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

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Manufacturer: NVIDIA

GK104 takes a step down

While the graphics power found in the new GeForce GTX 690, the GeForce GTX 680 and even the Radeon HD 7970 are incredibly impressive, if we are really honest with ourselves the real meat of the GPU market buys options much lower than $999.  Today's not-so-well-kept-secret release of the GeForce GTX 670 attempts to bring the price to entry of the NVIDIA Kepler architecture down to a more attainable level while also resetting the performance per dollar metrics of the GPU world once again.

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The GeForce GTX 670 is in fact a very close cousin to the GeForce GTX 680 with only a single SMX unit disabled and a more compelling $399 price tag.

The GTX 670 GPU - Nearly as fast as the GTX 680

The secret is out - GK104 finds its way onto a third graphics card in just two months - but in this iteration the hardware has been reduced slightly. 

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The GTX 670 block diagram we hacked together above is really just a GTX 680 diagram with a single SMX unit disabled.  While the GTX 680 sported a total of 1536 CUDA cores broken up into eight 192 core SMX units, the new GTX 670 will include 1344 cores.  This will also drop the texture units to 112 (from 128 on the GTX 680) though the ROP count stays at 32 thanks to the continued use of a 256-bit memory interface.

Continue reading our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB graphics card!!

In fact, the memory system on the GTX 670 remains unchanged from the GTX 680 including a 2GB frame buffer running on the 256-bit bus at a reference speed of 6 Gbps totalling 192.2 GB/s of available memory bandwidth.  

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Reference clock speeds on the GTX 670 will be set at a base clock of 915 MHz and a Boost clock of 980 MHz - a delta of 65 MHz.  That gap is a bit wider than what we saw on the original GTX 680 GPU of 58 MHz.  Memory clocks will be operating at 1500 MHz or 6 Gbps at their stock settings.  

The obvious benefit to this revision of the GK104 GPU is that NVIDIA can utilize parts that might have otherwise not been able to pass requirements to be labeled a full-speed GTX 680 and thus utilize die they have already paid for from TSMC.  The GTX 570 was built with the same idea in mind, as was the GTX 470 and so on. 

Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 2GB Graphics Card

Unlike both the GTX 680 and the GTX 690 launch, retailer cards will vary quite a bit on launch day as NVIDIA allowed their partners to have early access to the designs for the GTX 670 (hence the leaks obviously) and built their own custom solutions.  Our testing today is based around a reference-clocked Galaxy GTX 670 2GB card as well as a reference card from NVDIIA - so we are going to show you base results.  Of course we spend some time on overclocking later in the article.  

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The Galaxy card offers some familiar branding, but sadly, no "dispalyport" to be had...

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The reference GTX 670 cards will share the same cooler design as the GTX 680 though there are some pretty substantial differences to the PCB and board design.  Our Galaxy and reference cards are also MUCH lighter than the GTX 680 with a slightly less dense cooler required for this GPU.  

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Right away, something is different - the PCB doesn't actually go to the end of the card.  The fan itself actually extends past the PCB and the power connectors can be found right on the end of the circuit board.  NVIDIA did this to demonstrate that the GTX 670 could be built in very small form factors (think the Alienware X51 system) or be expanded to full size coolers for better performance.  

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With a TDP of 170 watts, the GTX 670 still requires a pair of 6-pin power connectors to operate but don't let the odd placement bother you.

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The GTX 670 will support 3-Way and 4-Way SLI as you can see from this pair of SLI connections!

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Display configurations will vary more with each vendor's custom cards, but the reference design includes a pair of dual-link DVI connections as well as a full-size HDMI and DisplayPort connection.

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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