Review Index:

Galaxy GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: Galaxy

GPU Testbed - Sandy Bridge-E, X79, New Games

For the Radeon HD 7970 3GB review (and all those going forward) we decided it was high time we replaced the somewhat dated Nehalem-based infrastructure (even though honestly, it was fast enough) with something a bit more current.  Obviously that meant going with the new Intel Sandy Bridge-E processor and X79 motherboard - by combining support for 40 PCI Express lanes and 3-4 full size GPU slots it makes for the perfect GPU base.

From this point on, our reviews will based around the following system:

  • Intel Core i7-3960X CPU
  • ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard
  • Corsair DDR3-1600 4 x 4GB Vengeance memory
  • 600GB Western Digital VelociRaptor HDD
  • 1200 watt Corsair Professional Series power supply
  • Windows 7 SP1 x64

The ASUS P9X79 Pro

The Intel Core i7-3960X gives us the fastest consumer-level CPU on the market to help eliminate the possibility of any processor-based bottlenecks in our testing (whenever possible).  There are still going to be some games that could use more speed (Skyrim comes to mind) but for our purposes this is as good as you get without getting into any kind of overclocked settings.  The ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard has enough space for three dual-slot graphics cards when the time comes for testing 3-Way SLI and CrossFire and 8 DIMM slots should we want to go up from our current setup of 16GB of Corsair Vengeance memory.  

I chose to stick with the 600GB VelociRaptor hard drive rather than an SSD as our total installation size with Windows 7 SP1 x64 and 6+ games was already hitting the 115GB range.  Finally the 1200 watt power supply from Corsair offers up more than enough juice for three power hungry graphics cards while running quietly enough to not throw off our noise testing drastically.

Speaking of noise, for this article we are re-introducing our sound level testing thanks to the Extech 407738 Sound Level Meter capable of monitor decibel ratings as low as 20db.  This allows me to accurately tell you the noise levels generated by the graphics cards that make in-house at PC Perspective.

Along with the new hardware configuration comes a host of new games.  For this review we will be using the following benchmarks and games for performance evaluation:

  • Battlefield 3
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • DiRT 3
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Metro 2033
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • 3DMark11
  • Unigine Heaven v2.5

This collection of games is both current and takes into account several different genres as well - first person role playing, third person action, racing, first person shooting, etc.  3DMark11 and Unigine Heaven give us a way to see how the cards stack up in a more synthetic environment while the real-world gameplay testing provided by the six games completes the performance picture.

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For this review we are going to be comparing the Galaxy GTX 680 2GB to the reference GTX 680 as well as the Radeon HD 7970 3GB and the GTX 580 1.5GB offerings.  

The comparisons you should be paying particular attention to:

  • NVIDIA GTX 680 2GB vs HD 7970 3GB - Flagship level cards go head to head. Does the additional 1GB of memory on the HD 7970 help out in single panel gaming?
  • NVIDIA GTX 680 2GB vs GTX 580 1.5GB - Now with a $389 price, should you get a GTX 580 while still available?

Now, with that out of the way, let's get on with the results and see how the Galaxy GTX 680 2GB card performs!

April 17, 2012 | 02:47 PM - Posted by jewie27 (not verified)

Time and time again, reviewers fail to test every feature of Nvidia GPU's. When will they ever benchmark 3D Vision performance? One of Nvidia's high end features. Sigh...

I was hoping to see Battlefield 3 benchmarks for 3D Vision in single and SLI mode.

April 17, 2012 | 03:03 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

We have another piece looking at that, including Surround, come up next!

April 18, 2012 | 03:47 PM - Posted by jewie27 (not verified)

awesome, thanks :)

April 18, 2012 | 11:26 PM - Posted by Dane Clark (not verified)

Sweet. As a 3d vision owner I have to say, there is not many sites that measure features like this and it is always great to see sites covering 3d performance.

April 17, 2012 | 05:12 PM - Posted by rick (not verified)

in every game in this review there is a picture of in game options with 1920*1200rez, but in the test graph its 1920*1080
whats up with that?

April 18, 2012 | 10:59 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Game testing screenshots were taken before we moved from 1920x1080 testing. Nothing being hidden.


April 18, 2012 | 03:07 AM - Posted by cc (not verified)

still used GPU-Z 0.5.9? lol

April 18, 2012 | 10:57 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Yeah, testing was done a while back. :)

April 18, 2012 | 09:49 AM - Posted by edr (not verified)

Nice review Ryan. Wish I could afford a better card. I'll stick with my 560ti for another year at least :).

April 18, 2012 | 05:05 PM - Posted by mtrush (not verified)

I'm not impressed with performance the 680gtx has over 580gtx.
The Min/fps performance doesn't warrant buying a 680gtx!
but only for power consumption i'd buy it.

April 18, 2012 | 07:26 PM - Posted by David (not verified)

Right, which is what they are going for. Why does somebody need more than a 580? No game maxes that card out yet, so why put something on the market which is an even more unnecessary leap in performance? Why spend a lot more money to see a number on the screen hop up a few pegs?

April 20, 2012 | 04:59 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

What about when GTX 680 hits $399.99...Offers 3+ monitor support out of the box, consumers less power, runs cooler, and outperforms your GTX 580? Also, why did you think buying the GTX 580 was a good deal in the first place? I know I didn't. I bought a HD6950 2gb and unlocked it to a HD6970 for $300 or less, and it gets close to GTX 580 performance.
The main thing to remember (or learn if you didnt know) is that the GTX 680 is based on the GK104 GPU, not GK110 GPU. The GK110 GPU is a bigger, badder, faster GPU but is not available right this second.

Here's an assumption - if you were Nvidia and you had something maybe 25-40%+ faster than the GTX 680, but the GTX 680 is already about 10-20%+ faster than the competition at a lower price, would you release the big one? If you want to make money, which is what businesses do, you would want to hide the badass one and make huge margin on the GK104 based card as long as you can.

Check out the comparison of GK104 Vs GK110.

April 20, 2012 | 05:07 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

The 580 does not max every game out, plain and simple. There are a decent amount of gamers doing 3d, 3monitor, or both at the same time. I'm a big fan of Eyefinity/Nvidia Surround myself, and it was a bummer that the gtx 580 were not supporting it without 2 cards. GTX 680 fixes that and adds more memory - perfect.

April 20, 2012 | 04:51 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

Where iz thee SLI performance resultz?!?

April 26, 2012 | 02:24 AM - Posted by train_wreck (not verified)

and i was thinking i was kicking ass with my watercooled GTX 580. some things never change.

December 18, 2012 | 07:55 PM - Posted by Junita Feld (not verified)

I went over this website and I conceive you have a lot of good info, saved to bookmarks (:.

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