NVIDIA GTX 760 Review

ccokeman - 2013-06-14 19:02:25 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: June 25, 2013
Price: $249

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Introduction:

The last month has been pretty productive for NVIDIA as it launched the latest cards in its product stack, the GTX 780 and GTX 770, that drive gaming FPS to new levels. Add in the GTX Titan and the product stack available to the high end gamer looks pretty good. The mid range is still covered by the GTX 660, GTX 650 TI and GTX 650 while the upper end consists of the GTX 690, GTX Titan, GTX 770 and last but not least the GTX 780. The new GTX 760 is going to take the place of the GTX 660Ti in the line up and is supposed to be the last revision to the line for a while.

Coming to market at $249, the GTX 760 looks to be competitive with AMD's GHz Edition HD 7870 on the price points but comparing with the HD 7950 when it comes to performance. Delivering that performance is the latest revision of the GK104 Kepler core that is equipped with six SMX, 1152 CUDA cores, a 4x64-bit memory interface, and 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Clock speeds see a boost up 980MHz on the core with a GPU Boost 2.0 clock speed of 1033MHz. GDDR5 memory is pretty much standard over the last generation with modules rated for 1500MHz (6000MHz QDR) to go along with the same size 4x64-bit memory bus used on the GTX 680.

When you look at how far graphics cards have come, the three to four year upgrade cycle presents an incredible opportunity with the GTX 760. It offers up a significant upside in performance over prior generations such as the GTX 275 and GTX 560. Compared to a GTX 275 released four years ago, you can see an up to 200% boost in gaming performance at 1080 resolutions with the eye candy turned up with a 140% swing when coming from a GTX 560. On top of that you get access to the full NVIDIA tool box to allow you to enjoy the latest games to the fullest.

Let's see what kind of performance this card from NVIDIA delivers by comparison. At $249 its an interesting proposition.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Closer Look:

The GTX 760 card I received was a pure reference card and was a bit of Deja vu. Pulled out of the packaging it looked exactly like a GTX 670 with the smaller PCB, cooling solution, and shroud. Measuring 9.5 inches in length, it will fit in just about any chassis on the market from full towers to Mini ITX builds. The GTX 760 uses a PCIe 3.0 16x interface to connect to the motherboard and features the latest revision of the GK104 Kepler core. The front side features a plastic shroud that directs airflow from the blower-style fan through the heat sink and out the I/O bracket. The back side of the black PCB has four of the eight memory ICs, with a bracket used to hold the cooling solution in place on the GK104 core. The top of the card features the GeForce GTX logo for that ideal brand identification through a clear side panel window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Display connectivity includes a pair of DL-DVI ports, a single HDMI 1.4a port supporting audio over HDMI, and a full size DisplayPort that can support up to a 3+1 display surround setup. The back side of the GTX 760 is closed up tight with the back side of the card housing the cooling fan.

 

 

A pair of SLI bridge connections suggest that the GTX 760 can be used in a Tri-SLI configuration in a motherboard that supports three way SLI. Power is supplied to the GTX 760 via two PCIe power connections to provide the 170W TDP. A 500W power supply is recommended for use with a single GTX 760. Additional cards will increase the minimum size power supply needed.

 

 

The shroud comes off easily to show off the hybrid copper aluminum cooling solution. The heat sink is held in place with a total of four screws and is small by comparison to earlier revisions but should handle the heat load. A blower-style fan is used and is controlled with NVIDIA's adaptive fan controller that changes the perception of fan noise by controlling how and when the fan cycles up and down. A large aluminum heat sink is used to cool the VRM components with the airflow through the shroud.

 

 

NVIDIA's 28nm Kepler-based GK104 core is used to provide the muscle under the shroud. Equipped with 5.54 billion transistors, three or four GPCs housing six SMX (Streaming Multiprocessors) each with 192 CUDA cores for a total of 1152 on board the core. A total of 96 texture units and 32 ROPs along with a 512K shared L2 cache also share space in the Streaming multiprocessors. 2GB of GDDR5 memory from Hynix is used on the GTX 760 and is rated at 1500MHz (6000MHz QDR). NVIDIA improved the memory bandwidth on the GTX 760 by moving to a 4x64 memory bus to deliver 192.26 GB/s of memory bandwidth.

 

 

Gaming at 1920x1080 is the sweet spot that the GTX 760 was designed for. To deliver the best gaming experience your $250 can buy is the goal, so let's see how it delivers against this goal.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Specifications:

Graphics Processing Clusters
3 or 4
Streaming Multiprocessors
6
CUDA Cores
1152
Texture Units
96
ROP Units
32
Base Clock
980 MHz
Boost Clock
1033 MHz
Memory Clock (Data rate)
6000 MHz
L2 Cache Size
512K
Total Video Memory
2048MB GDDR5
Memory Interface
256-bit
Total Memory Bandwidth
192.26 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear)
 94.1 GigaTexels/sec
Fabrication Process
28 nm
Transistor Count
3.54 Billion
Connectors
2 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI 1 x DisplayPort
Form Factor
Dual Slot
Power Connectors
2 x 6-pin
Recommended Power Supply
500 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP)1
175 Watts
Thermal Threshold2
95° C

 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Features:


 

All information courtesy of NVIDIA

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

Testing of the NVIDIA GTX 760 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 adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. 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 NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 320.14 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 13.5 beta 2 drivers and latest CAP profile. The results generated in my testing reached by utilizing the latest FCAT tools to illustrate the true picture of the gaming experience. To do so will require a second PC setup to capture the data stream generated by the compared video cards.

 

Testing Setup:

FCAT Capture Setup:

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

 

Overclocking:

Overclocking a Kepler-based GPU has not changed much since the introduction of the architecture. Aftermarket utilities from MSI and EVGA are now available that fully support the 7 series GPUs, including the GTX 760 I am looking at today. The GTX 760 supports GPU Boost 2.0 and can deliver more spirited overclocking due to the new way clock speed management can be prioritized. With GPU Boost the boost speeds were managed against an adjustable power envelope. GPU Boost 2.0 complicates this a little bit by adding in a temperature envelope as one of the determining factors when setting boost clock speeds. You can prioritize one over the other but you will come closest to the power limit before the temperature limits are reached. At least with all of the cards I have looked at that support GPU Boost 2.0.

Getting the most out of the GTX 760 you will want to choose the utility of your choice but they will all give you roughly the same results. To reach the maximum speed on the core required increasing the voltage to the core by the maximum amount of 12mv, then raising the boost offset until the core failed during testing. The +100MHz offset gave a boost clock of 1215MHz in just about every game I tested and proved to be the point at which stability was reached after cycling down from +115MHz, which initially was stable but proved not to be so. Boosting the memory speeds was a bit easier as the memory kept scaling all the way up to 1652MHz (6610MHz QDR) with noting more than adjusting the memory offset. The final clock speeds of 1215MHz on the core and 1653MHz on the memory represent a bump of 182MHz or about 18% on the core and 152MHz or just over 10% on the GDDR5 memory. Free speed is always good but takes some trial and error to get there. With NVIDIA's partners delivering factory overclocked models I would expect the range of overclocks to improve!

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were rerun until they passed a full hour of testing.

 

 

  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Crysis 3
  3. Far Cry 3
  4. Battlefield 3
  5. Batman: Arkham City
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  7. 3DMark

 

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro: Last Light is the followup to the extremely popular game Metro 2033. Developed by 4A games and published by Deepsilver, this game uses the 4A game engine. In this game set a year after the missile strike on the Dark Ones you continue on as Artyom as he digs deeper into the bowels of the Metro.

 

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall the GTX 760 delivers roughly the same performance as a factory overclocked GTX 660 Ti at 1920x1080 and presents a significant up swing in performance over the HD 7950 and HD 7870 Myst. At 5760x1080 the GTX 760 vs GTX 660Ti relationship is still similar while it out performs the HD 7870. Sadly the HD 7950 I have bit the dust after running the 1920x1080 results.

 

FCAT Results:

Here in the percentile charts the GTX 760 delivers performance below the GTX 660Ti for most of the run at 1920x1080 but is still well ahead of the HD 7950 and HD 7870. At 5760x1080, the GTX 760's improved memory bandwidth lifts its performance above that of the GTX 660Ti and HD 7870. Frame times at 1920x1080 are not bad with some spikes that drive FPS averages while at 5760x1080 the frame times open up with fewer spikes. Yes, the charts say Metro 2033 as the scripts I am using will need an update.

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

This third installment of the Crysis franchise, developed by Crytek and distributed by Electronic Arts, uses the CryEngine 3 game engine, and requires a DirectX 11 ready video card and operating system due to its demanding graphics engine.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comapring the GTX 760 to the GTX 660Ti it replaces shows the cards to be well matched until you get to 5760x1080 where the added memory bandwidth helps out again. Against the HD 7950 and HD 7870 Myst it delivers close to a 10% improvement in performance.

 

FCAT Results:

The percentile charts and frame times bare out the FPS averages above with the GTX 760 and GTX 660Ti following the same plane delivering results above the HD 7870 and HD 7950. After three runs the GTX 660Ti continued to deliver the same results at 5760x1080. The FPS charts at the bottom represent a 60 second run through the game.

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

Far Cry 3 is the latest iteration in the Far Cry series. Released in the US in early December 2012 the it uses the Dunia 2 game engine and is published and developed by Ubisoft. This Action Adventure First Person Shooter offers both single player and multi-player modes.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again the GTX 760 and GTX 660Ti are delivering the same level of performance in both resolutions with a close to 10% boost in performance over the target cards the HD 7950 and HD 7870 Myst.

 

FCAT Results:

The percentile charts each tell a story that mirrors the average results above. The frame times are very tight and are usually less than 5ms from highest to lowest, however there is a large spike towards the beginning of the run.

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

Battlefield 3 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. Battlefield 3 uses the Frostbite 2 game engine and is the direct successor to Battlefield 2. Released in North America on October 25, 2011, the game supports DirectX 10 and 11.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In BF3, we start to see a little stratification of the results with the GTX 760 delivering a 3FPS margin over the GTX 660Ti and HD 7950. This margin shrinks at 5760x1080

 

FCAT Results:

In the percentile charts we do not see any surprises in the performance curves. The frame times delivered by the GTX 760 are very tight, showing a smooth game play experience in both resolutions.

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum released in 2009. This action adventure game based on DC Comics' Batman super hero was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Batman: Arkham City uses the Unreal 3 engine.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Batman: Arkham City AMD cards traditionally do well with the FPS results they deliver; this case is no different with the GTX 760 delivering 4FPS less than the HD 7950 at 1920x1080. The GTX 760 does outperform the HD 7870 in both resolutions.

 

FCAT Results:

As the percentile charts start to reach the 95th percentile the HD 7950 and HD 7870 Myst drop off a bit sooner than the GTX 760. Tight frame times will lead to smoother game animation and for the most part the comparison cards are all in the same envelope.

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. This was the first DX 11 benchmark to allow testing of DX 11 features. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes – Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this point in the results there are no real surprises when we get to them. The GTX 760 is dead even with the HD 7950 in this test at 1920x1080 and has a 2FPS margin above the GTX 660Ti.

 

FCAT Results:

Frame times are relatively tight with the exception of the GTX 760 that wanders up high for much of the first part of the test. This shows up clearly as you watch the benchmark. Each card has the same drops during the benchmark during transitions. At 5760x1080 there is a second drop just past the 80% mark.

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

3DMark: The just released version of Futuremark's popular 3DMark suite is designed to let a wider range of the user base the ability to make a comparative analysis of the gaming prowess of their systems from entry level PCs to notebooks and Extreme Gaming PCs.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you pull the CPU's abilities out of the equation the GTX 760 falls further behind the HD 7950. That being said the GTX 760 delivers higher scores than the GTX 660Ti and HD 7870 Myst in all six tests, but not by much.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine's Heaven Benchmark Version 4.0, with MSI's Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1200 using 8xAA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a 20-minute cool-down, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At idle the GTX 760 does a great job keeping the core cool and compares well to the rest of the comparison cards. Under load it does seem to run hotter than the rest of the cards with its reference cooling solution. At stock speeds the new fan tuning algorithms reduce the ramping up of the fan speed to meet each cooling need to keep the card within thermal boundaries while reducing the annoying fan noise associated with the constant fan speed increases and decreases. The overclocking results are a bit shocking considering the fan speed has been maxed out to provide the best thermals for stability.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Testing:

Power consumption of the system will be measured at both idle and loaded states, taking into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use Unigine's Heaven Benchmark version 4.0 to put a load onto the GPU using the settings below. A 15-minute load test will be used to heat up the GPU, with the highest measured temperature recorded as the result. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system. With dual-GPU setups, the two core temperatures will be averaged.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At idle the NVIDIA GTX 760 is at the lower end of the comparison cards at 116W at stock speeds and 120W when overclocked. Under load NVIDIA's GTX 760 stays under 300W at stock speeds and is more efficient than every card except the GTX 660Ti when the clock speeds are ramped up.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 Conclusion:

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 760 is going to for the most part fill a niche between the HD 7950 and HD 7870 and deliver performance that is slightly better than the GTX 660Ti that it is replacing. You wonder what's the upside if the performance of the GTX 760 is similar to the GTX 660Ti? Cost to the consumer is one thing. Current pricing from Newegg has the GTX 660Ti ranging from as low as $259 after rebates to as high as $315 after rebate. The GTX 760 is going to retail for $249 with today's hard launch with stock available at all your popular e-tailers and brick and mortar stores. NVIDIA's partners will have custom versions available and with the trend over the last few launches the pricing for these cards should prove to be attractive.

Second would be the feature set. The GTX 760 is built for gaming at 1920x1080 with the eye candy on. That it does, taking advantage of all the tools in NVIDIA's toolbox including PhysX, GPU Boost 2.0, new fan management algorithms, 3DVision support, Tri-SLI support, TXAA/FXAA anti aliasing, GeForce Experience, and an upcoming feature that takes advantage of the built in H.264 encoder called Shadowplay so that gamers can record their gaming without the software penalties. Essentially you get the same or better performance for a lower cost with more features!

Performance wise the GTX 760 did deliver performance above that of the HD 7950 in most games at 1920x1080. Overclocking helps improve the situation for the most part. Cooling performance was one area I feel that NVIDIA dropped the ball on. While staying within the margins recommended, the GTX 760 was the warmest card in the comparison suite under load at both stock and overclocked. At stock speeds I would expect this with the new adaptive fan control algorithms that minimize fan ramping to provide a more pleasant noise signature. In this regard it has succeeded as the fan is inaudible from two feet away from my head. Spinning the fan up full bore gives you some noise but is still quite quiet, most likely contributing to the higher temperatures.

Outside this one point the GTX 760 is an excellent step up for someone currently attached to a GTX 560. This upgrade should net an almost 140% boost in performance when you turn up the settings in games to take advantage of NVIDIA's feature set in all the latest games. Priced aggressively, the GTX 760 is a great addition to the product stack and will benefit those looking for an upgrade from earlier hardware.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: