OC: Power, Temperature, & Noise

Our final task is our look at GTX 670’s overclocking capabilities. Based on what we’ve seen thus far with GTX 670, it looks like NVIDIA is binning chips based on functional units rather than clockspeeds. As a result GTX 670 could have quite a bit of overclocking potential, albeit one still limited by the lack of voltage control.

GeForce 600 Series Overclocking
  GTX 670 EVGA GTX 670SC GTX 680
Shipping Core Clock 915MHz 967MHz 1006MHz
Shipping Max Boost Clock 1084MHz 1188MHz 1110MHz
Shipping Memory Clock 6GHz 6GHz 6GHz
Shipping Max Boost Voltage 1.175v 1.162v 1.175v
       
Overclock Core Clock 1065MHz 1042MHz 1106MHz
Overclock Max Boost Clock 1234MHz 1263MHz 1210MHz
Overclock Memory Clock 6.9GHz 6.6GHz 6.5GHz
Overclock Max Boost Voltage 1.175v 1.162v 1.175v

Because of the wider gap between base clock and boost clock on the GTX 670 we see that it doesn’t overclock quite as far as GTX 680 from a base clock perspective, but from the perspective of the maximum boost clock we’ve slightly exceeded the GTX 680. Depending on where a game lands against NVIDIA’s power targets this can either mean that an overclocked GTX 670 is faster or slower than an overclocked GTX 680, but at the same time it means that overclocking potential is clearly there.

We’re also seeing another strong memory overclock out of a GK104 card here. GTX 680 only hit 6.5GHz while GTX 690 could hit 7GHz. GTX 670 is only a bit weaker at 6.9GHz, indicating that even with the relatively small PCB that NVIDIA can still exceed the high memory clocks they were shooting for. At the same time however this is a luck of the draw matter.

The EVGA card meanwhile fares both worse and better. Its gap between the base clock and and maximum boost clock is even larger than the reference GTX 670, leading to it having an even lower overclocked base clock but a higher overclocked maximum boost clock. The real limiting factor however is that it couldn’t reach a memory overclock quite as high as the reference GTX 670 – again, luck of the draw – which means it can’t match the overclocked reference GTX 670 as it’s going to be more memory bandwidth starved more often.

Moving on to our performance charts, we’re going to once again start with power, temperature, and noise, before moving on to gaming performance. We’ll be testing our GTX 670 cards at both stock clocks with the maximum power target of 122% (170W) to showcase what is possible at validated clockspeeds with a higher power cap, and a true overclock with a maximum power target along with the largest clock offsets we can achieve.

Not surprisingly, since we’re almost always operating within the realm of the power target as opposed to the TDP on the GTX 600 series, our power consumption closely follows our chosen power target. Cranking up the power target on the GTX 670 for example to 170W puts us within 6W of the GTX 680, which itself had a 170W power target in the first place. This is true for both Metro and OCCT, which means power consumption is very predictable when doing any kind of overclocking.

This also means that power consumption is still 18W-30W below the 7970, which in turn means that if these overclocks can close the performance gap, then the GTX 670 still has a power consumption advantage.

As to be expected, with an increase in power consumption comes an increase in load temperatures. However the fact that we’re only able to increase power consumption by about 30W means the temperature rise is limited to 4-5C, pushing temperatures into the low 80s. This does end up being warmer than the equivalent GTX 680 however due to the 680’s superior heatsink.

Finally, when it comes to noise we’re also seeing the expected increase, but again it’s rather small. Under Metro the amount of noise from the reference GTX 670 rises by under 3dB when pushing the power target higher on its own, while it rises 3dB when adding in our full overclock. Again the smaller cooler means that the GTX 670’s fan has to work harder here, which means our gaming performance may be able to reach the GTX 680, but our noise is going to slightly exceed it. As a point of reference, in the process we’ll also exceed the GTX 580’s noise levels under Metro. Still, in both OCCT and Metro none of our GTX 670 cards exceed the Radeon HD 7900 series, which means we've managed to increase our performance relative to those cards without breaching the level of noise they generate in the first place.

Power, Temperature, & Noise OC: Gaming Performance
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  • Spunjji - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Sick burn ;D Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Why would AMD fans be sad?
    AMD enjoyed a multi-months lead in performance, over-charging for their cards that had, substantially, no competitions at their price levels.
    Now NVIDIA made a move, and it's a very good one: AMD will need to drop the prices and I see really no reason why they couldn't, as they have just a marginally larger die size (300mm2 vs 365mm2) on the same fab/technology.

    Price drop is always a win for the customers, be that an Nvidia or an AMD fanboy (or just an enthusiast).
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    That's right. With some more pressure and HD7950 at 300€ GCN may actually start to become a real option! Saying this as a Cayman owning AMD-preferer. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    It's not like the 7970 is a bad card, it's somewhat slower at games, has more ram, is much faster at gpu compute, and is still a relatively low power offering.

    There's always something better just around the corner. Buy what's best when you need it, and be happy about it :-). Give it 6 months to a year and there will be something better than the 670 as well.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    If the 7970 is much faster at gpu compute, why did it lose 3 of 5 compute benchmarks in this review ?
    Hmm... loser but better, loser but better...

    Also amd power loser but "still relatively a low power offering", loser but relatively a winner, loses but it's a winner anyway...

    I've got it ! The loser is better and wins !
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    Seriously dude. I MIGHT could give you the first point, if it wasn't riddled full of biased.

    But the second point doesn't even make sense.

    "Also amd power loser but "still relatively a low power offering", loser but relatively a winner, loses but it's a winner anyway..."

    Now you're just throwing words in his mouth he didn't even use. What a fail!

    GTX680 owner speaking.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    " and is still a relatively low power offering." (his words I responded to)

    Okay, maybe I went overboard.

    On the other hand, we haven't heard this going the other way at all, and the 7970's loss in the power envelope is loss of a reason to buy an amd card.

    Relatively, it's a high power offering, we are after all comparing the two brands, and it's high power usage allows the claims for victory in compute (even when the software base does not).
    Reply
  • Galidou - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    ''Okay, maybe I went overboard.''

    You do that all day long going overboard...
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    You do nothing but lie and attack, so you have zero room to talk. Reply
  • Galidou - Monday, May 14, 2012 - link

    And I am the one who attack, I attack but not you? LOL you're so fun, don'T make me copy and paste every word lack of respect the abuse of words such as massive ignorance, stupid, everyone lies but not you... and everyone lacks of respect but not you... OMG that's extreme Reply

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