Performance, Pricing and Availability and Conclusions
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.
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 1920×1080 testing and then matching performance (or falling ever so slightly behind) at 2560×1440. 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 5760×1080 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:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB – $399
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB – $649
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB – $449
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition – $449
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.
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!!