The GeForce GTX 770 Review: Calling In A Hit On Radeon HD 7970?

Test Setup And Benchmarks

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Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge) 3.5 GHz at 4.0 GHz (40 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardGigabyte Z77X-UD5H (LGA 1155) Z77 Express Chipset, BIOS F15q
MemoryG.Skill 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL @ 9-9-9-24 and 1.5 V
Hard DriveCrucial m4 SSD 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 770 2 GB
Row 5 - Cell 0 Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3 GB
Row 6 - Cell 0 Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB
Row 7 - Cell 0 Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4 GB
Row 8 - Cell 0 Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 2 GB
Row 9 - Cell 0 Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB
Row 10 - Cell 0 AMD Radeon HD 7990 6 GB
Row 11 - Cell 0 AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3 GB
Power SupplyCooler Master UCP-1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 8 Professional 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 13.5 (Beta 2)
Row 17 - Cell 0 Nvidia GeForce Release 320.00
Row 18 - Cell 0 Nvidia GeForce Release 320.18 (for GeForce GTX 770 and 780)

Getting Frame Time Variance Right

Astute readers will notice that the numbers on the following page (and those thereafter) are quite a bit more conservative than the same page in my Radeon HD 7990 review, and there is a reason for this. We were previously reporting the raw and real-world frame rates, and then showing you the frame time variance data with runt and dropped frames still included. The thing is, if that’s not what you experience, it isn’t fair to then point to the raw frame time latencies and hammer AMD on them.

This is why we’re now giving you the more practical frame rates over time, along with frame rate variance numbers that match. The outcome is far less exaggerated, though still very telling in terms of the games where AMD struggles.

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Benchmarks And Settings
Battlefield 3Ultra Quality Preset, v-sync off, 2560x1440, DirectX 11, Going Hunting, 90-Second playback, FCAT
Far Cry 3Ultra Quality Preset, DirectX 11, v-sync off, 2560x1440, Custom Run-Through, 50-Second playback, FCAT
Borderlands 2Highest-Quality Settings, PhysX Low, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, 2560x1440, Custom Run-Through, FCAT
Hitman: AbsolutionUltra Quality Preset, MSAA Off, 2560x1440, Built-In Benchmark Sequence, FCAT
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUltra Quality Preset, FXAA Enabled, 2560x1440, Custom Run-Through, 25-Second playback, FCAT
BioShock InfiniteUltra Quality Settings, DirectX 11, Diffusion Depth of Field, 2560x1440, Built-in Benchmark Sequence, FCAT
Crysis 3Very High System Spec, MSAA: Low (2x), High Texture Resolution, 2560x1440, Custom Run-Through, 60-Second Sequence, FCAT
Tomb RaiderUltimate Quality Preset, FXAA Enabled, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, TressFX Hair, 2560x1440, Custom Run-Through, 45-Second Sequence, FCAT
Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • jessterman21
    Amazing - this oughtta shake up the market!
  • GMPoisoN
    CF 7970s > All
  • EzioAs
    Thanks for the article.

    Kind of an expected performance increase. Seeing overclocked GTX 680 review was conclusive enough unless you've never seen one. Never expected this card to be getting the Smart Buy award though to be completely honest.

    Hey, how about another title for the review?
    - GTX 680 Gets a New Cooler, BIOS Update and Price Drop! -

    No? I'll think of a better one...
  • CarolKarine
    the fact that every single site is comparing nvidia's next-gen stuff with AMD's current gen stuff kinda sickens me. don't start throwing around "Nvidia's got this gen in the bag" till we see what AMD comes up with. they've had what, 1 1/2, 2 years? I'm hoping for GCN 2 and a die shrink on a new architecture.
  • Memnarchon
    EzioAsNever expected this card to be getting the Smart Buy award though to be completely honest.Better power consumption than 7970GE.
    Less noise than 7970GE.
    Runs cooler than 7970GE.
    Same FPS as 7970GE.
    $50 less cost.

    Yeah indeed, why to get the Smart Buy award I wonder...
  • Novuake
    That is some aggressive pricing right there! LOL
  • rmpumper
    Finally, a card that will drop the prices of hd7000 and gtx600 GPUs.
  • tlg
    Well in the UK the GTX770 is still more expensive than the HD7970.
  • GMPoisoN
    10884687 said:
    When you factor in the 4 games that come with the HD7970 GHz Edition, it is still cheaper than the GTX 770. I find it odd that nVidia had over a year to come up with something to beat AMD in single GPU performance at this price point but failed to deliver.

    Yes, there is a bit of power savings. Yes, multi-GPU performance is better. But, that is nothing new. I also wouldn't expect future drivers to deliver much in the way of performance improvements since this card is essentially a GTX 680 v2.

    Ultimately, I expected more from nVidia. Yes, this is a polished card out of the gate. But I'm not sure the release of this card will affect AMDs bottom line as things currently stand, performance wise.

    Agreed. Sapphire 7970 Ghz ftw <3
  • SiliconWars
    None of Nvidia's partners are using the reference cooler so this is just a scam to get better turbo clock speeds and good scores on quiet and cool operation. You've been had Chris and now you've spread Nvidia's lies to your readership.