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GTX 680 ~ Which brand & model?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 29, 2012 12:18:14 AM

As the title would suggest, I'm looking to buy a GTX 680. For convenience, I've included the "Help me find a GPU" template below. I tried to be as detailed as possible. :) 


I'm pretty confident I want a GTX 680. If you're brave, you can try to convince me otherwise. :)  As far as brand, I'm lost. Even if I said ONLY EVGA (which I did a couple times now) there's 8 models. I can't choose. The reference design works, the non-reference designs cool better, but is less reliable (from what I've seen). I can't decide between brand either. My instinct is EVGA only because I trust their warranty with my life. They will replace a broken card if I threw it against a wall and then into my pool. That's awesome. ASUS, probably not. Zotac and PNY = HORRIBLE for warranties so I'm avoiding them at all costs.


Please help!!! Honestly this is written horrible. I didn't take the time to properly format it and make it all nice looking... I'm in a hurry and want my GPU now!! plus I just had to send back a GTX 680 and I didn't even get to open the box. It's killing me. I want one.


Edit: My motherboard only has PCIe 2.0 ports, but it shouldn't be a problem. (current cards can't saturate the 2.0 bus anyway, right?) A new motherboard and CPU is my next upgrade. :) 


Approximate Purchase Date: Immediately

Budget: Not really important. I just returned a GTX 680 (EVGA, 4GB, high clocks) because it was a huge waste of money at $708 (impulse buy, it happens) so.. cheaper than that :) 

Usage from most to least important: Mainly gaming, web browsing, average computer use. Sometimes photo/video editing. Sometimes CUDA photo rendering..etc.. As for gaming: mainly WoW, GW2, StarCraft, Diablo 3, etc. I don't want a GTX 680 because it can barely play a game. I want a GTX 680 because it can tear these games up without breaking a sweat. I like high frames.

Current GPU and Power Supply: My current GPU is a EVGA GTX 295 FTW Co-Op Edition. I love(d) it. It still plays everything I can throw at it at max. Why upgrade, then? No DX11 support, I'd like better WoW frames, GW2 doesn't get excellent frames. WoW recently has a driver bug with (came with Mists of Pandaria) that is making it impossible to level. (why I need a new card.. NOW). My PSU puts out 1350 Watts. It's fine. The rails are stable and within spec. I forget the brand/model at the moment but it was the best I could buy 2.5 years ago at like $400.

Other relevant specs: EVGA 3x SLI Classified mobo, i7-920 D0 CPU, 12 GB G-Skill DDR3 1600 RAM. My system will not bottleneck the GPU.

Preferred Website for Parts: Any. Although Newegg is offering Borderlands 2 with any Nvidia card. That's a huge +. So Newegg probably.

Parts preference: Well....nvidia...obviously. I've looked at the 7970..but it just doesn't compare in my eyes to the performance and features and customizability to the nvidia card.

Overclocking: Possibly. Probably not (unless it's OOB of course)

SLI/Crossfire: Possibly buy a second one in the future and SLI them. Probably just buy a 780 when it comes out. (isn't the 780 far off? like early 2014? I read something about it...somewhere)

Resolution: 1080p. perhaps 1920x1200 if I get a new monitor. not like that's a huge difference though.

Additional Comments: Lifetime warranty is nice. I chose EVGA for their lifetime warranty but it doesn't seem like they offer it anymore. I may want to try 3 monitors in the future, but one GTX 680 would struggle with that anyway so I'd have to SLI them so consider that. Borderlands 2 is a big plus. (I'd buy it if I didn't get it probably. so it'd save me $60)

Oh, one last thing. I know the 670 is better performance/dollar but I plan to have this card for a while (and maybe two of them later on) so I don't want a lesser performing card no matter the cost. And, I despite dual-gpu cards. My GTX 295 is nothing but problems.

More about : gtx 680 brand model

a c 185 U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 1:07:24 AM

So do you only want a 680 4GB model or are you considering others ?
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September 29, 2012 6:23:14 AM

bigcyco1 said:
So do you only want a 680 4GB model or are you considering others ?


I only want a 2GB model. The 4GB model is a waste of money.
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a c 185 U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 6:32:50 AM

I would be all over that Asus TOP for its high factory overclock, cool temps, and really, really quiet fans,heavily modified PCB, with an efficient VRM design to produce low temperatures, improved voltage regulation circuitry, much better Chil controller , specially binned chip and voltage control and monitoring support that you won't find on most other non-reference cards.The thing a straight beast!
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September 29, 2012 7:04:15 AM

MSI GTX 680 Lightning. 12 phase pwm, triple overvoltage, with proper liquid cooling it can be pushed over 1400mhz, and possibly has the best cooler of all of the non reference designs. Also there is an edit you can do that allows you to add more voltage than afterburner allows so that you can get even more from the card.
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a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 7:10:13 AM

Asus DCII TOP(if you can find one) or MSi Lightning version.
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September 29, 2012 7:14:52 AM

Also, the lightning has an owners club on another forum so you could get any additional information needed for that specific card over there.
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a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 7:32:41 AM

The_Assassin said:
MSI GTX 680 Lightning. 12 phase pwm, triple overvoltage, with proper liquid cooling it can be pushed over 1400mhz, and possibly has the best cooler of all of the non reference designs. Also there is an edit you can do that allows you to add more voltage than afterburner allows so that you can get even more from the card.


Voltage isn't unlocked anymore unfortunately. Only like the first 5000 were unlocked, Nvidia forced them to lock it.
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September 29, 2012 7:35:07 AM

JJ1217 said:
Voltage isn't unlocked anymore unfortunately. Only like the first 5000 were unlocked, Nvidia forced them to lock it.



If you head over to that "other" forum, you will see that they have the steps, the bios file and flash tool to be able to flash your bios to the unlocked LN2 bios. Very easy to do.
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a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 7:38:56 AM

Or you'll get a nice $500 paperweight.
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September 29, 2012 7:41:12 AM

JJ1217 said:
Or you'll get a nice $500 paperweight.


If it was designed for unlocked voltage before, why wouldn't it be okay to use it now?
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a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 8:10:18 AM

The_Assassin said:
If it was designed for unlocked voltage before, why wouldn't it be okay to use it now?


The card itself wasn't designed for voltage being unlocked, the actual bios was. It in no way is different to any other card's overclocking abilities. Just by the fact that you can change the voltage is the reason its different. Now if you change the bios back, there is still a high chance of bricking the card.
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September 29, 2012 8:12:52 AM

JJ1217 said:
The card itself wasn't designed for voltage being unlocked, the actual bios was. It in no way is different to any other card's overclocking abilities. Just by the fact that you can change the voltage is the reason its different. Now if you change the bios back, there is still a high chance of bricking the card.


Shouldn't have a problem flashing if you know what you are doing. ;) 
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a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 8:19:25 AM

Flashing itself is easy. The part which is out of your control, doesn't matter whether you are experienced in it. It took me four tries to finally successfully flash my 7850 to unlocked voltages.
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a c 185 U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 8:24:08 AM
September 29, 2012 8:24:48 AM

JJ1217 said:
The card itself wasn't designed for voltage being unlocked, the actual bios was. It in no way is different to any other card's overclocking abilities. Just by the fact that you can change the voltage is the reason its different. Now if you change the bios back, there is still a high chance of bricking the card.


It's the power phases and other materials used to be able to transfer the power efficiently throughout the card that makes the card achieve better clocks than reference cards.
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September 29, 2012 10:31:04 AM

+1 for the Asus Direct CUII TOP card, why? I have one and i love it, in fact im trying to divorce my wife so i can marry my GPU instead.
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a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 10:50:19 AM

Yep the Top Card is great. Too bad its $650 here in Australia LOL.
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September 29, 2012 9:32:47 PM

bigcyco1 said:
I would be all over that Asus TOP for its high factory overclock, cool temps, and really, really quiet fans,heavily modified PCB, with an efficient VRM design to produce low temperatures, improved voltage regulation circuitry, much better Chil controller , specially binned chip and voltage control and monitoring support that you won't find on most other non-reference cards.The thing a straight beast!


I was looking at it. However, it's a triple card design and it would make SLI difficult in the future. I've also heard that the non-reference designs, especially the ASUS DCII Top are unreliable and ASUS's warranty in no way compares to EVGA's.

Thoughts? I think I'd rather have a better warranty than slightly higher clocks. Noise also shouldn't be a problem, either. I do currently own a GTX 295, after all.
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September 29, 2012 9:34:32 PM

The_Assassin said:
MSI GTX 680 Lightning. 12 phase pwm, triple overvoltage, with proper liquid cooling it can be pushed over 1400mhz, and possibly has the best cooler of all of the non reference designs. Also there is an edit you can do that allows you to add more voltage than afterburner allows so that you can get even more from the card.


I won't be liquid cooling it. How's MSI's warranty?
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September 29, 2012 9:34:57 PM

The_Assassin said:
Also, the lightning has an owners club on another forum so you could get any additional information needed for that specific card over there.


EVGA has the same thing, I believe.
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September 29, 2012 9:44:58 PM

JJ1217 said:
The card itself wasn't designed for voltage being unlocked, the actual bios was. It in no way is different to any other card's overclocking abilities. Just by the fact that you can change the voltage is the reason its different. Now if you change the bios back, there is still a high chance of bricking the card.


I thought you could change the voltage in any of these cards? Either way, I probably won't be overclocking it.
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a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 9:46:05 PM

I still don't recommend The GTX 680 Lightning. If you could get your hands on one from like the time it came out (The first batch), then go on ahead. You shouldn't have to bios change to unlock voltage, because it doesn't make it special. You can do it for all cards. The Twin Frozr is nice, but I don't think its good enough for the noise it makes. The DCII is a very very quiet card and it does its job almost as good as twin frozr does, but at less noise.
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September 29, 2012 9:52:45 PM

JJ1217 said:
I still don't recommend The GTX 680 Lightning. If you could get your hands on one from like the time it came out (The first batch), then go on ahead. You shouldn't have to bios change to unlock voltage, because it doesn't make it special. You can do it for all cards. The Twin Frozr is nice, but I don't think its good enough for the noise it makes. The DCII is a very very quiet card and it does its job almost as good as twin frozr does, but at less noise.


I've heard bad things of MSI's warranty. People have claimed they run you around in circles asking for useless information until you eventually give up. I looked at the ASUS DCII Top again and every one of the bad reviews has a reply from ASUS. Seems like dedicated customer service to me. So I'm fairly convinced to buy it. However, one last question:

If I do buy a second ASUS DCII Top in the future, how bad would it be if the first card was only one slot away from the second and the second card is zero slots away from my PSU? Seems like I would be starving the cards for air (and why I initially wanted two-slot cards). However, I plan for the future but rarely actually follow through. So I probably won't actually SLI it. It's just a thought. What do you think?
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September 29, 2012 9:53:13 PM

Uther39 said:
+1 for the Asus Direct CUII TOP card, why? I have one and i love it, in fact im trying to divorce my wife so i can marry my GPU instead.


Very convincing, lol. :) 
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September 29, 2012 9:54:15 PM
a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 10:12:49 PM

Hmm, I dunno. I don't have that issue as I have a HAF X, and my psu is miles away from my board. You can try it, it'll definitely increase temperatures, but by the time you SLI you might be able to get a new motherboard.
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September 29, 2012 10:29:44 PM

JJ1217 said:
Hmm, I dunno. I don't have that issue as I have a HAF X, and my psu is miles away from my board. You can try it, it'll definitely increase temperatures, but by the time you SLI you might be able to get a new motherboard.


My motherboard is pretty great. The reason my PSU is so close is because my third PCIe 2.0 x16 slot is 2 slots from the edge of the board. That pushes the card one slot off the board and nearly touches my PSU. My case is an NZXT Phantom. :) 

I could put the second card zero slots away from the first at the second PCIe 2.0 x16 slot but it would likely have just as many problems. Heh. I'll upgrade if I need to when the time comes.

On another note. I missed the Borderlands 2 promotion by hours. This annoys. :( 
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a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2012 10:37:39 PM

What board do you have?
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September 29, 2012 10:45:37 PM

JJ1217 said:
What board do you have?


EVGA X58 3x SLI Classified (E760)

It was really great when I first got it. Today's standards, though, it's lacking PCIe 3.0 and USB 3.0. I'm looking to upgrade to socket 2011 when I can.
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a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2012 3:39:08 AM

for gaming,1155 z68/z77 is best platform.
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September 30, 2012 5:18:50 AM

Steffwiz said:
I've heard bad things of MSI's warranty. People have claimed they run you around in circles asking for useless information until you eventually give up. I looked at the ASUS DCII Top again and every one of the bad reviews has a reply from ASUS. Seems like dedicated customer service to me. So I'm fairly convinced to buy it. However, one last question:

If I do buy a second ASUS DCII Top in the future, how bad would it be if the first card was only one slot away from the second and the second card is zero slots away from my PSU? Seems like I would be starving the cards for air (and why I initially wanted two-slot cards). However, I plan for the future but rarely actually follow through. So I probably won't actually SLI it. It's just a thought. What do you think?


There's rumors about every vendor. I have been looking through the feedback for the Lightning and MSI responded to the 2 bad reviews. ASUS, on the other hand, had 5 bad reviews most likely because of it being clocked so high from the factory. The GTX 670 Top owners are also complaining about problems with that card. It looks like people are RMA'ing the Top cards and getting just the regular OC card. Not trying to discourage you from getting the Top but I just believe the Lightning would be the better card in the long run.
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a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2012 5:43:53 AM

The_Assassin said:
There's rumors about every vendor. I have been looking through the feedback for the Lightning and MSI responded to the 2 bad reviews. ASUS, on the other hand, had 5 bad reviews most likely because of it being clocked so high from the factory. The GTX 670 Top owners are also complaining about problems with that card. It looks like people are RMA'ing the Top cards and getting just the regular OC card. Not trying to discourage you from getting the Top but I just believe the Lightning would be the better card in the long run.


Jesus christ, I was hoping to talk you out of this. There is one reason, which is a killer, why you should not get this card. If you would actually research this card, you would realise the gigantic problem with this card. I'll tell you, it has something to do with the video output :) 
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a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2012 5:45:11 AM

And the reason for the GTX 670 TOP reason was not exactly being clocked to high, its just the kepler boost, was added on again, eg It was clocked to 1137 then the Kepler Boost was added, meaning some cards were unstable, despite it only meaning to be 1137. It's been fixed, and its pretty much impossible to find that card now anyways.
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September 30, 2012 5:49:05 AM

JJ1217 said:
Jesus christ, I was hoping to talk you out of this. There is one reason, which is a killer, why you should not get this card. If you would actually research this card, you would realise the gigantic problem with this card. I'll tell you, it has something to do with the video output :) 


Are you sure you don't have the 680 confused with the 7970's video output?
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a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2012 6:00:56 AM

Oh yep I did. LOL made myself look like a fool there :p 
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September 30, 2012 12:07:40 PM

JJ1217 said:
Oh yep I did. LOL made myself look like a fool there :p 


I ordered the ASUS DCII Top from Newegg for $580 shipped. I don't mind cancelling the order though. Is the general consensus that the MSI model is better? I'm also still unconvinced about whether I want the GTX 680 over the 7970. Ugh!
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a c 185 U Graphics card
September 30, 2012 5:00:00 PM

Steffwiz said:
I ordered the ASUS DCII Top from Newegg for $580 shipped. I don't mind cancelling the order though. Is the general consensus that the MSI model is better? I'm also still unconvinced about whether I want the GTX 680 over the 7970. Ugh!
You made a good choice i wouldn't let others sway you into thinking otherwise without facts and proof i have used the card you ordered it's a beast! ;) 
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October 12, 2012 8:42:30 AM

Best answer selected by Steffwiz.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
October 12, 2012 5:06:53 PM

This topic has been closed by MouseMonkey
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