Summary and Final Thoughts
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 2560×1600 resolution and likely will as well in a multi-display gaming configuration, but at 1920×1080 the GTX 670 seems more than capable of besting the AMD flagship GPU.
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 1920×1080 – 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!
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.
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.
- Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 2GB – $399
- NV GeForce GTX 680 2GB – $499
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB – $479
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 2GB – $399
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.
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…