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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Graphics Card Review - Kepler for $399

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Summary and Final Thoughts

Performance

NVIDIA is 3-for-3 on GPU releases this year.  The GTX 680 took on the Radeon HD 7970 card from AMD and won, the GTX 690 is easily the fastest graphics card ever released and now the new GeForce GTX 670 takes the AMD product stack and puts it into question.  In our testing we found the new GTX 670 2GB card to beat out the Radeon HD 7950 3GB card in basically every single game and benchmark, sometimes by as much as 30% or more.  What is more impressive is that the GTX 670 was also able to match or beat the performance of the Radeon HD 7970 3GB card in the majority of our tests as well!  The Radeon HD 7970 did have the advantage in many cases once we hit the 2560x1600 resolution and likely will as well in a multi-display gaming configuration, but at 1920x1080 the GTX 670 seems more than capable of besting the AMD flagship GPU.  

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Compared to the GTX 680, the new GTX 670 can range from being just a few percent behind in average frame rate to something around 15-20% behind depending on the game.  The majority of our games showed the results to be closer than the 15% core count difference might first indicate so users that purchase one of the new $399 cards shouldn't be intimidated by friends with the bigger brother.

SLI continues to scale well for NVIDIA as we saw games like Battlefield 3 improve average frame rates by as much as 87% at 1920x1080 - a solid amount of scalability to warrant an upgrade in your graphics system down the road.

UPDATE: I posted a separate results page that compares the GTX 670 to the Fermi-based GTX 570 after a request.  Enjoy!

Features

From our GTX 680 overview:

There are a host of new features included on Kepler, starting with the addition of being able to support more than two displays. Yes, the AMD cards can still support 6 outputs if you can find one of those magic DP hubs but I think that the four NVIDIA has included are probably enough for most users. I really still wish that NVIDIA wasn't 2+ years behind on this — but we have it now so NVIDIA fans can stop being pestered by the AMD camp.

GPU Boost is the other big contributor to the success of Kepler as it enables the GPU to perform optimally for EACH game and allows the GPU clock to scale accordingly. In my testing the feature works — and works rather well — and yet still is flexible enough to allow gamers to overclock their new graphics cards with some easy to manipulate software. Yes, there are going to be some slight variances in performance for the same card in different environments as well as variances from card to card. However, until I am proven wrong I don't believe that it will be a dramatic difference that will plague consumers.

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I am a big fan of both the new Adaptive VSync and Frame Rate Target options as well, because they give users the ability and added flexibility that we haven't seen before. The eternal debate of vsync on versus vsync off hasn't been put completely to rest, but with the capability to smoothly scale under 60 FPS now an option on the GTX 680/670 I can see enabling that more and more in my own gaming. Frame rate targeting allows gamers that are on older or less strenuous games to slow down the GPU and decrease power consumption rather than wasting both to unneeded frames.

Pricing and Availability

With a price of $399, a full $100 less than the GTX 680 that preceded it, the GeForce GTX 670 2GB should be a runaway success.  Performance that is within 10% of the GTX 680, with a price tag that is 25% lower, not to mention a dominating stance over the current crop of AMD cards, should push demand through the roof.  

Unfortunately for those of you excited to buy one, that may not be good.  We lament on the availability issues NVIDIA is having with the GTX 680 and the GTX 690 every chance we get and we feel no remorse for the company when doing so.  NVIDIA continues to claim that they are shipping them at a fevered pace but without hard numbers its difficult not to think that NVIDIA is having issues with manufacturing, despite the company's insistence to the contrary. 

Availability is the main concern we have for the GTX 670 - and all Kepler-based graphics cards going forward.  It is the sole reason why the GTX 680 has been left out of our Hardware Leaderboard since the card's release even though we fell in love with the performance, efficiency and pricing. 

UPDATE: As of launch day at noon, Newegg has GTX 670 cards in stock from Galaxy, EVGA, Zotac, MSI and Gigabyte starting at $399.

Final Thoughts

NVIDIA has once again taken the aggressive stance previously seen by AMD's Radeon HD 5000 and 6000 cards by delivering a product that outperforms the competition, is more power efficient and pricing it below the current market.  At $399, the new GeForce GTX 670 is the single best graphics card on the market and I am quite confident in my assertion.  It isn't the fastest, it isn't the lowest priced - simply the best.  It combines the gaming performance and features of the GTX 680 with the industry-leading power efficiency of the Kepler architecture in a package that is more easily attainable by the enthusiast gamer. 

AMD finds itself in another bad situation with a card selling for $80 less than the Radeon HD 7970 that is producing better gaming experiences and I am interested to see their reaction.  A company in AMD's situation can only make so many price cuts...

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May 10, 2012 | 09:29 AM - Posted by Prodeous (not verified)

That will indeed hurt AMD as the last paragraph states. And just as I was planning to upgrade, here comes another option :)

For the review, Impressive like always. Can't wait to see multi screen testing. :)

May 10, 2012 | 09:51 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Thanks for the comment. This card is really tempting :)

May 10, 2012 | 10:20 AM - Posted by Dreadteir

It would seem that AMD's only saving grace right now is that Nvidia can't keep the Kepler parts in stock thus far. I wouldn't want to be an AMD executive when Nvidia finally does catch up though...

I do have to say though, a pair of GTX 670's in SLI does look mighty tempting considering the projected price of the cards.

Cheers,

Dreadteir

May 10, 2012 | 10:22 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Agreed, I wish I had the money, though my unlocked 6950 can still play darn near everything at 1080p.

May 10, 2012 | 10:29 AM - Posted by Dreadteir

Myself, I would likey start with one and add a second card afterward. Considering that I only have a 1920x1200 monitor there's little point in having two at this point.

Nvidia is certainly making my next system build choices interesting though. I do like AMD, but it's getting harder to justify going with an AMD part. Even price drops aren't really going to do it for me personally.

May 10, 2012 | 10:32 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Yeah, that would probably be the best way to go to get the most life out of such a setup.

Kepler is looking good though I've gone with AMD cards for my builds except for my first build which did use an NV card. Maybe it's time to go back to the green team heh.

May 11, 2012 | 12:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You do realize AMD will just drop prices accordingly, right?

Soon enough 7950 will be priced at 399 or even 350. 7970 actually can probably stay where it's at, as relative to 680 it's pretty close. 670 puts as much pressure on 680 as 7970 imo.

The tahiti chip (7950/7970) is smaller/cheaper than Caymen (6970/6950). 6950's sold for $250 and less. AMD will have no problem selling Tahiti's at $300 and even below and making a profit. Dang, are you that unsophisticated?

May 11, 2012 | 04:21 AM - Posted by Anonymous1 (not verified)

Selling tahiti at $300? wow, that's gonna hurt anyone who bought it at $550 :D

May 19, 2012 | 06:57 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

All too often I see people say that prices are going to change and even accuse others of being dumb if they don't know the prices are going to change. The problem with the assumptions of future pricing is the part about the future. Some people want a video card right now.

May 10, 2012 | 10:23 AM - Posted by Zard (not verified)

Great review. After holding of for months I can finally be sure I made the right decision by not pulling the trigger on one of the new AMD cards.Oh how tempting it has been. Is there any official word on yields?Now i am truly excited.

May 10, 2012 | 10:27 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

NVIDIA doesn't release numbers on yields unfortunately :(. Let's hope they are better than the GTX 680 yields though ;)

May 19, 2012 | 06:58 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

A lot of these 670s were actually supposed to be 680s but had one unit that couldn't pass testing right?

May 10, 2012 | 12:16 PM - Posted by Grunteh

I wish you threw in a 570 for comparison.

May 10, 2012 | 12:40 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I tell you what - I'll make a news post with a few graphs this afternoon for you.

May 10, 2012 | 01:04 PM - Posted by Zanthis

I would also like to see that.

May 10, 2012 | 01:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I think I might become a fanboy of nVidia, because its that damn good lol. No only joking, I hope AMD has something up their sleeves. Or Nvidia will just start charging what they want... Very tempted by the 670 though, my 460 is ok for the moment but could do with an upgrade soon.

May 10, 2012 | 02:13 PM - Posted by Bearded Frog (not verified)

Who won the crobar anyway? Or was that said IN the 690 live review? I couldnt watch the live review at work and keep forgetting to watch the replay at home :X

May 10, 2012 | 02:26 PM - Posted by mark (not verified)

570=300, 670=400 680=500, 690=1000

the 670 IS the new 570 and provides a better price/performance ratio then 570 when it FIRST came out.

2x 560TI won't beat a 680 and it prolly equal to a 670 and the 670 is cheaper and ONE card...

The numbers don't lie, nvidia has an official winner.

May 10, 2012 | 02:34 PM - Posted by kingronsuperdad (not verified)

Poor AMD they getting front and back on the CPU GPU market

May 10, 2012 | 03:53 PM - Posted by gloomfrost

Considering this little guys are 400 bucks and the 690's can be found for re-resale for around 1200 bucks I would love to see how 3 670 is SLI compare to 1 690.

Is this possible to test? Compare single 2560 x 1600 resolutions with the highest setting and multi monitor support and any stuttering drawbacks from SLI,

Thanks Ryan and Gang!

May 10, 2012 | 06:43 PM - Posted by Humanitarian

This would be nice to see if you could get hold of 3x670's

May 10, 2012 | 08:57 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

We should be getting a third in soon... We will test it!

May 10, 2012 | 05:22 PM - Posted by LordHog (not verified)

I had upgrade my GTX8800 to a GTX 460 about a month or so after they came out. Even though I have a Q6600 processor, I saw huge improvements. I am wondering, would it better to buy another GTX 460 for SLI or buy a GTX 670? I think the perform of the GTX 670 will still beat the SLI configuration, but prices for a GTX 460 are about 135-150 on Amazon. This assume my Power Supply can handle the SLI load. What would be a better use case, considering I might upgrade my CPU/Mobo this summer.

May 11, 2012 | 10:37 AM - Posted by vish (not verified)

Man , this card's made me go mad.But......
Nvidia has got all the equations right this time around(except for one) i.e. GK110

If it was GK110 we could have got another 50-60% performance at the same price.

Since its not ,I am going to buy a GTX 560 SE(my monitor res is 1600x900 @60 Hz) and wait for GK110 and when it comes out I'll go 3D Surround(hope there will be more 3d Vision 2 monitors then) and 2-way SLI

May 14, 2012 | 06:16 AM - Posted by cyow

Great Review many thanks.

I might just buy one for my new system when I build it.

May 14, 2012 | 07:32 AM - Posted by Branthog

Gaming at 1920x1080? Meh. It's like we're going backwards.

May 15, 2012 | 12:52 PM - Posted by Tyduss13 (not verified)

I saw a small mention to it in the article. Is there anything on Alienware upgrading the X51 for this card any time soon?

May 21, 2012 | 04:36 PM - Posted by cyke1 (not verified)

i have a Gigabyte 670 with that huge ass cooler on it, makes the card 11 inches long with a air temp in the room of 74 degree's F, gpu is idleing at between 84-89 degree's F.

July 11, 2012 | 01:05 AM - Posted by Andre (not verified)

just bought this sweet piece of art should have it in the next 7days can't wait to test it

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