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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Review

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Taking Image Quality to the Next Level (pg.2)

Taking Image Quality to the Next Level (pg.2)


In this section we take a number of games we have tested previously in this review and bring things to the next level by pushing the in-game settings to the highest possible level. All other methodologies remain the same.

Shogun 2: Total War



The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim



Wargame: European Escalation



The Witcher 2

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,421
Location
Montreal
Surround / Eyefinity Multi Monitor Performance

Surround / Eyefinity Multi Monitor Performance


Both NVIDIA and AMD now have single GPU multi monitor output options for some truly immersive gaming. However, spanning a game across three or more monitors demands a serious amount of resources which makes this a perfect test for ultra high-end solutions.

While all solutions have the ability to implement bezel correction, we leave this feature disabled in order to ensure compatibility. The benchmarks run remain the same as in normal testing scenarios.



Batman: Arkham City



Battlefield 3



Crysis 2



Dirt 3

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,421
Location
Montreal
Surround / Eyefinity Multi Monitor Performance (pg.2)

Surround / Eyefinity Multi Monitor Performance (pg.2)


Both NVIDIA and AMD now have single GPU multi monitor output options for some truly immersive gaming. However, spanning a game across three or more monitors demands a serious amount of resources which makes this a perfect test for ultra high-end solutions.

While all solutions have the ability to implement bezel correction, we leave this feature disabled in order to ensure compatibility. The benchmarks run remain the same as in normal testing scenarios.



Metro 2033



Shogun 2: Total War



The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim



Wargame: European Escalation



The Witcher 2

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,421
Location
Montreal
Temperatures & Acoustics / Power Consumption

Temperature Analysis


For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at its highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Windows 7 desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.



At just north of 80 degrees, the GTX 670’s temperature results aren’t all that great but they’re still a long shot away from being too high. Considering the sub-par quality of our sample’s heatsink, we’re actually surprised that temperatures weren’t even higher.


Acoustical Testing


What you see below are the baseline idle dB(A) results attained for a relatively quiet open-case system (specs are in the Methodology section) sans GPU along with the attained results for each individual card in idle and load scenarios. The meter we use has been calibrated and is placed at seated ear-level exactly 12” away from the GPU’s fan. For the load scenarios, a loop of Unigine Heave 2.5 is used in order to generate a constant load on the GPU(s) over the course of 20 minutes.


Much like the other GTX 600-series cards, the GTX 670 is generally quiet but an odd buzzing / ticking noise in our unit’s fan kept it from posting class-leading results here. However, it should be noted that this is an exception rather than a rule for all GTX 670 cards. In the coming days, we’ll have a review of an EVGA reference card and it didn’t exhibit any odd fan noises and we've been told by fellow reviewers that their samples were dead silent. As such, we’ll chalk this up to a single sample issue that shouldn’t be repeated with retail cards.


System Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.


According to NVIDIA, the GTX 670 has a TDP of just 170W, which puts it roughly into the same territory as AMD’s Pitcairn XT. Considering the performance we have seen on previous pages, this is nothing short of astounding and should cement this card as a perf. per watt leader.
 
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SKYMTL

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Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results


As we discussed on the previous page, overclocking the GTX 670 is straightforward if you can come to grips with Boost clocks. Using EVGA’s Precision X application, we were able to easily hit performance levels that bested a GTX 680.

Unfortunately, we were somewhat held back by NVIDIA’s TDP limit (even with it maxed out in Precision) since once we hit a Boost level of around 1259MHz, performance hit a plateau with the core refusing to increase its in-game speeds any higher. Nonetheless, these are excellent results. The memory actually did quite well too since it stopped returning performance increases (likely due to error correction stepping in) at 6468MHz.

This situation actually brings up an important fact about overclocking Kepler-based cards: even though you can increase the core’s frequencies to your heart’s content, the in-game clock speeds may in fact be LOWER than your intended setting. As such, a simple GPU-Z screenshot of your “achievement” may not prove anything and this is why all of our stated overclocks have been thoroughly tested in-game.


 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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Messages
13,421
Location
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Conclusion

Conclusion


So here we are at the end of yet another NVIDIA graphics card review and to some, this conclusion will sound familiar. The GTX 680 set a high water mark for single GPU performance and this new GTX 670’s goals may be slightly more modest. However, the end result is just as -if not more- impressive. Not only does it provide a surprising amount of performance in the $399 price bracket but the GTX 670 does so without the need for a power supply upgrade.


While the GTX 680 represents the highest performance available, the GTX 670’s cut down GK104 core allows for most of its bigger sibling’s performance but without the associated power consumption and (in most cases) long backorder lists. This situation does however pose a bit of a problem for NVIDIA since the GeForce family’s newest member may follow a bit TOO closely in their flagship’s footsteps. Even though the GTX 670 costs a good 20% less than the GTX 680, it only trails by an average of 11% across all benchmarks. Add a bit of overclocking to that equation and we just can’t see the appeal of spending $499 on a flagship card. This is great news for anyone in the market for a $399 graphics card but buyers of the GTX 680 may feel a bit jilted.

With performance that comes awfully close to a fully enabled GK104, the GTX 670 poses a nightmare scenario for AMD. Fresh off a round of price drops, they now have to contend with a card that retails for the same price as a HD 7950 but runs dead even with a HD 7970 in everything except multi monitor resolutions. To add insult to injury, the Radeon cards fight a losing battle in the performance per watt and acoustics categories as well. Free game offer or not, without another $50 to $75 shaved off, we can’t think of a single scenario where a gamer should choose a Tahiti-based card over the GTX 670.

From an intergenerational perspective, the GTX 670 represents a true step forward when compared against the GTX 580. Remember, the flagship GF110-based product was launched about a year and six months ago for a price of $499 and we now have a $399 card that can run circles around it. Now that's progress folks.

Back to the topic of overclocking. Even though our sample's heatsink wasn't the of best quality (a trait we've been assured isn't indicative of retail samples), the GTX 670 was more than willing to overclock, easily equaling the framerates posted by a GTX 680. We have no doubt that board partners’ custom cooling designs will allow for even higher Boost clocks.

NVIDIA has pleasantly surprised us yet again. Their new GTX 670 hits nearly the same performance level as the GTX 680 but costs significantly less, causing a potential issue for the GeForce lineup but undoubtedly making this the go-to card for gamers. More importantly, the GTX 670 effectively slaps AMD while they’re down, necessitating another price drop on cards that are becoming increasingly marginalized in a competitive market. If you are looking for incredible performance and haven't made the jump to a GTX 680 yet, this is currently the card to have.


 
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