3.0
- DiRT 3
- Mafia II
- 3DMark 11
- Power Consumption