NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 is an amazing piece of hardware

Hot Award
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 is an amazing piece of hardware
Rating
Overall:

An amazing piece of 3D hardware, and a good match for the 7970, though it falls behind at very high resolutions...

Performance:
4
Bundle:
5
Value:
4
Build:
6

Hardware Review: NVIDIA continues the rollout of Kepler and takes on the best AMD can offer with the second highest end single GPU card in its GeForce line up.

The folks at Nvidia have been busy little bees this month, offering solutions both above and below the performance of the popular and powerful GTX 680. The GTX 670, Nvidias latest addition to the Kepler family is comprised of 1344 CUDA cores, sports a 256-Bit memory bus, and holds the same 2GB VRAM as the reference GTX 680.

The stock clock Nvidia have chosen for the GTX 670 is a little lower than that of the GTX 680 (to be expected) coming in at 915MHz. This is undoubtedly to keep the cards performance lower - if you crank up the clock to 1GHz like its big brother, there really is only the smallest of differences between the two cards at most resolutions.

 

The GTX 670 has a boost clock of 994MHz by default, though with some playing around we managed to get a core/boost clock of 1150/1230. We're confident many cards will go higher, but for now we're calling that as what you can expect from an average GTX 670.

Power consumption is down rather healthily, given it is a neutered GTX 680 (missing 1 core cluster) and also sports a lower core and memory frequency (and therefore lower voltage). We would hazard a guess at 125W for total card power draw under load, though without a very expensive power meter, we can only guess how much power draw the GPU alone is responsible for when analysing the entire system draw (~245W).

So far it seems the GPU Boost technology is identical to that of the GTX 680, the only difference being a slightly higher boost ratio. The GTX 670 has a boost ratio of around 80MHz by default, where the GTX 680 uses a 50MHz boost.

As for the design of the card, we can see that the GTX 670 uses a very short PCB, measuring in at only 17.5CM. The rest of the cards 24.5CM length is made up of the GPU cooler. We're not sure if Nvidia included the longer cooler because they thought the GPU needed the extra cooling, or if they simply didn't want their second best GPU to appear so small. After all, for a video card to be good, it has to be big, right?

 

The PCB is impressively short for such a powerful card, with the cooler itself adding significantly to the length of the reference design.
Either way, we would understand Nvidia wanting its card to appear larger and more powerful, while we also understand that you can never have too much cooling. It makes sense to give the card a bigger cooler than the PCB length in this case, as total length of the card is still more than acceptable (and shorter than AMD's equivalently positioned HD 7950). And besides, we have no doubts at all that many Nvidia partners will jump on this opportunity, and start creating single-slot cooling solutions and even half-height cards in the not-too-distant future.

To power the card you will need two 6-pin PCIe cables, though we aren't sure if they are entirely necessary. The PCIe slot should provide the GPU with 75W, while a single PCIe cable is good for 125W+. There should be more than enough power coming through a single 6-pin to run this card, so we will see what happens with future releases from partners, and hopefully start to see some single-plug cards, making SLI possible on many popular 650W PSUs.

So what about performance? Hold on to your socks people because Nvidia truly has knocked this one out of the park. Performance sits around that of the HD 7970. A little lower in some games, a little faster in others. 3DMark 11 performance is slightly higher, but that was to be expected given the gains the GTX 680 already sees.

The only place this card falls down against the HD7970 is in super-HD resolutions. That is, resolutions at or above 2560x1440. The 3GB of VRAM does help at these large resolutions, especially in multi-monitor setups. Keep that in mind if you don't use anything above 1920x1200, and if you are only using a regular HD monitor, perhaps you should consider a lower-teir card, as even the GTX 670 is still slight overkill.

 

Even with the long cooler, the GTX 670 is shorter than the HD 7950

The fact that this card manages to top the HD7970 however is extremely impressive, and just goes to show how advanced the Nvidia architecture is. Using roughly 40% less power than AMD, with a far cooler card, Nvidia really has hit AMD where it hurts. If we also consider that the GTX 670 may also be as cheap, or possibly even cheaper than the HD 7970 to manufacture, Nvidia may choose to really kick AMD while they are down, and force their profit margins way down through competitive pricing (great for us consumers).

Being Nvidia though, we won't be holding our breath. This reviewer remembers the GTX 280 launching at over $1,000 when they lacked competition from AMD, only to quickly dive-bomb in price to $600 over night when the HD 4890 offered some decent competition. No, Nvidia isn't the kind of company to sell a product at a lower price than a competitor; I guess you could say they are like Apple in its marketing, and maintaining a high price, helps to maintain a higher image.

Long story short, we aren't yet sure what the price of the GTX 670 will be in the USA let alone in Australia. At the time of writing Nvidia themselves couldn't tell us local pricing, only the US MSRP of $USD 399. Despite the Aussie dollar still holding parity with the US Dollar, we never see cards as cheap as this locally, though prices always tend to fall once supply picks up (we have heard from a few manufacturers that there is a global shortage of GTX 670, 680 and 690 parts at the moment). If we were to take an educated guess (and they usually turn out pretty close), we'd say $499 for a reference model, with higher-tiered models costing upwards of $549 in Australia. 

 

 

FPS Avg

FPS Min

FPS Max

Unigine Heaven (2560 x 1440)

30

22

69

3DMark 11 (score)

P8413

-

-

Arkham City (2560 x 1440)

49

36

63

Battlefield 3 (2560 x 1440)

37

26

51

 

See more about:  nvidia  |  kepler  |  geforce  |  gtx  |  670  |  video  |  card  |  hardware  |  review
 
 

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