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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 Review - GK104 Speed Bump

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Performance, Pricing and Availability and Conclusions

Performance

It should come as no surprise that compared to the year-old GeForce GTX 680 2GB graphics cards, the new GTX 770 2GB is just a bit faster in all of our tests.  That variance can spike a bit on certain games that take more advantage of the additional memory bandwidth provided by the 7.0 Gbps memory system but otherwise you could easily overclock just about any GTX 680 on the market to get the same results we are seeing for the GTX 770 here.  If you have a GTX 680 in your system already, this is not the card to upgrade to but you might have a chance of finding a great deal on a second GTX 680 for an SLI setup.

Differences between the GTX 770 and the GTX 780 are pretty substantial though.  Ranging from 15% to 25% depending on the game title or test being utilized, the GTX 780 is a much larger step up in performance than the GTX 680 was to the GTX 670 - this is likely a decision made with intent on NVIDIA's part. And with a $250 price gap between them for this generation, that performance delta SHOULD be there - if not higher!  At $399, the GTX 770 looks like an even better value when compared to the GTX 780.

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Compared to the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, the primary concern for both NVIDIA and AMD, the GTX 770 doesn't change the story too dramatically.  While it varies with some games, I often saw a pattern with the GTX 770 having a slight performance lead at 1920x1080 testing and then matching performance (or falling ever so slightly behind) at 2560x1440.  I saw that occur in Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, Skyrim and Far Cry 3.  In those cases though I also found that the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition with its 3GB frame buffer offered better performance at 5760x1080 triple-monitor configurations.  In Sleeping Dogs and DiRT 3 though the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition was faster at all three resolutions and in the case of Sleeping Dogs, by quite a bit - 17%! 

Multi-GPU performance was a different beast all together though with the constant problems haunting the Radeon platform and CrossFire continuing to hold true.  While running in SLI, the GeForce GTX 770 cards were able to scale frame rates very well and also maintain very smooth frame rates at the same time - a trait that is just as important to the gaming experience as raw frame rate.  The HD 7970s in CrossFire had issues in BF3, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3 and Sleeping Dogs with nearly every other frame alternating between high and low frame times - the result is an animation that is either stuttering or at a much lower perceived frame rate than you should be getting for your GPU investment. 

If you are curious about how frame times, our Frame Rating testing methods and animation issues are all evaluated, please check out my story from March: Frame Rating Dissected: Full Details on Capture-based Graphics Performance Testing.

 

Pricing and Availability

Here again is the price breakdown:

As I mentioned before, the GTX 770 comes in at a great price, undercutting the AMD Radeon lineup for the first time since the GTX 680's launch back in March of 2012.  AMD will undoubtedly talk about the advantage of its Never Settle Reloaded game bundles.  As of eight days ago the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition will come with four games: Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.  That's a pretty dramatic difference.  If you already own those titles, or honestly don't care, then you can write off.  If you are upgrading precisely so you can play games like that, then it will doubt have an impact on your decision.

If raw gaming performance is all you care about then the GeForce GTX 770 offers the best value.  Even though the new card from NVIDIA runs at a dead heat with the HD 7970 in most of our games (Sleeping Dogs the big exception), the GTX 770 is going to save you $50 based on current pricing, use less power, generate less heat and run more quietly than the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition.

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Closing Thoughts

I am definitely walking away from the launch of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 graphics card more impressed than I did with the GeForce GTX 780 just a seven days ago.  Even though the GPU that powers the GTX 770 is identical to that of the GTX 680 (with a couple of firmware changes), the clocks are higher and the price is lower - a combination that is hard to beat.  AMD has two options now - respond with a price drop or just let the Tahiti-based HD 7970 GHz Edition stand on its own and continue the Never Settle promotions into the summer.

Honestly, either graphics card is going to be a great selection for your new gaming PC but we always force ourselves to pick a winner when we can.  The GTX 770 offers on-par performance for most games in single monitor resolutions and does so with less noise, power and heat.  And, if you are planning on going down the road of multiple GPUs in the future then you know that NVIDIA has its frame metering technology in order to produce a quality gaming experience.  The same cannot be said today of CrossFire. 

Stay tuned to PC Perspective as we run through reviews on the retail cards we have in-house from Galaxy, MSI and ASUS!!

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May 30, 2013 | 10:01 AM - Posted by mAxius

Ryan nice review have you tried this with a 680? http://www.reddit.com/r/hardware/comments/1e8u6i/flash_your_geforce_gtx_... it seams very interesting

May 30, 2013 | 10:16 AM - Posted by Zorkwiz

I just wanted to point out that the link "If you don't need the example graphs and explanations below, you can jump straight to the benchmark results now!!" still links back to the 7990 review where it was first used. This was also true in the 780 review from last week. I'd think it should jump to the results for the current review.

Great write up as always Ryan. Makes me even more eager to see Haswell numbers next week so I can decide whether, after 5 years, my i7 920 finally should be retired...

May 30, 2013 | 10:46 AM - Posted by RoboGeoff (not verified)

I'm like you. I'm still wondering when I'll benefit from upgrading from my i7 920, and it looks like my pair of GTX 580s will still do ok for another year or more.

May 30, 2013 | 12:34 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Thanks for the heads up, fixed!

June 10, 2013 | 11:01 AM - Posted by madhatter256 (not verified)

Me, too! My i7 920 overclocked to 3.8ghz still doesn't choke (CPU wise) at whatever game I throw at it.

May 30, 2013 | 11:21 AM - Posted by krvi (not verified)

The power consumption data is for the whole system, right? not graphic card-only.

I see EVGA have announced their lineup as well ( http://eu.evga.com/articles/00748/#3773 ), and most of their models specification say 254mm in length, which would fit perfectly in my SilverStone SG05... as opposed to other models. I hope their specifications are accurate.
Maybe we will see some reviews on the non-reference models, as well as EVGA's ACX cooler, later in the week.

May 30, 2013 | 12:34 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Yes, the power results are full system power draw, at the wall.

May 30, 2013 | 03:29 PM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)

Ill be honest 680s never coming down in price, even now and 770s coming in at a lower price and faster leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

May 30, 2013 | 03:52 PM - Posted by noble118

Eager to see how 770 in sli compare to Titan and 7990. Considering it would be a cheaper alternative to them.

May 30, 2013 | 04:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Great review as always. If I could say one thing, it would be to change your FPS graphs to Bar graphs. So much easier to read.

May 30, 2013 | 05:38 PM - Posted by audiophile (not verified)

Any concern with having this high end of a card only have 2GB of memory? I wonder if that will become a limitation in the next year or two, especially with 1440p becoming more and more common.

May 30, 2013 | 07:21 PM - Posted by Xen

Awesome, they basically lowered the price of a non reference 680 and called it a 770. A $50 price drop constitutes a Gold award? Maybe I just fail to see the innovation here. I just think the next generation of cards should be more than a copy and paste, seems some what bland for such a high award.

May 31, 2013 | 06:01 AM - Posted by nobody special (not verified)

Again, I know your reviews are great, but I can't help but just skip to the conclusion every time due to the lines instead of bar charts (useful to show how long or how many times a card goes below 30fps etc but harder to read). Is it really so difficult to put up a bar chart also like every other site for those of us who hate trying to figure out all the lines? I'm not saying remove them, just add to them with charts. Not knocking the review though ryan, they are the most informative out there IMHO (along with hardocp who shows max you can expect to run at in nice details). Just dislike the missing bar charts with mins+avg showing.

For the whiners this is a REFRESH, not a next gen. It's faster, quiet, less heat and cheaper. For the 2GB whiners, you'll be spending all day running at under 30fps min anyway no matter how much memory you have without 2 cards or a Titan/dualgpu card.

Look at all the reviews that show ABOVE 1920x1200 (1440p etc) WITH minimum fps showing. Tombraider, hitman absolution etc all hit BELOW 30fps so who cares about 2GB? You need to spend over $700 to run there. Heck, hardocp had to turn stuff down on GTX 780 even at 1920x1080! 7970, 680, 770 etc are all 1080P cards at best and many games need details turned down to run there. Discussing memory is pointless if you end up below 30fps to prove it's useful.

May 31, 2013 | 07:50 PM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

It seems to me that they are attempting to approach benchmarking from a different mind set than you seem to. They have said this many times since the start of developing this FCAT system that FPS is a terrible way to measure a GPU's performance. They probably do not show you an average FPS, as a way to make you look at the graph instead. It doesn't matter much if the average FPS is better on one card or another, if it is not consistent and smooth.

There are lots of other sites who will show you FPS as the main indicator of how good a card is. This site attempts to measure how smooth the experience is. The thing that actually matters.

I find this system pretty interesting. Of course I also look at other sites as well.

May 31, 2013 | 09:55 AM - Posted by Tri Wahyudianto (not verified)

Ryan, how about the new display overclocking, can you test it with observed fps that you already developed ?
see if it can resolve our problem with tearing and stuttering

June 5, 2013 | 04:13 PM - Posted by PhoneyVirus

It's bad when the GeForce GTX 770 can out preform the Tahiti-based HD 7970 GHz Edition in crossfire because of the Micro Shuttering, of course at resolution 1920x1080 but come on AMD get that Shutter problem under control.

On the flip side I would never use FRAPS not alone pay for it to benchmarking my system.

Thanks 4 the Review PCPer I'll be sticking with my EVGA GeForce GTX 670 and dropping another one in for SLI, knowing that Crossfire has Micro Shuttering problem in software and Nvidia uses hardware that's build right in for such problems.

P.S I only use Nvidia Products!

June 10, 2013 | 10:40 PM - Posted by Hilda_Sat9

Anthony. although Troy`s story is incredible... I just received a gorgeous Honda NSX since I been making $9717 this last 5 weeks and-just over, $10k lass-month. it's realy my favourite work I've ever done. I started this three months/ago and immediately startad bringin in minimum $80.. per hour. I work through this link, Bow6.com

June 13, 2013 | 05:32 PM - Posted by TinkerToyTech

what I want to know is can I drive 4 different desktops, extended desktops, off the one card, I'm not gaming, more like video on one, and browsers and so on on the others...

WHat would be the best card for 4x1080p monitors?

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