GeForce GTX 670 2 GB Review: Is It Already Time To Forget GTX 680?

Not like it was ever really widely available anyway, right? The GeForce GTX 670 offers most of GK104's on-chip resources, doesn't give up much performance, and costs $100 less. Now, let's see if Nvidia can make enough of them to satisfy demand.

How’s this for perspective? Last generation, Nvidia’s dual-GPU flagship sold for somewhere around $700. Before that, the GeForce GTX 295 was a $500 board. If you want the pinnacle of graphics performance today, the GeForce GTX 690 will cost you at least $1000—more if your vendor of choice is marking it up, as many are right now.

It’s hard to have a straight-faced discussion about value with the prices of high-end graphics cards shooting off into space. But when Nvidia told me that it planned to sell its GeForce GTX 670 for $400, I was ready to get serious about the V-word.

Hello Again, GK104

Of course, an attractive price is only one variable in the equation that determines whether you want to buy something or not. Performance is another, as is availability (a more problematic factor for Nvidia as of late).

The natural question to ask becomes: how fast is GeForce GTX 670?

Benchmarks tell that tale. But specifications give us a good measure of what to expect. Nvidia’s newest card centers on the same GK104 GPU as the company's GeForce GTX 680. But whereas the 680’s graphics processor employed all eight of the chip's SMX clusters, the 670 utilizes seven. The eighth is disabled. Hardware-wise, everything else is the same.

That means GeForce GTX 670 weighs in with 1344 total CUDA cores (192 *7) and 112 texture units (16 * 7). It also ends up giving up a single PolyMorph engine, four warp schedulers, and eight dispatch units, though the overall effect of shutting down an SMX is intended to scale with the GPU’s other resources. We did run our usual tessellation scaling numbers, and found the GTX 670 just slightly worse-off than the GTX 680 before it.

GK104’s back-end remains intact, consisting of four ROP clusters that output eight 32-bit integer pixels per clock each, totaling 32. Similarly, four 64-bit memory controllers create a 256-bit aggregate interface.

Nvidia populates that bus with the same 2 GB of GDDR5 memory found on its GeForce GTX 680, even setting the same 1502 MHz frequency, yielding a 6008 MT/s data rate. To further differentiate the GeForce GTX 670 from the more expensive 680, Nvidia does drop the lower-end card’s core to a 915 MHz base, with the typical GPU Boost setting landing at 980 MHz.

As we’ll see, though, those moves don’t have as much cumulative effect as we might have suspected.

GeForce GTX 670
GeForce GTX 680
Radeon HD 7950
Radeon HD 7970
Texture Units
Full Color ROPs
Graphics Clock
915 MHz
1006 MHz
800 MHz
925 MHz
Texture Fillrate
102.5 Gtex/s
128.8 Gtex/s
89.6 Gtex/s
118.4 Gtex/s
Memory Clock
1502 MHz
1502 MHz
1250 MHz
1375 MHz
Memory Bus
Memory Bandwidth192.2 GB/s
192.3 GB/s
240 GB/s
264 GB/s
Graphics RAM
Die Size
294 mm2
294 mm2365 mm2
365 mm2
Transistors (Billion)
Process Technology
28 nm
28 nm
28 nm
28 nm
Power Connectors
2 x 6-pin
2 x 6-pin
2 x 6-pin
1 x 8-pin, 1 x 6-pin
Maximum Power
170 W
195 W
200 W
250 W
Price (Street)

Oh My God, Becky. Look At Her PCB.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 680 is 10” long. Both its PCB and its cooling shroud are that long. A nice, sturdy aluminum frame encircles the whole card, adding rigidity for a beefy vapor chamber and acoustically-optimized centrifugal fan.

The reference GeForce GTX 670, on the other hand, is 9.5” long. But its PCB only accounts for 6.75” of that. Nvidia claims that the 670’s scaled-back power requirements allowed it to move voltage regulation circuitry to the other (left) side of the GPU, which itself is rotated to purportedly improve signal integrity.

Nvidia uses the same fan found on the GeForce GTX 680, which we like because it exhausts all of the card’s heated air out the rear I/O panel. But it employs a cost-reduced heat sink. You’ll see in the power and noise benchmarks that the result is slightly louder, slightly warmer operation under load. However, the GTX 670 is only marginally less attractive in that regard.

Deactivating a single SMX and turning down the GeForce GTX 670’s core clock results in a typical board power of 141 W, according to Nvidia. That’s around 30 W less than the GeForce GTX 680, which bears a 170 W typical and 195 W maximum power rating. Since a 16-lane PCI Express slot only delivers 75 W of power, you still need two six-pin auxiliary connectors to drive the GTX 670. In the event that you forget to attach those leads, Nvidia added a pre-boot warning message to its Kepler-based cards instructing the end-user to plug them in.

The 670 offers the same four display outputs as Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 680: two dual-link DVI connectors (one DVI-I and one DVI-D), one full-sized HDMI output, and one full-sized DisplayPort connector. All four can be active simultaneously, partly addressing AMD’s Eyefinity technology, which we’ve seen enable up to six screens on one card.

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  • Running to buy it!
  • tecmo34
    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.
  • borden5
    amd price reduce 2.0 xD
  • master9716
    OMFG no 5760x1080 benchmarks again?!! ima have to go to or something wow!
  • TheBigTroll
    YAHHHHHHH!!! time to get one
  • gilgamex101
    "Dude.......seriously!? sure?.......wait wait, what about image fine.........awwww.......AWWWWWWW !@#$......!@#$.........!@#$ !^&* *&^%$#@!@.....and you !$%^*( peice of !@#$%............GREAT.......JUST BEAUTIFUL.....- AMD in response to 670 GTX reviews
  • iceman1992
    $400 is still too high for me... Waiting for something around $225
  • rglaredo
    I hate Nvidia and their supply and demand game is obvious that they are just holding off the cards to inflate the prices...I'm going with AMD ....because I'm tired of waiting ...I'm not going to wait anymore ..
  • sayantan
    Nice move nV , forcing AMD to drop their prices for entire lineup. A 7970 at $400 would be really awesome...
  • godfather666
    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.
  • trumpeter1994
    got it in the cart on tiger..... newegg might price gouge them like they did the 690
  • Pezcore27
    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.
  • Maziar
    Awesome review like always Chris,Well done :)
  • spookyman
    The question is will it be in stock or will it be a rarity like their other Kepler cards?
  • stingstang
    This card is digusting..
  • jabliese
    @godfather666 Unless you happen to play WoW or Dirt 3.

    This is the price war you were looking for.
  • Reynod
    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??
  • trumpeter1994
    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
  • stingstang
    Anyone else hear AMD's sphincter pucker up just now?
  • qwertymac93
    Wow, never thought I'd see a "Baby Got Back" reference on a GPU review.
  • aga the hunter dude
    borden5amd price reduce 2.0 xD

    why would they? all they'd have to do is boost up the stock clocks on 7950 and 7970 like what Nvidia did. People forget the monster overclocking headroom of the 7xxx cards
  • rmpumper
    Does that mean that the 670Ti (if they actually release one) will be faster than GTX680? In any case, what I want to see is ~7870-7950 performance for the price of 7850.
  • pedalbike
    The small performance difference from 680 to 670 makes it look even more like the current 680 was actually a 670ti
  • bardacuda
    Good review! Noticed a couple of confusing things though...not sure if it's the graphs that are wrong or the interpretations:

    In most applications, that was good enough to land the overclocked EVGA card in between its already-tweaked stock clocks and a GeForce GTX 680. In a couple of others, the overclock yielded better frame rates than a stock GeForce GTX 680, even.

    That chart shows it being between stock 670 and 680 in a couple applications, and ahead of the 680 in most.

    Then from the DiRT 3 charts:

    AMD and Nvidia trade blows again, as the GeForce GTX 670 shows best at 1680x1050, while the Radeon card is faster at 2560x1600.

    The charts clearly show the 670 winning at all 3 resolutions.