Final Words

Looking at this data I’m reminded a great deal of the Radeon HD 6900 series launch. AMD launched the 6900 series after the GTX 500 series, but launch order aside the end result was very similar. NVIDIA’s second tier GTX 570 and AMD’s first tier Radeon HD 6970 were tied on average but were anything but equals. This is almost exactly what we’re seeing with the GTX 670 and the Radeon HD 7970.

Depending on the game and resolution we’re looking at the GTX 670 reaches anywhere between 80% and 120% of the 7970’s performance. AMD sails by the GTX 670 in Crysis and to a lesser extent Metro, only for the GTX 670 to shoot ahead in BF3 and Portal 2 (w/SSAA). Officially NVIDIA’s positioning on the GTX 670 is that it’s to go against the 7950 and not the 7970, and that’s a wise move on NVIDIA’s behalf; but the GTX 670 is surely nipping at the 7970’s heels.

With that said, there are a couple of differences from the 6900 series launch which are equally important. The first is that unlike last time the GTX 670 and Radeon HD 7970 are not equally priced. At MSRP the GTX 670 is $80 cheaper, while at cheapest retail it’s closer to $60. The second difference is that this time the competing cards are not nearly as close in power consumption or noise, and thanks to GK104 NVIDIA has a notable advantage there.

Much like the GTX 570 and the Radeon HD 6970, if you’re in the market for cards at these performance levels you need to take a look at both cards and see what kind of performance each card gets on the games you want to play. From our results the GTX 670 is doing better at contemporary games and is cheaper to boot, but the Radeon HD 7970 can hold its own here at multi-monitor resolutions and games like Crysis or Metro. Or for that matter it can still run circles around the GTX 670 in GK104's real weakness: compute tasks

On the other hand if you’re buying a gaming card on price then this isn’t a contest. For the Radeon HD 7950 this is the GTX 680 all over again. NVIDIA can’t quite beat the 7950 in every game (e.g. Crysis), but when it loses it’s close, and when it wins it’s 15%, 25%, even 50% faster. At the same time gaming power consumption is also lower as is noise. As it stands the worst case scenario for the GTX 670 is that it performs like a 7950 while the best case scenario is that it performs like a 7970. And it does this priced like a 7950, which means that something is going to have to give the moment NVIDIA’s product supply is no longer in question.

Outside of the obligatory AMD matchup, interestingly enough NVIDIA has put themselves in harm’s way here in the process. At 2560x1600 the GTX 680 only beats the GTX 670 by 7% on average. NVIDIA has always charged a premium for their top card but the performance gap has also been greater. In games that aren’t shader bound the GTX 670 does very well for itself thanks to the fact that it has equal memory bandwidth and only a slight ROP performance deficit, which means the GTX 680 is only particularly strong in Metro, Portal 2, and DiRT 3. The 7% performance lead certainly doesn’t justify the 25% price difference, and if you will give up that performance NVIDIA will shave $100 off of the price of a card, but if you do want that top performance NVIDIA intends to make you pay for it. Of course this is also why the GTX 670 is only priced $100 cheaper rather than $150. Potential buyers looking for a $350 GK104 card are going to be left out in the cold for now, particularly buyers looking for a meaningful GTX 570 upgrade.

Finally, the nature of NVIDIA’s power target technology has put partners like EVGA in an odd place. Even with a moderate 6%+ factory overclock the GTX 670 Superclocked just isn’t all that much faster than the reference GTX 670, averaging only a 3% gain at 2560. Since the GTX 670 virtually always operates above its base clock the culprit is NVIDIA’s power target, which keeps the GTX 670SC from boosting much higher than our reference GTX 670. Once you increase the power target the GTX 670SC can easily make an interesting niche for itself, but while this isn’t true overclocking it isn’t stock performance either. In any case it’s clear that for factory overclocked cards to really push the limit they’re going to need to go fully custom, which is what a number of partners are going to do in the coming months.

OC: Gaming Performance
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  • Spunjji - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Thank you for being a voice of sanity in an otherwise brutally argumentative and deeply sad comments section. +1 to you. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    "Voice of sanity" your amd fanboy friend, got the 43% larger amd wafer die size "cost drop not a problem" a bit overlooked, not to mention the 3 added free games additional cost.

    Is it a voice of reason to claim the largest base cost of the card at 43% greater is no problem since the "dies" are "about the same size" ?
    ROFL... tsk tsk.
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    Its 43% greater now.

    Also you seem to forget the 7970 wins in 5 out of 10 of Anandtechs benchmarks.

    Since you're going to argue this with me I'll put it out right now.

    Crysis AMD
    Metro AMD
    Dirt 3 ( on the MOST Intensive test 5760x1200 min frames) Tied, but to me min frames is more important so I'd rather have AMD in that situation.

    Now you can argue , But NVidia wins on the other res's But since this is the ONLY time it even gets below 60 this is the ONLY test that it really makes a difference.

    ShoGun, AMD, big time, ya nvidia wins when FPS is over 100, but AMD wins by a lot when FPS is at a premium. With a driver fix I'm sure it will be a lot closer.

    Batman, Basically a tie, yea Nvidia takes it but C'mon, 1 fps when it matters most. My guess is if they added 4x aa to the 3 screen mode AMD would take it.

    Portal 2 Nvidia kills AMD, esp. in the high res, because that's where fps are low enough that the diff matters.

    Battlefield 3 Nvidia kills amd again. and again when FPS matters.

    SC2, Nvidia is faster. FPS is so high it doesn't matter But AMD is catching up fast and with the 5760res I wonder if AMD wouldn't' win. and by then FPS might actually matter.

    Skyrim, same as SC2, AMD is catching up fast at the higher resolution, if it keeps going AMD might come out ahead where FPS is low enough that the difference matters.

    Civ 5, tie. With the trend the Nvidia might be better at higher res here.

    Portal 2 and BF3 are the to situation in Anands testing suit where Nvidia is MUCH better.

    But other than that FPS either doesn't matter or AMD is winning when FPS is low enough that the difference matters.

    As far as future games, we have NO idea what card might be better, but AMD does seem to have more raw power, and has more ram.

    In compute AMD won 2 , loses one by like 7% and then actually loses one by a lot. Of course it doesn't have a cuda score so how to you count that as a loss, that's stupid.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    You make excuses across the board for the amd card, and nVidia's card is a smoother experience anyway if you want to glom onto min frames - and we haven't even used things like adaptive v-sync (better min frame rates for nVidia), nor did you figure in the enormous drivers difference.

    It's just such a huge gap when everything is considered it's beyond ridiculous to go for the amd card, as this amd favoring reviewer even admits.

    Have your favorite brand, but you've got stretch and spin to justify it.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    I could just really stop answering you if that wasn't for the fact you're being so much disrespectful. I have a little problem with people lacking of respect, I have to let them know they are, even more when they do not think they are lacking respect... Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    You have never answered anything late comer troll Galidou, you're a pure 100% trolling personal attacker right now fella in all your posts so far. You have said absolutely nothing, so it is clear you should have never posted. Reply
  • Galidou - Monday, May 14, 2012 - link

    I'm not attacking your person, just the way you throw your arguments at people calling them names like they are pure ignorant worthless living zombies... it just feels that way... Reply
  • Gastec - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    "You make excuses across the board for the amd card, and nVidia's card is a smoother experience[..] - and we haven't even used things like..."
    We? WE?? YOU are from NVIDIA???? And you post here and admit it? I think you can get fired for doing this.
    Or maybe you are not from nVidia but because you use a nVidia card you, for some very disturbing reason, feel like you are part of the company?
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Okay, first of all substantial competition is the GTX590 and the 6990, that both still beat the overpriced amd lost 3 and only won 2 compute benchmarks in that 2.5+ month evil amd price scalping period before the massive smack down the nVidia 680 delivered.
    Now nVidia made a third move, the 670, not the initial move as you spoke about it, and this third move is another massive smackdown on the already smacked down by the 680 failing and utterly depleted value 7970 has to endure.
    Nice try pretending the 1st smack down just occurred, but once again, what else to expect from an amd fanboy, and also clearly why another amd fanboy immediately thanked you a perfectly leveled headed post. LOL

    Now onto your other ridiculous spew, based on facts not twisted perceptions.
    You note the die sizes of the competing products, and conclude by stupid first look there is no reason amd cannot drop it's price (again) - you avoid the again, twice - (once for $$$(yes 3 figures), twice for 3 games added, now a 3rd time coming ) - but whatever, let's take your die size non chalant info and do our little math amd fanboys now desperately want to avoid.

    300mm sq. nVidia vs 365mm sq Amd - doesn't look so bad does it ?

    Unfortunately, the Amd die is well over 40% LARGER :)

    Sorry about that amd fanboy brainfart .... you forgot to multiply for AREA, hence size/cost of the wafer....

    300x300 vs 365x365

    90,000 nVidia wafer area vs 133,225 huge 43% + more amd wafer cost.

    So let's get this straight - do you still not really see a problem ?

    yankeeDDL > " 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. "

    So 43% plus more base cost, no problem going a hundred bucks + games costs less... ?

    R O F L

    Thank you, as the amd fanboy said, for being such a clear thinking person with a calm and fair mind... (rolls eyes)
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    Its hard to say the 680 was a smack down when most people couldn't even get the card..

    You seem to be angered by the 7970. I agree that it was not a good deal. But its not a bad card either.
    Reply

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