What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

EVGA GeForce GTX 680 SC+ Review

Status
Not open for further replies.

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
So here we are a few weeks after NVIDIA’s GTX 680 launch and remarkably, the GPU market’s landscape hasn’t changed all that much. Despite a hard launch which saw thousands of cards available from day one, the GTX 680’s popularity has prevented it from being widely available at retailers. This situation has played a large part in AMD’s decision to stay the course on the HD 7970 and HD 7950’s price points regardless of NVIDIA’s lower cost and higher performance.

With reference cards flying off the shelves faster than they can be produced, NVIDIA’s board partners are in an envious position but that hasn’t stopped them from developing alternative designs. Take EVGA for example: their new warranty practices have virtually guaranteed them a seat at the popular kids’ table but their lineup for GTX 680 cards is set to explode in the coming months. Initially, their reference version was quickly snapped up by early adopters but they have now introduced three additional cards: the SC, SC+ and the Hydro Copper. All of them are overclocked, the SC+ includes a custom backplate and the Hydro Copper includes a custom water block for reduced temperatures (and hopefully higher Boost clocks) but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Expect a new Signature series in May with higher clock speeds, a custom PWM design, an upgraded heatsink layout and an option for 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The FTW and Classified cards should be out at about the same time so stay tuned for those as well. For the time being though, we’ll be looking at the newest member of EVGA’s family: the GTX 680 SC+.


Within EVGA’s lineup, the SC-series effectively replaces the Superclocked models we are all used to seeing. This means higher clock speeds but unlike the GTX 500-series Superclocked cards, memory rates have been increased, but not by a significant amount. Even though users can’t increase the GTX 680’s Base Clock through software means, EVGA has gone ahead and increased the minimum clock speed at which their card will operate to 1058MHz. This may not seem like all that much but it should balance out performance in quite a few applications.

The real differentiating factor here is the Boost Clock increase. Initially, this was set at 1113MHz but shortly before the first shipments of SC and SC+ cards shipped out, EVGA rolled out a BIOS update that inched it up to 1124MHz. While the Boost Clock tends to fluctuate around quite a bit and never stays in the same place for long, we never saw it go below the 1155MHz mark. As a matter of fact, in most applications we saw core clocks of between 1215MHz and 1275MHz so obviously EVGA has allowed for some additional overhead since our reference card usually topped out at 1110MHz.

In terms of price, the GTX 680 SC+ goes for about $30 higher than EVGA’s reference version and due to the inclusion of the aforementioned backplate, commands a $10 premium over the SC version. Granted, $530 is quite a bit to ask for the SC+ but it is still less expensive than the reference HD 7970s out there and significantly undercuts the $599 some custom AMD cards go for.


Unlike some other EVGA cards, the warranty covers you for three years (which is the industry standard these days) but upgrades are available. For anyone that wants to buy a high end card and keep it for more than three years, the $30 for five years of protection could be worthwhile. EVGA’s Step Up and Advanced RMA programs can also be added for a cost.

EVGA has also introduced a new set of warranty terms that buyers will surely be interested in. Their coverage will now be tied to the products and not the end user so you can sell the card and the balance of the original three year warranty will transfer to the new owner. Unfortunately any extended warranties won’t be transferred to the next owner and nor will any purchased Step Up or Advanced RMA programs. You can read more about this on EVGA’s site but from our standpoint, this is a worthwhile benefit in the place of a lifetime warranty.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
A Closer Look at the EVGA GTX 680 SC+

A Closer Look at the EVGA GTX 680 SC+



The EVGA GTX 680 SC+ is based off of NVIDIA’s reference design and uses the standard cooling assembly so it retains a relatively short length of just 10”. Otherwise, things remain as usual other than for a few additional branding stickers EVGA has added.


EVGA has also kept the stacked dual 6-pin power connector setup which is unfortunate since even though it allows for a shorter PCB length, this design makes installation a bit of a hassle. Luckily, once the card is ready to go, you won’t be fiddling with these connectors much.


The crowning feature of the SC+ is the EVGA designed backplate. While its uses may be limited since the GTX 680’s memory modules are all housed on the card’s front side, its black anodized aluminum finish and cut out EVGA logo sure look great. Supposedly, this backplate will allow for slightly lower temperatures by more effectively cooling off the PCB but we would have liked to have seen the underside PWM controller get some love as well.

We did however encounter some slight installation issues. Since the backplate adds a bit of underside thickness to the card, motherboards with a ton of PCI-E capabilities like our ASUS P9X79 WS barely allow it to squeeze between the slot and memory modules. Be very careful when installing since even though it may look properly seated, the card may not be making full contact with the PCI-E slot unless you ensure EVGA’s backplate clears the memory.


The SC+ is compatible with two, three and four card SLI provided you motherboard supports each standard and enough space has been given around the SLI connectors to ensure a snug bridge fit.

Meanwhile, output connectors include everything you would need to run a quartet of concurrent displays: there is a pair of dual link DVI connectors as well as outputs for HDMI 1.4 and DisplyPort 1.2. Since all of these are full size and most current monitor support at least two of these formats, no adaptors are included.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Test System & Setup / Benchmark Sequences

Main Test System

Processor: Intel i7 3930K @ 4.5GHz
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 32GB @ 1866MHz
Motherboard: ASUS P9X79 WS
Cooling: Corsair H80
SSD: 2x Corsair Performance Pro 256GB
Power Supply: Corsair AX1200
Monitor: Samsung 305T / 3x Acer 235Hz
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate N x64 SP1


Acoustical Test System

Processor: Intel 2500K @ stock
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB 1600MHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Cooling: Thermalright TRUE Passive
SSD: Corsair Performance Pro 256GB
Power Supply: Seasonic X-Series Gold 800W


Drivers:
NVIDIA 300.99 Beta for GTX 680
AMD 12.2 WHQL
NVIDIA 295.73 WHQL

Application Benchmark Information:
Note: In all instances, in-game sequences were used. The videos of the benchmark sequences have been uploaded below.


Batman: Arkham City

<object width="640" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Oia84huCvLI?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Oia84huCvLI?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Battlefield 3

<object width="640" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/i6ncTGlBoAw?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/i6ncTGlBoAw?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Crysis 2

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bc7_IAKmAsQ?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bc7_IAKmAsQ?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Deus Ex Human Revolution

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GixMX3nK9l8?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GixMX3nK9l8?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Dirt 3

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/g5FaVwmLzUw?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/g5FaVwmLzUw?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Metro 2033

<object width="480" height="360"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/8aZA5f8l-9E?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/8aZA5f8l-9E?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="360" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Shogun 2: Total War

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/oDp29bJPCBQ?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/oDp29bJPCBQ?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Skyrim

<object width="640" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/HQGfH5sjDEk?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/HQGfH5sjDEk?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Wargame: European Escalation

<object width="640" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ztXmjZnWdmk?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ztXmjZnWdmk?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Witcher 2 v2.0

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/tyCIuFtlSJU?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/tyCIuFtlSJU?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


*Notes:

- All games tested have been patched to their latest version

- The OS has had all the latest hotfixes and updates installed

- All scores you see are the averages after 3 benchmark runs

All IQ settings were adjusted in-game and all GPU control panels were set to use application settings
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
3DMark 11 (DX11)

3DMark 11 (DX11)


3DMark 11 is the latest in a long line of synthetic benchmarking programs from the Futuremark Corporation. This is their first foray into the DX11 rendering field and the result is a program that incorporates all of the latest techniques into a stunning display of imagery. Tessellation, depth of field, HDR, OpenCL physics and many others are on display here. In the benchmarks below we have included the results (at default settings) for both the Performance and Extreme presets.


Performance Preset



Extreme Preset

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Batman: Arkham City (DX11)

Batman: Arkham City (DX11)


Batman: Arkham City is a great looking game when all of its detail levels are maxed out but it also takes a fearsome toll on your system. In this benchmark we use a simple walkthrough that displays several in game elements. The built-in benchmark was avoided like the plague simply because the results it generates do not accurately reflect in-game performance.

1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Battlefield 3 (DX11)

Battlefield 3 (DX11)


For this benchmark, we used a sequence from the Rock and Hard Place mission. The results may seem lower than normal and this is due to the fact that after playing through the game multiple times, this one are was found to be the most demanding on the GPU. As with all of the tests, we try to find a worst case scenario in order to ensure a given card can properly play through the whole game instead of just a “typical” section.

1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Crysis 2 (DX11)

Crysis 2 (DX11)


Crysis 2 with the DX11 and Texture Package installed not only looks great but it is a strain on any GPU. For this benchmark, we used a classic runthrough which includes far views, explosions, combat and close-in knifing; basically every hallmark of gameplay.

1920 x 1200



2560 x 1600

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX11)

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX11)


Deus Ex: Human Revolution may not be the hardest game for today’s high end gaming rigs to render. While the game mostly takes place indoors, it is the few outdoor areas that put additional strain on graphics cards. So for this test, we use one of the more involved outdoor sections: the Sharif Manufacturing Loading Docks.

1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Dirt 3 (DX11)

Dirt 3 (DX11)


Dirt 3 isn’t all that much different from its predecessor but the developers have added a few more visual touches but boost image quality. In this case, we used the Michigan Rally track since it features some of the hardest to render features of the game: expansive vistas, water, dirt effects, trees and many other items.

1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Metro 2033 (DX11)

Metro 2033 (DX11)


For this test we use a walkthrough and combat scene from The Bridge level which starts at the beginning of the level and lasts for about 3 minutes of walking, running and combat. Famerates are measured with FRAPS and Advanced PhysX is turned off.

1920 x 1200



2560 x 1600

 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top