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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Graphics Performance
First Look: GeForce GTX 680
NVIDIA Kepler GPU Details
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX11: 3DMark11
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Batman Arkham City
DX11: Battlefield 3
DX11: Gugila GroundWiz RTS
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 3.0
Temperature and Power Consumption
GeForce GTX 680 Conclusion

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Kepler Video Card Performance

The world's most powerful GPU consumes less electricity and runs cooler than all competing graphics solutions.

Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Product Name: GeForce GTX 680
Suggested Retail Price: $499.99 MSRP

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by NVIDIA.

Of the many platforms available for gamers to enjoy video games, there's no question that the highest quality graphics come from PC. While game developers might not consider PC gaming as lucrative as entertainment consoles, companies like NVIDIA use desktop graphics to set the benchmark for smaller more compact designs that make it into notebooks, tablets, and smartphone devices. NVIDIA's Kepler GPU architecture is an example of this, delivering unprecedented performance while operating cooler and consuming far less power than previous flagship discrete graphics cards. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 video card equipped with a 28nm GK104 Kepler GPU, and compares it against the best DirectX 11 video cards available. Featuring their new NVIDIA GPU Boost technology, the GeForce GTX 680 video card can dynamically adjust power and clock speeds based on real-time application demands.

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 680 is the first graphics card designed around their next-generation Kepler GPU architecture, which adopts key aspects from the previous Fermi architecture. Building from the 32-core Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) from Fermi on the GeForce GTX 580, NVIDIA optimized Kepler with twice the performance per watt using an innovative 192-core streaming multiprocessor (referred to as SMX) that exchanges a double speed processor clock for more processor cores. Utilizing eight SMXs, the GeForce GTX 680 Kepler GPU boasts 1536 total CUDA cores which manage shader, texture, geometry, and compute tasks. A reengineered memory subsystem reduces pipeline penalty for these many cores, and allows the GTX 680 to reach memory speeds up to 6.0 Gb/s. Combined, these GPU architecture improvements offer impressive performance gains while improving overall power efficiency, yet they actually represent only a small portion of new technology for this launch.

NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-680-Video-Card-Kit.jpg

In addition to a new and improved Kepler GPU architecture and NVIDIA GPU Boost technology, the GeForce GTX 680 video card ushers in refinements in the user experience. Smoother FXAA and adaptive vSync technology results in less chop, stutter, and tearing in on-screen motion. Overclockers might see their enthusiast experiments threatened by the presence of NVIDIA GPU Boost technology, but dynamically adjusting power and clock speed profiles can be supplemented with additional overclocking or shut off completely. Adaptive vSync on the other hand, is a welcome addition by all users - from the gamer to the casual computer user. This new technology adjusts the monitor's refresh rate whenever the FPS rate becomes too low to properly sustain vertical sync (when enabled), thereby reducing stutter and tearing artifacts. Finally, NVIDIA is introducing TXAA, a film-style anti-aliasing technique with a mix of hardware post-processing, custom CG file style AA resolve, and an optional temporal component for better image quality.

NVIDIA targets the top-end enthusiast segment with their premium GeForce GTX 680 discrete graphics card, which includes only the most affluent PC gamers. In order to best illustrate the GTX 680s performance, we use the most demanding PC video game titles and benchmark software available. Video frame rate performance is tested against a large collection of competing desktop graphics products, such as the AMD Radeon HD 7970 (Tahiti). Crysis Warhead compares DirectX 10 performance levels, joined by newer DirectX 11 benchmarks such as: 3DMark11, Batman: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, and Unigine Heaven 3.

GeForce GTX-Series Product Family

Graphics Card

GeForce GTX 550 Ti

GeForce GTX 460

GeForce GTX 560 Ti

GeForce GTX 570 GeForce GTX 580 GeForce GTX 590 GeForce GTX 680
GPU Transistors 1.17 Billion 1.95 Billion 1.95 Billion 3.0 Billion 3.0 Billion 6.0 Billion Total 3.54 Billion

Graphics Processing Clusters

1 2

2

4

4

8 Total 4

Streaming Multiprocessors

4 7

8

15 16 32 Total 8

CUDA Cores

192 336

384

480 512 1024 Total 1536

Texture Units

32 56

64

60 64 128 Total 128

ROP Units

24 768MB=24 / 1GB=32

32

40 48 96 Total 32

Graphics Clock
(Fixed Function Units)

900 MHz

675 MHz

822 MHz

732 MHz 772 MHz 607 MHz 1006-1058 MHz

Processor Clock
(CUDA Cores)

1800 MHz

1350 MHz

1644 MHz

1464 MHz 1544 MHz 1215 MHz 1006-1058 MHz

Memory Clock
(Clock Rate/Data Rate)

1025/4200 MHz

900/3600 MHz

1001/4008 MHz

950/3800 MHz 1002/4016 MHz 854/3414 MHz 1502/6008 MHz

Total Video Memory

1024MB GDDR5

768MB / 1024MB GDDR5

1024MB GDDR5

1280MB GDDR5

1536MB GDDR5

3072MB GDDR5

2048MB GDDR5

Memory Interface

192-Bit

768MB=192 / 1GB=256-Bit

256-Bit

320-Bit

384-Bit

384-Bit

256-Bit

Total Memory Bandwidth

98.4 GB/s

86.4 / 115.2 GB/s

128.3 GB/s

152.0 GB/s 192.4 GB/s 327.7 GB/s 192.26 GB/s

Texture Filtering Rate
(Bilinear)

28.8 GigaTexels/s

37.8 GigaTexels/s

52.6 GigaTexels/s

43.9 GigaTexels/s

49.4 GigaTexels/s

77.7 GigaTexels/s

128.8 GigaTexels/s

GPU Fabrication Process

40 nm

40 nm

40 nm

40 nm

40 nm

40 nm

28 nm

Output Connections

2x Dual-Link DVI-I
1x Mini HDMI

2x Dual-Link DVI-I
1x Mini HDMI

2x Dual-Link DVI-I
1x Mini HDMI

2x Dual-Link DVI-I
1x Mini HDMI

2x Dual-Link DVI-I
1x Mini HDMI

3x Dual-Link DVI-I
1x Mini DisplayPort

2x Dual-Link DVI-I
1x HDMI 1.4a
1x DisplayPort 1.2

Form Factor

Dual-Slot

Dual-Slot

Dual-Slot

Dual-Slot

Dual-Slot

Dual-Slot

Dual-Slot

Power Input

6-Pin

2x 6-Pin

2x 6-Pin

2x 6-Pin

6-Pin + 8-Pin

2x 8-Pin

2x 6-Pin

Thermal Design Power (TDP)

116 Watts

768MB=150W / 1GB=160W

170 Watts

219 Watts 244 Watts 365 Watts 195 Watts

Recommended PSU

400 Watts

450 Watts

500 Watts

550 Watts

600 Watts

700 Watts 550 Watts

GPU Thermal Threshold

100°C

104°C

100°C

97°C

97°C

97°C

98°C

Chart Courtesy of Benchmark Reviews



 

Comments 

 
# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Kepler Video Card Performancedanwat1234 2012-03-22 07:43
I hope all of you buying these high end GPUs put them to good use when your not gaming! Folding@home or another distributed computing project, do your part to help science!
Peace out
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# RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Kepler Video Card Performancebob 2012-03-23 02:05
I hope you are joking. These gpu are bad for gpgpu like boinc. 7970 are great!
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# RE: RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Kepler Video Card PerformanceOlin Coles 2012-03-23 08:37
Based on what factual evidence? I notice the 7970 couldn't even run a DirectX 11 tessellation test, so how will it compete with GPGPU tests?
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# On what Evidence! Are You Blind, Deaf, Stupid & Insane?tophat killer 2012-03-27 09:55
REady any, and I mean any direct compute review of kepler and tahati,
tahati beats gk104 by 10 to over 500%. Nv castrated direct computer in gk104.
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# Is there going to be a difference?Christopher Fields 2012-03-22 08:04
I have 2 GTX 580's in SLI and they are water cooled. After months of rumors you guys have seemed to clear things up. I read things like "3 Times more powerful than a GTX 580 OC" to "The Card will be 8-9" Long".

I guess my question is this. My monitor is a 60Hz LED 32" 1920x1080 with a 5ms refresh rate. I play Battlefield 3 100% of the time. If I buy this card will my experience be any different?

I can prob answer this one myself.........no. Nvidia makes great products and the nice thing is when you buy a top end card you can usually skip a generation and wait for the next knock out contender. I would say if you have a GTX480 Series to upgrade. But if you have a Single GTX580 then put on the brakes and wait for the next show.

This of course is just my opinion. This is a great article, I always like reading your stuff Olin. Thanks for the time & effort you guys put into these reviews.
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# RE: Is there going to be a difference?Olin Coles 2012-03-22 08:27
As a BF3 player myself (Das Capitolin), I can say that you're not going to SEE a significant difference between an overclocked GTX 580 and the new GTX 680. That being said, Active vSync is something worth considering, as are the extremely low sound levels and heat output. Since you've already purchased the 580's, I see no solid reason to upgrade. But if someone's deciding between the two, the GTX 680 easily wins my vote.
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# RE: RE: Is there going to be a difference?Christopher Fields 2012-03-22 08:49
I added you Olin, S1W3A3T7
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# Very good POWReSeRe 2012-03-22 12:35
i'm talking about skiping 1 generation GPU (and usually CPU too). Yes that's my philosophy either.
now i'm BF3in' w/ 460 1Gb SLI on an (pretty old but excellent LCD) EIZO 1600/1200. high settings (not ultra). Actually i could go ultra BUT with a drastic tweak down AA and other 1, maybe 2 settings.
In BF3 my nick: mantuitoru.

Once again, good review.
Long live the competition, anyway. in this case nVidia vs AMD.
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# gk110godrilla 2012-03-22 08:43
I'm going to wait for gk110 chip according to fudzilla will be out by July , currently using classified gtx 580 ultra.
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Kepler Video Card Performanceroy 2012-03-22 10:04
Good card and excellent review! I love the low power usage and the new tech(txaa,adaptive v-sync,28nm,gpu boost,etc). A little concerned by the 256mb memory bus.
I wanna upgrade but until Nvidia (must have Phys-x) releases a single gpu card that can run Metro 2033 at max settings (4xAA,16xAF,very high quality,advanced DOF on and phys-x on) and average 60fps at 1920x1200 I guess I am stuck with my GTX480 sli for a long while.
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Kepler Video Card Performanceclaydough 2012-03-22 13:34
at 3x the cuda cores than the card that was supposed to replace the 560ti that was supposed to be released first the benchmarks do not even seem to reflect the numbers of that affordable version? :(

Rumors however that this is the card was supposed to replace the 560ti but the performance was so good that they just gave it the 680 designation is very unsettling...

So...
What happened to the consumer friendly mid powered card that was supposed to be released first?

What the heck happened to the Kepler super powered card?

Better than 480 to 580 but is this just another incremental release or hardware without drivers?

Or worse yet...
Did we just get version screwed?
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# RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Kepler Video Card PerformanceOlin Coles 2012-03-22 16:16
I don't recall NVIDIA ever making a statement on Kepler, it's roadmap, or what it was intended to replace. In other words, consider the source.
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Kepler Video Card Performanceclaydough 2012-03-22 13:50
Maybe the rumors of gtx 780 were true?
If this is the replacement for the gtx 560ti..
and the gtx780 is coming out at the end of this year...
Then that would be fine with me!
If the following gtx 780 benchmarks are real:

wccftech.com/leaked-nvidia-generation-performance-slide-pits-upcoming-flagship-gk100-kepler-based-geforce-gtx-780-gtx-580/

Like I said in next gen console/xbox 720 article:
Anything without the benefit of present day maxwell development is sure to lead to a another very console limiting 10 year cycle!
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# This..luay 2012-03-23 10:26
AMD replaced their mid-end product names with the higher end when they released their 6000 series, so not a first or even second time it has been done. This is a 560ti replacement and it will be marketed to death as a high-end product now and mid-end after July with a price reduction when the 580 replacement comes around.
If this card sells well, console makers should take note and try to cut a deal with Nvidia instead of AMD. I think this is why MS and Sony were not publicizing any future commitments of delivering next-gen consoles..
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Kepler Video Card PerformanceDoug Dallam 2012-03-22 14:40
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Reference Design

Load: 243 W

WOW?!

Also consider, extrapolating from your price comparison of other nVidia top end offerings, the GTX295 also came in at 500+ USD. That's pretty incredible.
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# awesomecube 2012-03-22 19:50
If i buy this card, it means i will have to buy a new motherboard, LG2011 which means ill have to buy a new CPU and of course, the newest RAM. so all in all, the only thing i get to keep is my SSD and HDD. At the same time, i will also get a bran new case. so... the games i currently play and will play in the future dont require this much power.

this is what happens when devs dumb down the #ing games for consoles. people like me that used to upgrade every other cycle are now holding off and keeping their system alot longer. Means less PC part sales. =/ hope # will get better for us.
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# RE: awesomeDavid Ramsey 2012-03-22 19:54
You don't have to buy an LGA2011 motherboard to use this card...it will work fine in any PCI-E x16 slot in older motherboards.
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# RE: RE: awesomecube 2012-03-22 19:58
but they must have PCI Express 3.0 right?
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# RE: RE: RE: awesomeOlin Coles 2012-03-22 20:02
Just like PCI-E 2.0 is backward compatible with PCI-E 16x, PCI-E 3.0 is backwards to 2.0 and 16x as well.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: awesomecube 2012-03-22 20:03
yeah, but what about later on when games do take advantage of 3.0, if ever... then ill have to buy a new mobo for that.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: awesomeDavid Ramsey 2012-03-22 20:08
That's a long way off in the future. Current games don't come anywhere near to saturating a PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: awesomecube 2012-03-22 20:34
can you please go to the forums under hardware. I posted a question and need some help.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: awesomeclaydough 2012-03-26 13:30
I like to emphasize the only factor keeping any hardware pipe from melting away from saturation is compromise and economics. The artist and imagination exists today for any game that is possible with tech at the end of the 21rst century. Creativity is both cpu and gpu limited!

The game that is possible in your lifetime is only limited by the rate of hardware acceptance. ( keep buying till cinematic levels of hyper real realtime rendering is possible... after that wait until holograms become a reasonable reality? )
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: awesomeChristopher Fields 2012-03-26 13:35
WTF? Holograms?..................I think we are a way off from gaming on holograms, lol, 3D Gaming has just barely been breaking the surface their Spock, lol. But it would be cool. PS beware of SUPER NERDS!!!!
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# MrSteven 2012-03-24 14:50
I find it hard to believe that this is the replacement for the GTX 560ti when it costs 430. Ouch! Budget card my ass!
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# Bought 2: Selling Bothkzinti1 2012-03-27 23:02
I realized that this is merely a replacement for mid-range cards.
Even though it beats the best of the 5xx series, it's still only a mid-range card.
The REAL high performers will be out in a couple of months.
Nvidia's hype-machine got me once again.
I should know better by now.
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# AdamAdam 2012-04-01 16:03
I have one of these on order. Had 2 GTX 480 in SLi. This one card should easily beat them. My GTX 480 ran under water @ 900/1800/1848. They would out bench a stock 580 as they were the same GPU. Just tweaked a little.

This is a whole NEW GPU. Like Fermi was. The 670 has already been annouced and waterblock manufactors are shipping the bocks. Expect theor next release to be a lower version. Also Laptops are shipping with mobile versions. Check nVidia's homepage.

The next release will be the 780. Time range anything from 6 - 12 months. AMD could influence this.

I have my waterblock on order. I will also be SLi'ing them from about 2 months in.
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Video Card Performancestelios 2012-05-14 21:56
i did a test to see where im at with those settings and i got 46.7fps gtx580 @962Mhz compared to 39 is a 20% increase in performance and gtx 680 is 56fps compared to a stock gtx 580 is 41%increase in performance but compared to gtx 580 oc in my case 22-23% performance increase pretty good if u ask me
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Graphics Performanceramin 2012-11-11 07:42
NVIDIA?s newest flagship card(680) is superior to the HD 7970 in almost every way. Whether it is performance, power consumption, noise, features, price or launch day availability, it currently owns the road and won?t be looking over its shoulder for some time to come.
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# RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Graphics PerformanceDavid Ramsey 2012-11-11 09:38
Hm, no, not necessarily. The 7970 is superior in some games (as these benchmarks show), and NVIDIA still can't match the 7970's lower power usage, especially in multi-card setups where Radeons not being used are all but disabled-- sub 5-W power consumption, fan stopped, etc.-- when they're not needed (i.e. if you're not playing a game.)

Still, I'd agree GTX680 performance is better overall, and they still own the world in GPGPU.
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