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GTX 670 4GB vs GTX 680 2 GB, Nvidia Surround/ Multiple Display Setups

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July 2, 2012 1:02:44 PM

Hello everyone, So...

"IN REGARDS TO MULTIPLE DISPLAYS"; I want to run 3 Monitors at minimum 1920 x 1080 each , should I?



Get a GTX 670 FTW 4GB at the cost of $484? (and keep my warrantee)

OR, get a GTX 680 Stock for $500, and overclock to make up for vram.



--- I know there are pros of each over the other, and that the performance of the GTX 680 is around 5-10% faster than the 670. But, I know VRAM is important when running multiple displays. Yet in the grand scheme of things, is buying a 670 overclocked to as powerful as a 680, but with 4GB of Vram BETTER (as far as FPS at 5760 x 1080 and price/performance), or is one 680 OVERCLOCKED as F*CK going to yeild me similar or better results?

My selfish, brag hungry heart wants a 680, yet am not willing to spend near $700 for one with 4GB vram if neccessary. And settling for 1 monitor is not an option. I appreciate all responses. Even the un-constructive ones. Although, less than the constructive ones.
July 2, 2012 3:02:45 PM

The bigger problem with the GTX 670/680 at super high resolution is that it only has a 256-bit memory bus, which actually hurts it more than just having 2GB vram.

I think it's a waste of money buying a 4GB version of the 670... benchmarks don't show any performance increase even at triple screen resolution and I just don't think that throwing 4GB vram on a 256-bit bus makes sense at all.

Just get the 670 2GB version and save some money (-edit- or better yet, get a 7970). If your concern is having a card that will run triple-screen games for a long time, I wouldn't recommend Kepler due to the memory bus limitation. Either the 7970 or waiting for the next-gen Nvidia card would be a better bet.
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July 2, 2012 3:11:39 PM

A Radeon 7950 with severe overclocking or a Radeon 7970 would be your best bet here. Nvidia supports several monitors, but is not the ideal choice for it due to the very reason that is stated above. As the resolution and such increase, Nvidia's GK104 cards get slower and slower relative to the Tahiti cards such as the 7950 and the 7970. At 5760x1080, the 7970 can overtake the GTX 670 and 680 even with the Catalyst 12.6 driver, let alone how much ground it can then pick up with the performance-enhancing Catalyst 12.7 driver.
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Related resources
July 2, 2012 3:54:42 PM

I did some research and it supports that even with the bus limitations, the GTX 680 out performs the 7970, in at least the titles im interested in. ex BF3, Crysis 2. But as far as the Vram is conserned, have you seen any benches or distinction between a 680 at 5760 x 1080, and the 670 4GB at those resolutions? Or does the 7970 beat the 670 4GB? Considering their very similar in price.

http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/graphics/37253-three-scre...

And the 7970 is a beatiful card btw. Can't wait to see what Radeon does with their next generation.
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July 2, 2012 4:07:52 PM

pWnDankosity said:
I did some research and it supports that even with the bus limitations, the GTX 680 out performs the 7970, in at least the titles im interested in. ex BF3, Crysis 2. But as far as the Vram is conserned, have you seen any benches or distinction between a 680 at 5760 x 1080, and the 670 4GB at those resolutions? Or does the 7970 beat the 670 4GB? Considering their very similar in price.

http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/graphics/37253-three-scre...

And the 7970 is a beatiful card btw. Can't wait to see what Radeon does with their next generation.


I'm not sure that this is still true on current drivers. Certainly isn't true if you actually clock the 7970 to a decent clock (1100 MHz+, which is achievable on 99.9% of cards with no voltage bump). Although BF3 definitely likes Kepler over Tahiti, so I dunno.

Anyways, I've not seen any benchmark that shows the 4GB 680 or 4GB 670 performing any better than the 2GB counterpart even at super high resolution. If you want the Kepler card, just stick to 2GB... it just isn't worth the money to grab a 4GB version.
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July 2, 2012 4:30:12 PM

Go with the 7970 eyefinity is much better, I am sure everyone is in agreement here that Nvidia's control panel is crap compared to the Catalyst Suite
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July 2, 2012 4:49:19 PM

The new Catalyst 12.7 driver lets the 7970 take back the performance crown from the GTX 680 in most situations. Considering that at 5760x1080, the 7970 already won most of the time (the 680 loses more performance than the 7970 does as the resolution and such increases, presumably, this is mostly due to the 7970's much greater memory bandwidth), the new driver lets it pull ahead considerably. However, one other thing does come to mind... 5760x1080 is still very intensive in the more GPU limited games. A single 7970 can do 2560x1600 excellently, but 5760x1080 has about 50% more pixels and takes substantially more performance to have similar speed with the same settings because of that. The Kepler cards are not suited for such a resolution.
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July 2, 2012 5:46:43 PM

blazorthon said:
The new Catalyst 12.7 driver lets the 7970 take back the performance crown from the GTX 680 in most situations. Considering that at 5760x1080, the 7970 already won most of the time (the 680 loses more performance than the 7970 does as the resolution and such increases, presumably, this is mostly due to the 7970's much greater memory bandwidth), the new driver lets it pull ahead considerably. However, one other thing does come to mind... 5760x1080 is still very intensive in the more GPU limited games. A single 7970 can do 2560x1600 excellently, but 5760x1080 has about 50% more pixels and takes substantially more performance to have similar speed with the same settings because of that. The Kepler cards are not suited for such a resolution.



The kepler cards are perfectly suited for that resolution. You just won't be able to play in the ultra settings if you want 60 fps. The same thing is true of the 7970 as well. I don't see how you can say that they are not suited for that resolution when they perform similarly. While the 7970 may have pulled ahead in some areas by a small margin, you have to consider the fact that it has been out for 6 months, whereas the kepler cards have been out for half of that. Unless Nvidia completely drops the ball somewhere, you can expect driver updates that will bring the performance levels up to where the 7970 is or further.
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July 2, 2012 5:57:01 PM

roadkill922 said:
The kepler cards are perfectly suited for that resolution. You just won't be able to play in the ultra settings if you want 60 fps. The same thing is true of the 7970 as well. I don't see how you can say that they are not suited for that resolution when they perform similarly. While the 7970 may have pulled ahead in some areas by a small margin, you have to consider the fact that it has been out for 6 months, whereas the kepler cards have been out for half of that. Unless Nvidia completely drops the ball somewhere, you can expect driver updates that will bring the performance levels up to where the 7970 is or further.


the main difference is that the 7970 was pushed out too early, and that historically the AMD drivers are not as well built as the nvidia drivers, so AMD had a lot to work on the card despite its early release. because of it, it concepted the 12.7 driver, which is why it gave amd cards a moderately significant boost. at the current moment, its known that the 7970 works on extremely high resolutions better than the Gtx 680(2560x1600). As for 1920x1080, AMD's eyefinity is more developed for multiple screens on 1 card than Nvidia is. At the current moment, both company switched sides on their work. Nvidia is trying to enhance their 3D surround setup, while AMD is working on 3D vision, which was something that Nvidia worked better on.
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July 2, 2012 6:10:16 PM

I would go for the GTX 670 4GB version, which is cheaper than the GTX 680 2GB, yet will perform nearly as fast. Your research was correct that in multiple screen situations the GTX 680/670's still deliver top performance, even with the 2GB variants. Going for a 4GB version is certainly a better option than going with a card that has less memory in a multiple screen situation.

Of course, the best way to come to a decision is to research reviews using your target resolution and the games you personally intend to play. Here are several reviews testing high resolution scenarios:
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/nvidia_gtx670/
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5818/nvidia-geforce-gtx-6...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2012/05/10/nvidia-gefo...
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_670...
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July 2, 2012 6:36:21 PM

17seconds said:
I would go for the GTX 670 4GB version, which is cheaper than the GTX 680 2GB, yet will perform nearly as fast. Your research was correct that in multiple screen situations the GTX 680/670's still deliver top performance, even with the 2GB variants. Going for a 4GB version is certainly a better option than going with a card that has less memory in a multiple screen situation.

Of course, the best way to come to a decision is to research reviews using your target resolution and the games you personally intend to play. Here are several reviews testing high resolution scenarios:
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/nvidia_gtx670/
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5818/nvidia-geforce-gtx-6...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2012/05/10/nvidia-gefo...
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_670...


I have some questions to these points, though:
1) The reviews of the GTX 680 4Gb cards don't seem to show any benefit over the 2GB version, so why shell out the extra $70-100 to get a 4GB version that yields no performance benefit even at very high resolution? For example, check guru3d's review - at 1600p there is no advantage to 4GB vram. I don't think a few more pixels are going to change that.

2) The GTX 670 reviews put it around 7970 performance, but recent benchmarks (like the ones at Toms) show that newer drivers allow the 7970 to pretty easily beat the 670, even in Nvidia-friendly titles like BF3. So, I think that the conventional wisdom of "670 = 7970" is now old and incorrect. For example, with the old drivers, a 1070 MHz 7970 was beating a 680 at triple-screen gaming in BF3.


I don't think that a 4GB version of the 670 is recommendable at all for a single card setup. For SLI, maybe, but not single card. The idea that a 670 is equal or better than a 7970 now seems incorrect with current drivers. I think both a 670 and a 7970 are recommendable, but not the 4GB 670. The 4GB 670 will perform worse than the 7970 but cost more.

I don't know how the 680 and 7970 fare at high resolution with the new drivers. My guess is that the 7970 still needs some overclocking to take it down. But it should go without saying that anyone buying a 7970 should clock it at least to 1100 MHz - there's no downside to doing that since you don't have to bump voltages and it gives a 15-20% boost in performance. @OP - If your budget is $500, though, the GTX 680 might be the best card for you. It's certainly a better option than a $470-ish 4GB GTX 670. And if you're not a fan of the idea of overclocking a 7970, it's probably still the better buy.
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July 2, 2012 7:14:45 PM

All these responses are awesome. I've been looking and it does seem like there are no Gains in graphics performance with a 4GB card. Yet, there are accounts of cards hitting the vram "Wall" and getting frames slashed down to 1 -2 fps for a brief moment. Yet, this seems rather unconfirmed, and even more so, that the lack of solid "evidence" that a 4GB card will grant any benefit to a gaming set-up brings one to think why even bother? Most high end Radeon cards have 3GB ram, arriving to the illusion that there might me reason to fork out for the extra 2GB. But if im planning to go SLI in the near future, I will already have 4 GB from that, vs having 8GB with an SLI pair or 4GB cards (which is a complete waste if 4GB is too much. So I am going to just go straight 680 and overclock it until it won't go higher, or until they unlock the voltage on it. If your ganna spend $20 less than what the next best card costs, might as well eat Ramen for an extra week right?
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July 2, 2012 7:29:50 PM

The only time I've seen anyone post anything concrete about a vram wall was in this post, showing that with crazy SSAA at high resolution, you need more than 2GB:

http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=...

That's about it, though.

Just remember that in multi-card configs (SLI/Crossfire), VRAM does NOT stack. That's why I said that for SLI it may be worth considering a 4GB model (but again, there's a lack of data out there for this). It's also one of the reasons I recommend 7970 Crossfire over 670/680 SLI.

Based on your posts, I'd say the 680 is the card for you.
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July 2, 2012 7:33:00 PM

If you are going SLI, get a good 670 card with a good cooling solution. Your system will be lower power and quieter and cheaper than a cross-fire solution with 7950's. With triple monitors, you need a couple boards to give you a crisp response.
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July 2, 2012 8:29:52 PM

Are they making a 670 FTW 4GB? I currently have SLI GTX 670 FTW 2GB and when playing BF3 on ultra or FFXIV on very high settings in surround mode I have no problems at all. VRAM comes close to being used all up on BF3 but I'm not having any problems.
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July 2, 2012 9:27:55 PM

Get a MSI 670/680 Twin Frozr card imo :) 
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July 3, 2012 3:21:18 AM

babernet_1 said:
If you are going SLI, get a good 670 card with a good cooling solution. Your system will be lower power and quieter and cheaper than a cross-fire solution with 7950's. With triple monitors, you need a couple boards to give you a crisp response.


Don't forget slower than the 7950s. Don't pretend that you're not making a trade-off in performance and you're also wrong about the cost. Two 7950s are cheaper and faster than two 670s unless you buy overpriced 7950s. At this resolution of 5760x1080, 2GB can start to become a problem, especially in texture-modded Skyrim or other games.
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July 3, 2012 4:03:53 AM

pWnDankosity said:
All these responses are awesome. I've been looking and it does seem like there are no Gains in graphics performance with a 4GB card. Yet, there are accounts of cards hitting the vram "Wall" and getting frames slashed down to 1 -2 fps for a brief moment. Yet, this seems rather unconfirmed, and even more so, that the lack of solid "evidence" that a 4GB card will grant any benefit to a gaming set-up brings one to think why even bother? Most high end Radeon cards have 3GB ram, arriving to the illusion that there might me reason to fork out for the extra 2GB. But if im planning to go SLI in the near future, I will already have 4 GB from that, vs having 8GB with an SLI pair or 4GB cards (which is a complete waste if 4GB is too much. So I am going to just go straight 680 and overclock it until it won't go higher, or until they unlock the voltage on it. If your ganna spend $20 less than what the next best card costs, might as well eat Ramen for an extra week right?


I don't know if I am understanding you correctly, but it sounds as though you believe SLI 670 4GBs will add up to 8GB. I may have just read this wrong and if so I apologize. Anyway the VRAM does not add up when you SLI two cards. The cards mirror each other and only use the equivalent VRAM of one card. For example two GTX 670 2GB cards in sli still only adds up to 2GB vram total.

The reason people say to get the 4GB models for SLI is because in order to utilize that much VRAM, you need the power of 2 cards to process it.
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July 3, 2012 9:39:02 PM

I don't normally post here but came across this thread through a search on which 670 4GB cards are out there or "soon to be available".

I just thought I'd chime in and let everyone know that playing Rift on ~mid-high settings at 8050x1600 on my old 1.5GB GTX 580s would cause stutter all the time. I'm using 3GB 580s at the moment and I monitor vram usage with MSI Afterburner...I see usage near 2GB all the time but I don't think I've ever seen it actually go above. Skyrim with add-ons and texture packs is the common culprit that's pointed at for using up the vram. I don't own the game but I certainly believe the claims.

The point is that although all the reviews are showing no "speed" increase, if you try playing while your videocard continuously swaps textures in an out for a while you'll definitely see the value of the extra vram.
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July 3, 2012 9:42:08 PM

tol said:
I don't normally post here but came across this thread through a search on which 670 4GB cards are out there or "soon to be available".

I just thought I'd chime in and let everyone know that playing Rift on ~mid-high settings at 8050x1600 on my old 1.5GB GTX 580s would cause stutter all the time. I'm using 3GB 580s at the moment and I monitor vram usage with MSI Afterburner...I see usage near 2GB all the time but I don't think I've ever seen it actually go above. Skyrim with add-ons and texture packs is the common culprit that's pointed at for using up the vram. I don't own the game but I certainly believe the claims.

The point is that although all the reviews are showing no "speed" increase, if you try playing while your videocard continuously swaps textures in an out for a while you'll definitely see the value of the extra vram.


That is if the extra ram actually made an improvement.

Which it doesn't due to the bit rate.
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July 4, 2012 7:24:19 PM

roadkill922 said:
I don't know if I am understanding you correctly, but it sounds as though you believe SLI 670 4GBs will add up to 8GB. I may have just read this wrong and if so I apologize. Anyway the VRAM does not add up when you SLI two cards. The cards mirror each other and only use the equivalent VRAM of one card. For example two GTX 670 2GB cards in sli still only adds up to 2GB vram total.

The reason people say to get the 4GB models for SLI is because in order to utilize that much VRAM, you need the power of 2 cards to process it.


Ya, I forgot about the whole vram stacking. I hope they come us with a fix to that. I have no idea why that isn't a HUGE issue with these card manufacturers.
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July 4, 2012 7:41:00 PM

pWnDankosity said:
Ya, I forgot about the whole vram stacking. I hope they come us with a fix to that. I have no idea why that isn't a HUGE issue with these card manufacturers.


It's not something they can fix unfortunately - it's built in to how the technology works. By definition vram does not and cannot stack with how Crossfire/SLI work. You'd have to come up with an entirely new technology and interface to get vram to stack.
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July 4, 2012 9:33:37 PM

pWnDankosity said:
Ya, I forgot about the whole vram stacking. I hope they come us with a fix to that. I have no idea why that isn't a HUGE issue with these card manufacturers.


In order for VRAM to stack, every GPU in the graphics system would need to have full-speed access to all shared memory. Unless you can find a way to share memory at hundreds of GB/s between separate graphics cards when even PCIe can't do that, there's nothing that we can do. Theoretically, this could be done on dual GPU cards between the two GPUs on the card, but between different cards is incredibly difficult with current technology.
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July 5, 2012 4:44:22 PM

I have been doing even MORE research. And a few of the title I enjoy (Skyrim & BF3) do require quite a bit of Vram. Over 3GB in some cases. This is of course at 5760x1080 and up with extremely high settings. With games advancing how they do, and the most popular titles using more and more vram, AND the fact that even tri-sli only has 2GB max vram if running 2GB cards, all of the above = 670 Superclocked+ FTW 4GB is IMO the "Safest" choice for someone looking for 5760 x 1XXX+ and planning on going SLI in the future. And at $200 less than the 680 4GB, its the best price/performance card in the 600 series (in respect to 4GB cards).

-Unless your a radeon fan, in which case its your call.

Here is a becnhmark chart. Kinda made me realize that a 680 4GB is NOT worth it. Of course, that claim is in respects to how the processor clock limits in a 680 4gb is the same as in the 2GB (duh) making adding an extra $200 for the 5-10% boost between the 670 & 680(which is compaired in the link with the benchmarks below) retarded expensive. You might as well buy a 690 at that kinda price.

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2012/05/10/nvidia-gefo...
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