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Are We Still Taking These Launches Seriously?

GeForce GTX 670 2 GB Review: Is It Already Time To Forget GTX 680?
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After busting “Roger” in the movie Training Day, Denzel exclaims, “The (expletive)’s chess, it ain’t checkers.” Increasingly, product launches (from both graphics vendors) are looking like moves in attrition warfare.

This particular round kicked off when AMD teased the Radeon HD 7900-series ahead of the holiday 2011 buying season, culminating in a preview just before Christmas that has us wait almost three weeks before the first cards started appearing for sale. A handful of very soft launches later, we had Radeon HD 7800- and 7700-series cards to talk about as well.

Nvidia returned fire with its GeForce GTX 680, offering better performance and a lower price than AMD’s flagship. Its supply was so low, however, that online searches continue turning up zero availability, even today. But the move forced AMD to drop the MSRP on its Radeon HD 7970 by $70. Then came the GeForce GTX 690, nearly doubling the 680’s performance at a $1000 MSRP (practically closer to $1200); and still no real availability.

Sizing Up GeForce GTX 670

And that takes us to the GeForce GTX 670, which we’re told is launching in greater numbers than GeForce GTX 680, but to higher demand, possibly resulting in a similar outcome.

On paper, the GK104-based card costs $400. And because it’s roughly as fast as a Radeon HD 7970, you’d think that AMD would need to shave yet another $80, at least, from that board’s MSRP. Seems a little unjust though, doesn’t it? Accept that you can’t amply support demand for something, introduce it anyway, and claim a Pyrrhic victory as the competition is forced to cut the prices of more readily-available alternatives again and again.

Sound crazy that we’d decry lower prices on high-end hardware? Sure. But there’s a method to my madness. On one hand, I’d love to hand the GeForce GTX 670 an award for matching the speed of a card that, only a month ago, was priced $150 higher. On the other, persistent availability problems plaguing past products based on the same architecture mean that you, the Tom’s Hardware reader, could float around in a perpetual holding pattern until Nvidia sorts out its supply issues.

Maybe this time will be different and we’ll see GeForce GTX 670s in sufficient quantity to satisfy the folks previously priced out of the ultra-high-end market. If that’s the case, then hell yes. GeForce GTX 670 is a phenomenal little board that blows right past the GeForce GTX 580—a card that was introduced at $500 a year and a half ago. It offers the display connectivity to contend with Eyefinity, one of AMD’s prior differentiators, and its efficiency is currently unmatched. We have every reason to recommend buying a GeForce GTX 670—even as an alternative to the GeForce GTX 680, which is marginally faster, but 25% more expensive.

Cards like EVGA’s GeForce GTX 670 2 GB Superclocked up the ante with higher base clocks, more aggressive average GPU Boost frequencies, and elevated memory data rates—in this case at a $20 premium. That’s still $60 under the cheapest Radeon HD 7970 and $80 less than the most affordable GeForce GTX 680.

If Nvidia is able to deliver this time around and GeForce GTX 670s are accessible, then it has a real winner on its hands and AMD will need to adjust its entire line-up to reflect a Radeon HD 7970 priced at $400 or less. Here’s hoping we’ve seen the last of the launch-oriented chess moves, architected to keep enthusiasts from buying competing cards. We just want to play our games, after all.

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Top Comments
  • 28 Hide
    borden5 , May 10, 2012 1:23 PM
    amd price reduce 2.0 xD
  • 27 Hide
    godfather666 , May 10, 2012 1:48 PM
    The list of games is very unfair to AMD cards. Techpowerup's review, which featured a much longer list of games, had the Radeon HD 7970 faster than the GTX 670 at all resolutions 1080p and higher.

    Nvidia has had a big lead in Dirt 3 and WoW for a very long time. This skews the results.

    The GTX 670 is a fantastic card, don't get me wrong. Just pointing out that it's being slightly overrated here.
  • 27 Hide
    iceman1992 , May 10, 2012 1:42 PM
    $400 is still too high for me... Waiting for something around $225
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 10, 2012 1:21 PM
    Running to buy it!
  • -4 Hide
    tecmo34 , May 10, 2012 1:23 PM
    Great Review Chris!!

    Though there isn't really a performance hit but it would be great to have seen the GTX 670 running at PCIe 3.0.
  • 28 Hide
    borden5 , May 10, 2012 1:23 PM
    amd price reduce 2.0 xD
  • -6 Hide
    master9716 , May 10, 2012 1:28 PM
    OMFG no 5760x1080 benchmarks again?!! ima have to go to hardware.info or something wow!
  • 3 Hide
    TheBigTroll , May 10, 2012 1:31 PM
    YAHHHHHHH!!! time to get one
  • 27 Hide
    iceman1992 , May 10, 2012 1:42 PM
    $400 is still too high for me... Waiting for something around $225
  • 26 Hide
    sayantan , May 10, 2012 1:45 PM
    Nice move nV , forcing AMD to drop their prices for entire lineup. A 7970 at $400 would be really awesome...
  • 27 Hide
    godfather666 , May 10, 2012 1:48 PM
    The list of games is very unfair to AMD cards. Techpowerup's review, which featured a much longer list of games, had the Radeon HD 7970 faster than the GTX 670 at all resolutions 1080p and higher.

    Nvidia has had a big lead in Dirt 3 and WoW for a very long time. This skews the results.

    The GTX 670 is a fantastic card, don't get me wrong. Just pointing out that it's being slightly overrated here.
  • 6 Hide
    Pezcore27 , May 10, 2012 1:53 PM
    Excellent review. I was waiting for this card to hit. Only a 4.5% difference between a 680 for almost 100 less? Yes please!

    I am not trying to sound bad, but AMD might have a real problem on their hands with this card as it is priced very competitively for what you get. Especially since it competes with AMD's flagship that's more expensive.
  • 6 Hide
    Maziar , May 10, 2012 1:54 PM
    Awesome review like always Chris,Well done :) 
  • 3 Hide
    spookyman , May 10, 2012 1:54 PM
    The question is will it be in stock or will it be a rarity like their other Kepler cards?
  • 12 Hide
    jabliese , May 10, 2012 1:58 PM
    @godfather666 Unless you happen to play WoW or Dirt 3.

    This is the price war you were looking for.
  • 12 Hide
    Reynod , May 10, 2012 2:10 PM
    Wait ... will we see any stock this year ... or are these going to be as rare as the 680 / 690 / 6xx ??

    The 6 series NVidia cards ... the ghost cards.

    All hype ... no stock.

    Nvidia are pumping out the reviews and advertorials ... mostly the latter I see across the web.

    This rollut must be costing them a fortune.

    I hope it's getting them sales in the old stock ... thats the point ... isn't it??
  • 4 Hide
    trumpeter1994 , May 10, 2012 2:12 PM
    Wasn't this card supposed to compete with the 7870 and 7950 lol? It's ripping both of them to shreds and manaing to hold its own against the 7970 in most cases....... AMD has got a serious problem on their hands now, because this thing looks like the next 8800gt or gtx 460
  • 0 Hide
    stingstang , May 10, 2012 2:12 PM
    Anyone else hear AMD's sphincter pucker up just now?
  • 8 Hide
    qwertymac93 , May 10, 2012 2:24 PM
    Wow, never thought I'd see a "Baby Got Back" reference on a GPU review.
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