Seven Solid GeForce GTX 670s, But Three Stand Out
A Good Foundation Means There Are No Losers
If you are a gaming enthusiast shopping for a GeForce GTX 670, even a reference card is a good choice. Despite its plain-Jane looks, Nvidia's implementation is well-built, fast, and easy on the ears. At the end of the day, each of the non-reference designs we tested had certain advantages and disadvantages. But they all cranked out solid performance.
The four cards pictured above, from Gainward, Palit, Galaxy, and Nvidia itself, are good. They have their own idiosyncrasies, but they're still GeForce GTX 670s.
Three other models do, however, stand out.
The Quietest GeForce GTX 670: Asus GTX670-DC2T-2GD5
If acoustics are high on your priority list, you're going to like the Asus card. Not only is it a well-built and quiet, but it also boasts the second-highest factory overclock. The new DirectCU II cooler shrank during its redesign for this card, but its performance is still excellent.
Galaxy/KFA²'s card is also quiet, but it didn't win because of its high temperatures under load and annoying coil chirping. That's almost certainly a flaw in our sample, though, and we'll retest when we receive a replacement.
It's important to add that, this time around, a dual-slot card proved to be the quietest, while triple-slot models made more noise. Wow.
The Fastest GeForce GTX 670: Zotac ZT-60302-10P
Thick, cool, and brutal. Those are the three attributes that came to mind when looking at and using Zotac's card. This heavy, bulky board boasts excellent cooling performance. However, its acoustics are as noticeable as its physical looks. Maybe its fans could spin slightly slower, since the beefy cooler seems to have plenty of potential left over, based on our temperature measurements.
Performance-wise, this card nips at the heels of GeForce GTX 680 cards for less money (and it might even be more widely available). Its high memory clock enables excellent bandwidth. But we wonder about the decision to use only two six-pin power connectors. In our torture test it draws 215 W, which doesn't leave a lot of room for additional overclocking through higher voltages.
All-Around Best GeForce GTX 670: Gigabyte N670OC-2GD
Gigabyte's card is quiet at idle and not too loud under load. Its cooling performance at idle, during normal desktop work, and during gaming is even better than Asus' card. It ties Zotac's effort for the lowest temperature at idle, but achieves its goal at a mere 20% fan duty cycle. When we configured it to cool our card down to 70°C, its sound level was still acceptable.
This is the slimmest card in our test, it weighs the least, and is even suitable for SLI configurations on motherboards with a just a single-slot gap between 16-lane interfaces. Unfortunately, that's pretty common. Although the N670OC-2GD doesn't include the highest overclock, it's currently selling online at the same $400 price point as completely stock reference cards. And that's with the Windforce 3X cooler. That combination cannot be beat.
This seems to be saying the same thing twice. Error, or am I missing something?
Sorry, but at this time (and 4 weeks later too) MSI was unable to deliver one of this cards. When MSI starts so late with this cards, then this is not our fault. ;)