GeForce GTX 680, Part 2: SLI, 5760x1080, And Overclocking

Testing With EVGA’s GeForce GTX 680 2 GB

EVGA’s home page lists 11 different GeForce GTX 680 models, which range from a reference-class GTX 680 to a water-cooled GTX 680 Hydro Copper Classified that doesn’t even have finalized specifications.

The company’s most highly-tuned SKUs aren’t yet available. And although we’re looking forward to seeing what EVGA does when it’s able to put a little time into tweaking GeForce GTX 680, it sent us a card running at the same frequencies and armed with the same amount of memory as Nvidia’s press samples.

But that’s exactly what we needed for an ideally-matched SLI-capable setup, so it works out perfectly! As a result, we have two GeForce GTX 680s with 1006 MHz base clocks and cited 1058 MHz boost frequencies (though we know that number is very highly variable). Two gigabytes of memory on each board operates at 1502 MHz. And, for the time being, given an unvalidated X79 Express-based platform, both two cards transfer data over the PCI Express at second-gen rates.

EVGA’s bundle includes a user’s guide, some decals, a massive weapon-laden poster, a pair of four-pin Molex to six-pin auxiliary adapters, and a DVI-to-VGA converter.

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  • cangelini
    weatherdudeYou know, I'm starting to wonder what the Tom's Hardware labs are like. I hope it has something to keep the staff sane as they run tests over and over again.Anyways, looks like the competition in the GPU world is going strong right now. To me both the GTX 680 and Radeon 7970 are fine pieces of work. The general compute performance of Tahiti is really really good though so will AMD really reduce the prices significantly below the GTX 680?Great review as usual. All your hard work is appreciated.

    If ever you're in Bakersfield, CA, you're welcome to drop by and check the lab out. It's like a gamer candy store, literally stacked with graphics cards higher than I can reach!
    29
  • weatherdude
    You know, I'm starting to wonder what the Tom's Hardware labs are like. I hope it has something to keep the staff sane as they run tests over and over again.

    Anyways, looks like the competition in the GPU world is going strong right now. To me both the GTX 680 and Radeon 7970 are fine pieces of work. The general compute performance of Tahiti is really really good though so will AMD really reduce the prices significantly below the GTX 680?

    Great review as usual. All your hard work is appreciated.
    25
  • bystander
    tacoslaveamds driver team needs to get off its ass i mean look at those crossfire results thats downright pitiful .

    What is wrong with their crossfire performance?

    You do have to look at the high resolution benchmarks to see actual crossfire results, as 1080p benchmarks are being bottlenecked by the CPU.
    20
  • Other Comments
  • tacoslave
    amds driver team needs to get off its ass i mean look at those crossfire results thats downright pitiful .
    -17
  • bystander
    tacoslaveamds driver team needs to get off its ass i mean look at those crossfire results thats downright pitiful .

    What is wrong with their crossfire performance?

    You do have to look at the high resolution benchmarks to see actual crossfire results, as 1080p benchmarks are being bottlenecked by the CPU.
    20
  • I am a PC
    It is quite clear that the Radeons are more powerful but that once again the Nvidia favoring benchmark suite once again favors Nvidia.
    -27
  • Anonymous
    Would like to see CUDA compute instead of openCL stuff. Something like Blender/Cycles benchmark.
    6
  • cangelini
    I am a PCIt is quite clear that the Radeons are more powerful but that once again the Nvidia favoring benchmark suite once again favors Nvidia.

    If you were to hand-pick a suite to favor AMD, what would it include? :) You did notice the Radeons doing really well in Battlefield and Metro, right?
    18
  • cangelini
    AgonothetaWould like to see CUDA compute instead of openCL stuff. Something like Blender/Cycles benchmark.

    Our Blender test is being working on right now--currently we're only utilizing the Tiles/Cycles engines for CPU reviews.
    7
  • Anonymous
    My MSI 7870 came with Catalyst 12.3, so why use 12.2 if 12.3 is out there?
    8
  • weatherdude
    You know, I'm starting to wonder what the Tom's Hardware labs are like. I hope it has something to keep the staff sane as they run tests over and over again.

    Anyways, looks like the competition in the GPU world is going strong right now. To me both the GTX 680 and Radeon 7970 are fine pieces of work. The general compute performance of Tahiti is really really good though so will AMD really reduce the prices significantly below the GTX 680?

    Great review as usual. All your hard work is appreciated.
    25
  • cangelini
    sniper13xMy MSI 7870 came with Catalyst 12.3, so why use 12.2 if 12.3 is out there?

    Because it's not?
    14
  • cangelini
    weatherdudeYou know, I'm starting to wonder what the Tom's Hardware labs are like. I hope it has something to keep the staff sane as they run tests over and over again.Anyways, looks like the competition in the GPU world is going strong right now. To me both the GTX 680 and Radeon 7970 are fine pieces of work. The general compute performance of Tahiti is really really good though so will AMD really reduce the prices significantly below the GTX 680?Great review as usual. All your hard work is appreciated.

    If ever you're in Bakersfield, CA, you're welcome to drop by and check the lab out. It's like a gamer candy store, literally stacked with graphics cards higher than I can reach!
    29
  • noobalert
    Thanks for the Review, its been good reading! I can't wait for my new z77 ivy Bridge build. Now trying to hold off on getting cards is going to be tough.

    Next I want to see how the Dual GPU's from nVIDIA, & AMD fair, And see how long the Non-reference cards take to come out.

    Would love to see a 3D - 5760x1080 shootout with 2/3/4 7970's, and GTX 680's setups in the meantime.
    12
  • master9716
    You made My day , 2 Reviews in 1 DAY!! WOW! I was waiting for this , I will probably go with Nvidia now since I was hopping they would release a card that can do 4k resolution on a single display for when I buy my SHARP 70" 4k tv. unless Amd comes out with a driver for 4k and lowers their price.
    4
  • masterofevil22
    Nvidia MAX'd their new card out of the gate and AMD left theirs woefully underclocked...wtf are these two companies doing? Trying to create confusion?? OC'd 7970 ftw..
    2
  • Energy96
    Would have been nice to see how 580's in SLI compare to 680's in SLI. Afterall most people who would buy 2 680's likely already have 2 580's and would like to know if the upgrade is worth it or not.
    19
  • Anonymous
    I just want, the price of this come down
    3
  • baracubra
    Again I really enjoyed this read over yesterday's review. It would have been nice to see percent performance scaling charts for SLI, but I guess if anyone desperately wanted them they could calculate themselves..

    Other than that great job, now just waiting for IB to drop. By then availability should be well sorted out..
    11
  • sohei
    so at clock per clock is a draw?
    so guys buy what you want both cards are great, nvidia is a bit faster 7% average in gaming
    my conclusion is this. at gaming both cards are great
    at compute amd is better
    at power consumption Nvidia

    personaly i like 7970 is far better build with quality components
    in my country gtx 680 is more expensive so reality is different in prices...on paper nvidia is cheaper but ....
    1
  • EzioAs
    I'd say both cards are in the same tier, unlike the difference between the 580 and 6970. The 7970 benefits more from overclocking and if crossfire scales well, 2 7970s performs equal to 2 680, although AMD really needs to work on the driver more as we see only a few games where it scales rally well. Pricing on the 7970 will have to drop although I hope to see less than $475 recommended in the article.

    Power issue isn't really a concern either as we've never seen any cards in the past delivering a great performance while consuming really low power. It doesn't rally matter that much whether one of them is more power efficient than the other because both of them are really power efficient cards. I'd say once the price drops, the 7970 and 680 will both be recommended cards, it all comes down to the buyer's choice and budget.

    Great article to answer all reader's feedback. Good job!
    7
  • mayankleoboy1
    thanks for the reviews Chris ! :)

    just like to add that in the mediaespresso test, i would have like to see a SB 2500K/2600K for a reference. just to compare how the NVenc compares to the QuickSync engine.
    6
  • mayankleoboy1
    its a shame that AMD has not yet got its drivers working right, with VEC and the other stuff still not ready for use...
    2