Seven GeForce GTX 670 Cards, Compared
Nvidia's GeForce GTX 670 made quite a splash when it launched. The title of our first look at the card summed everything up pretty well: GeForce GTX 670 2 GB Review: Is It Already Time To Forget GTX 680? The GTX 670 performed only a few percent under the single-GPU flagship, and yet it bore a price tag $100 lower, landing at $400 (a sweet spot for performance enthusiasts, we'd say).
Although the reference design emerged first, Nvidia's add-in board partners have already flooded the market with custom-cooled, overclocked, value-added interpretations of what a GeForce GTX 670 should be. Naturally, we wanted to know which one is the best.
To that end, we held a seven-way shootout between them (in keeping with the cowboy-themed picture, of course). But as you'll see during the course of this story, all seven cards are left standing at the end of our tale. Some came away with more scratches than the others, but with a strong foundation at the heart of each, it would have been difficult for any of these cards to outright fail.
Logistics prevented us from taking an obligatory group photo, unfortunately. As The Last of the Mohicans arrived in our lab, the first scout had already returned to its maker. That didn't matter for testing, though, since we adhere to strict protocols for benchmarking, sticking to a constant driver build and the same test rig. As a result, all seven GeForce GTX 670-based boards were evaluated under ideal conditions.
As you saw in Radeon HD 7950 3 GB: Six Cards, Benchmarked And Reviewed, we are again putting a lot of emphasis on comparing the acoustic characteristics of each card under load. We've decided that merely measuring and plotting the A-weighted decibel level or sone reading doesn't paint the whole picture of a given card's sound profile. After all, the way sound is experienced can vary widely from person to person.
This time around, we also tested cooling performance twice: once at factory settings, and once with all cards set to an identical clock frequency. In addition, we tried to find a compact and reasonably-priced card that can be overclocked, but still stays cool and quiet.
We ended up liking all of the cards so much that three of them ended up earning awards by becoming the top answers to the following questions:
• Which card offers the best graphics performance?
• Which card sports the best cooling performance at the lowest noise?
• Which card is the best, all-around?
Ready to see how six vendors differentiate themselves from Nvidia's reference effort?