Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 review
Nvidia's latest card brings Kepler to a lower price point with stunning results
Review Date: 28 May 2012
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £275 (£330 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Nvidia introduced its Kepler graphics cards with the barnstorming GTX 680 and the dual-GPU GTX 690, but what we really wanted was a more affordable option. The GeForce GTX 670 isn’t quite it at £330, but it’s another small step along the road to the mainstream.
It’s the same hardware as the GTX 680, but Nvidia has deactivated one of the streaming multiprocessors so that there are seven of the 192-processor-strong clusters rather than eight. That still makes for a formidable 1,344 stream processors, and Nvidia has retained the 3.4 billion transistors used to build the chip.
There are the expected steps down in other areas, but they’re not huge drops: the original 1,006MHz base clock has been reduced to 915MHz, and Nvidia's GPU Boost feature – which sees the core dynamically overclocked depending on load – is present, and can boost to a guaranteed maximum of 980MHz. There's still 2GB of GDDR5 RAM running at 6,008MHz, although unlike the GTX 680 there’s no 4GB version.
The GTX 670 proved itself an adept performer when lined up against the GTX 680 and the AMD Radeon HD 7970, both of which cost around £400. In our Very High quality, 1,920 x 1,080 Crysis test the GTX 670 scored 59fps, with the HD 7970 and GTX 680 9fps and 11fps faster respectively. Upping the resolution saw the gap close: at 2,560 x 1,600 the GTX 670 scored 39fps, only 3fps behind both of the more expensive cards.
It competed well with the AMD card in Crysis 2. At 1080p and the game's Ultra quality levels the GTX 670's 40fps average was 17fps behind the GTX 680 but 4fps faster than the Radeon, with the latter gap disappearing at 2,560 x 1,600.
The GTX 670 has the legs to play games at even higher resolutions, too – but only just. In Just Cause 2 and DiRT 3 it was playable at 5,760 x 1,080 – the resolution required to use Nvidia Surround across three screens – but we had to dial back the settings a notch to get a playable frame rate in Crysis: at Very High the GTX 670 averaged 25fps, becoming a playable 40fps when lowered to High quality.
Nvidia should be commended for cramming this much power into a dramatically smaller card. The 257mm GTX 680 has been traded for a 175mm PCB, with a plastic cooler adding another 65mm onto the end of the card. That's Nvidia's choice, and the surprisingly small PCB certainly leaves the door open for board partners to produce smaller cards.
It's a quiet, frugal card. Its temperature never rose above 80°C during our stress tests, and our test rig's peak power draw of 257W is lower than rivals – the same rig with an HD 7970 installed drew 394W, and the GTX 680 drew 303W.
The GeForce GTX 670 is as quick as the more expensive HD 7970 in several of our tests, and it does this while being small, quiet and power efficient. Its £330 price isn't cheap by any means, but it's the most palatable Kepler card yet, and it's proof that this architecture should continue to translate to even lower price points.
Author: Mike Jennings
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