|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 Video Card Tests|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 10 May 2012|
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GeForce GTX 670 Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested, which may differ from future versions of the same product. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
GeForce GTX 670 replaces the GTX 570 in NVIDIA's product stack, and based on our test results the performance differences between them are night and day. On average GeForce GTX 670 delivers an impressive 45% increase over GTX 570, but occasionally reached as high as 70% over its predecessor. NVIDIA have designed GTX 670 to operate faster, offer more features, deliver more functionality, use less energy, and generate less heat... all things we proved it succeeds in achieving. Based on the $399 price tag GeForce GTX 670 competes with the AMD Radeon HD 6950, however after running each video card through several different benchmark tests our FPS results often favored NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 670 over the more expensive AMD Radeon HD 7970. Let's look at the break-down:
In the DirectX 10 game Crysis Warhead, the GeForce GTX 670 was ahead of its predecessor (GTX 570) a full 11 FPS at 1920x1080 while still leading ahead of the AMD Radeon HD 7970 by 4 FPS. DirectX 11 tests also had the GeForce GTX 670 ahead in most tests. The demanding DX11 graphics of Batman: Arkham Asylum made use of Kepler's optimized architecture, delivering a staggering lead of 18 FPS to the GeForce GTX 670 over the more expensive Radeon HD 7970. Battlefield 3 continued the run, pushing the stock GTX 670 more than 8 FPS beyond the Radeon HD 7970. Lost Planet 2 played well on all graphics cards when set to high quality with 4x AA, yet the GeForce GTX 670 still surpassed Radeon HD 7970 performance by 6 FPS. In one of the few exceptions, Aliens vs Predator gave back the lead to AMD Radeon products over their NVIDIA counterparts. Metro 2033 is another demanding game that requires high-end graphics to enjoy quality settings, but like AvP this game benchmark favors Radeon products.
Synthetic benchmark tools offered a similar read on these products, mirroring some of the results seen from our video game tests. Futuremark's 3DMark11 benchmark suite strained our high-end graphics cards with only mid-level settings displayed at 720p, forcing the less-powerful Radeon HD 7970 to occasionally trail the GeForce GTX 670 by 4 FPS when it wasn't holding even. Our Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark tests used maximum settings, which might explain why Radeon HD 7970 pulled ahead. Taking all our benchmark results into consideration, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 670 commands a decisive lead past its competition while occasionally surpassing AMD's flagship graphics card.
Appearance is a much more subjective matter, especially since this particular rating doesn't have any quantitative benchmark scores to fall back on. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX series has traditionally used a recognizable design over the past two years, and with the exception to more angular corners, the GTX 670 looks very similar to the GTX 570 model. Some add-in card partners may offer their own unique cooling solution design, but this might not happen with the GeForce GTX 670 since it operates so efficiently and allows nearly all of the heated air to exhaust outside of the computer case. Expect most partners to dress up the original reference design by placing exciting graphics over the fan shroud or using colored plastic components. While looks might mean a lot to some consumers, keep in mind that this product outperforms the competition while generating much less heat and producing very little noise.
Construction is the one area NVIDIA continually shines, and thanks in part to extremely quiet operation paired with more efficient cores that consume less energy and emit less heat I'm confident that GeForce GTX 670 will continue this tradition. Requiring two 6-pin PCI-E power connections helps keep this video card compatible with most power supply units, while tweaking heatsink and fan placement to optimize cooling performance proves there are still ways to improve on a commonplace technology. GeForce GTX 670 has one of the shortest PCBs we've seen from a GTX-series model, which further reduces heat output and makes this a product suitable for more robust HTPC applications. Even better yet, now consumers have a single-GPU solution capable of driving three monitors in 3D Vision Surround with the inclusion of two DL-DVI ports with supplementary HDMI and DisplayPort output.
Defining value at the premium-priced high-end segment isn't easy, because hardware enthusiasts know that they're going to pay top dollar to own the top product. Even still, rating value is like chasing a fast moving target, so please believe me when I say that prices change by the minute in this industry. The GeForce GTX 670 "Kepler" graphics card demonstrates NVIDIA's ability to innovate the graphics segment while maintaining a firm lead in their market, but it comes at a cost. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 shares the same $399 price segment with AMD's Radeon HD 7950, yet performs like the 7970. So with regard to value, the GeForce GTX 670 delivers more features and better performance than the less-powerful AMD Radeon HD 7950, but occasionally meets or exceeds performance to the $550 Radeon HD 7970. Even if we ignore GTX 670's faster FPS results, its features and functionality run off the chart. Furthermore, only NVIDIA's video cards offer multi-display 3D gaming, Adaptive VSync, PhysX technology, GPU Boost, FXAA, and now TXAA.
As of launch day 10 May 2012, GeForce GTX 670 is available at Newegg from several NVIDIA partners:
While the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 may be the reigning champion, GTX 670 saves gamers $100 while delivering incredibly similar performance. NVIDIA's 28nm GK104 'Kepler' GPU has made a huge difference in power consumption and heat output, features that really have my attention. It won't surprise me if enthusiast find themselves divided on their purchase: overclock the GeForce GTX 670 to perform like a GTX 680 (which we may test in a follow-up article), or combine two into an SLI set. Regardless, the performance is there and it reinforces value. Still, I think most people are waiting to see what GeForce GTX 650/660 will offer.
So what do you think of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 graphics card, and are you planning to buy one?