In a typical high-end GPU launch we’ll see the process take place in phases over a couple of months if not longer. The new GPU will be launched in the form of one or two single-GPU cards, with additional cards coming to market in the following months and culminating in the launch of a dual-GPU behemoth. This is the typical process as it allows manufacturers and board partners time to increase production, stockpile chips, and work on custom designs.

But this year things aren’t so typical. GK104 wasn’t the typical high-end GPU from NVIDIA, and neither it seems is there anything typical about its launch.

NVIDIA has not been wasting any time in getting their complete GK104 based product lineup out the door. Just 6 weeks after the launch of the GeForce GTX 680, NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 690, their dual-GK104 monster. Now only a week after that NVIDIA is at it again, launching the GK104 based GeForce GTX 670 this morning.

Like its predecessors, GTX 670 will fill in the obligatory role as a cheaper, slower, and less power-hungry version of NVIDIA’s leading video card. This is a process that allows NVIDIA to not only put otherwise underperforming GPUs to use, but to satisfy buyers at lower price points at the same time. Throughout this entire process the trick to successfully launching any second-tier card is to try to balance performance, prices, and yields, and as we’ll see NVIDIA has managed to turn all of the knobs just right to launch a very strong product.

  GTX 680 GTX 670 GTX 580 GTX 570
Stream Processors 1536 1344 512 480
Texture Units 128 112 64 60
ROPs 32 32 48 40
Core Clock 1006MHz 915MHz 772MHz 732MHz
Shader Clock N/A N/A 1544MHz 1464MHz
Boost Clock 1058MHz 980MHz N/A N/A
Memory Clock 6.008GHz GDDR5 6.008GHz GDDR5 4.008GHz GDDR5 3.8GHz GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 384-bit 320-bit
VRAM 2GB 2GB 1.5GB 1.25GB
FP64 1/24 FP32 1/24 FP32 1/8 FP32 1/8 FP32
TDP 195W 170W 244W 219W
Transistor Count 3.5B 3.5B 3B 3B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Launch Price $499 $399 $499 $349

Like GeForce GTX 680, GeForce GTX 670 is based on NVIDIA’s GK104 GPU. So we’re looking at the same Kepler design and the same Kepler features, just at a lower level of performance. As always the difference is that since this is a second-tier card, NVIDIA is achieving that by harvesting otherwise defective GPUs.

In a very unusual move for NVIDIA, for GTX 670 they’re disabling one of the eight SMXes on GK104 and lowering the core clock a bit, and that’s it. GTX 670 will ship with 7 active SMXes, all 32 of GK104’s ROPs, and all 4 GDDR5 memory controllers. Typically we’d see NVIDIA hit every aspect of the GPU at once in order to create a larger performance gap and to maximize the number of GPUs they can harvest – such as with the GTX 570 and its 15 SMs & 40 ROPs – but not in this case.

Meanwhile clockspeeds turn out to be equally interesting. Officially, both the base clock and the boost clock are a fair bit lower than GTX 680. GTX 670 will ship at 915MHz for the base clock and 980MHz for the boost clock, which is 91MHz (9%) and 78MHz (7%) lower than the GTX 680 respectively. However as we’ve seen with GTX 680 GK104 will spend most of its time boosting and not necessarily just at the official boost clock. Taken altogether, depending on the game and the specific GPU GTX 670 has the capability to boost within 40MHz or so of GTX 680, or about 3.5% of the clockspeed of its more powerful sibling.

As for the memory subsystem, like the ROPs they have not been touched at all. GTX 670 will ship at the same 6.008GHz memory clockspeed of GTX 680 with the same 256-bit memory bus, giving it the same 192GB/sec of memory bandwidth. This is particularly interesting as NVIDIA has always turned down their memory clocks in the past, and typically taken out a memory controller/ROP combination in the past. Given that GK104 is an xx4 GPU rather than a full successor to GF110 and its 48 ROPs, it would seem that NVIDIA is concerned about their ROP and memory performance and will not sacrifice performance there for GTX 670.

Taken altogether, this means at base clocks GTX 670 has 100% of the memory bandwidth, 91% of the ROP performance, and 80% of the shader performance of GTX 680. This puts GTX 670’s specs notably closer to GTX 680 than GTX 570 was to GTX 580, or GTX 470 before it. In order words the GTX 670 won’t trail the GTX 680 by as much as the GTX 570 trailed the GTX 580 – or conversely the GTX 680 won’t have quite the same lead as the GTX 580 did.

As for power consumption, the gap between the two is going to be about the same as we saw between the GTX 580 and GTX 570. The official TDP of the GT 670 is 170W, 25W lower than the GTX 680. Unofficially, NVIDIA’s GPU Boost power target for GTX 670 is 141W, 29W lower than the GTX 680. Thus like the GTX 680 the GTX 670 has the lowest TDP for a part of its class that we’ve seen out of NVIDIA in quite some time.

Moving on, unlike the GTX 680 launch NVIDIA is letting their partners customize right off the bat. GTX 670 will launch with a mix of reference, semi-custom, and fully custom designs with a range of coolers, clockspeeds, and prices. There are a number of cards to cover over the coming weeks, but today we’ll be looking at EVGA’s GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked alongside our reference GTX 670.

As we’ve typically seen in the past, custom cards tend to appear when GPU manufacturers and their board partners feel more comfortable about GPU availability and this launch is no different. The GTX 670 launch is being helped by the fact that NVIDIA has had an additional 7 weeks to collect suitable GPUs compared to the GTX 680 launch, on top of the fact that these are harvested GPUs. With that said NVIDIA is still in the same situation they were in last week with the launch of the GTX 690: they already can’t keep GK104 in stock.

Due to binning GTX 670 isn’t drawn from GTX 680 inventory, so it’s not a matter of these parts coming out of the same pool, but realistically we don’t expect NVIDIA to be able to keep GTX 670 in stock any better than they can GTX 680. The best case scenario is that GTX 680 supplies improve as some demand shifts down to the GTX 670. In other words Auto-Notify is going to continue to be the best way to get a GTX 600 series card.

Finally, let’s talk pricing. If you were expecting GTX 570 pricing for GTX 670 you’re going to come away disappointed. Because NVIDIA is designing GTX 670 to perform closer to GTX 680 than with past video cards they’re also setting the prices higher. GTX 670 will have an MSRP of $399 ($50 higher than GTX 570 at launch), with custom cards going for higher yet. This should dampen demand some, but we don’t expect it will be enough.

Given its $399 MSRP, the GTX 670 will primarily be competing with the $399 Radeon HD 7950. However from a performance perspective the $479 7970 will also be close competition depending on the game at hand. AMD’s Three For Free promo has finally gone live, so they’re countering NVIDIA in part based on the inclusion of Deus Ex, Nexuiz, and DiRT Showdown with most 7900 series cards.

Below that we have AMD’s Radeon HD 7870 at $350, while the GTX 570 will be NVIDIA’s next card down at around $299. The fact that NVIDIA is even bothering to mention the GTX 570 is an interesting move, since it means they expect it to remain as part of their product stack for some time yet.

Update 5/11: NVIDIA said GTX 670 supply would be better than GTX 680 and it looks like they were right. As of this writing Newegg still has 5 of 7 models still in stock, which is far better than the GTX 680 and GTX 690 launches. We're glad to see that NVIDIA is finally able to keep a GTX 600 series card in stock, particularly a higher volume part like GTX 670.

Spring 2012 GPU Pricing Comparison
AMD Price NVIDIA
  $999 GeForce GTX 690
  $499 GeForce GTX 680
Radeon HD 7970 $479  
Radeon HD 7950 $399 GeForce GTX 670
Radeon HD 7870 $349  
  $299 GeForce GTX 570
Radeon HD 7850 $249  
  $199 GeForce GTX 560 Ti
  $169 GeForce GTX 560
Radeon HD 7770 $139  

 

Meet The GeForce GTX 670
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  • Gastec - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Insanity! Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    When amd has trouble with a game, the reviewer, completely unaware of any amd deficiency (as any good fanboy), has no explanation at the ready, nothing he has been watching for as an identified weakness - unlike the nVidia cards, where the reviewer is on constant watch for what he believes are nVidia card weaknesses.
    " Skyrim is a game that for inexplicable reasons AMD just has some trouble with that NVIDIA doesn’t, possibly driver overhead."

    Yes, we know, if amd doesn't do well, it's inexplicable. Something just has to be wrong. Somehow reality has warped.
    Then after noting the 670 win fairly, we get this:

    " At 1920 we’re clearly CPU limited even with all of Skyrim’s graphical features turned up. "

    Instead of saying the 570 beats every amd card at that resolution, or even noting every amd card is stacked at the bottom, period, it's a "cpu problem" - amd didn't fail, the cpu did...

    That's not all - after seeing the 570 spank every amd card at the 1920 resolution the reviewer goes on attack, since he mentioned of course earlier in the article nVidia brought up the 570, meaning it would be part of their line up he said, so attacking it is a must, as any good fanboy knows. Never mention is has spanked the 7870 and 7850 and even the 7970 once (civ5) and never mention it spanks the whole amd tier in this game with texture packs and it's "puny memory" at 1920, but go after it...

    " GTX 670 is greatly improving on the GTX 570 due to the latter’s lack of memory. 1.25GB is cutting it close here with the high resolution texture pack "

    There you have it. Once again. The GTX570 spanks every amd card at 1920 but all it gets is a big fat cut down for 2560.

    Oh yes, the whole way it's done is consistently against nVidia.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Here again, an nVidia win is inexplicable. Instead we hear about the amd "strength".
    When nVidia wins, remember it's unclear why because it should not be happening, amd has a superior strength !

    " At this point it’s not entirely clear why the GTX 600 series does so well here (both AMD and NV use SGSSAA), especially given the fact that the Radeons have a memory bandwidth advantage."

    Now we can listen to the "on paper" amd fanboys, and the endless fantasy that future drivers and future games mean amd is the "future winner" for the newest cards tested and compared.

    Never will we hear the amd core "technology" is weaker and has some severe caveats when it comes to game engines and implementation.

    Instead, that with much superior "paper horsepower" on "notional multiplications" based upon less than fully accurate simplified calculations omitting severe bottlenecks in amd architecture and adding in guesses for the "tricks" amd has to "overcome" them, we will always be told the above, instead of the truth.
    AMD core design is inferior for most of the game engines.
    Reply
  • snakefist - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    " At this point it’s not entirely clear why the GTX 600 series does so well here (both AMD and NV use SGSSAA), especially given the fact that the Radeons have a memory bandwidth advantage."

    oh, dear god - as much as i try to ignore you...

    do you, or do you not remember NVIDIA cards with 192/384/512 memory bandwidth and how much good this "advantage" brought to them? compared to AMD 128/256 bandwidth of the same generation?

    when commenting your post, one is necessarily becoming an AMD fan, since basically everything you say is so biased and (mainly) incorrect or misinterpretation of actual facts

    i suspect you secretly work for AMD :)
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Are you aware the post you copied is the reviewers words, smarty pants ?
    Do you realize I was criticizing the reviewers words, his "bandwidth" notional advantage for amd ?
    Do you realize you just called the reviewer and idiot and agreed with me ?

    YOUR words > " do you, or do you not remember NVIDIA cards with 192/384/512 memory bandwidth and how much good this "advantage" brought to them? compared to AMD 128/256 bandwidth of the same generation?"

    Now tell it to the reviewer dumb dumb, since you copied and pasted HIS WORDS from my post, his words, words for word from the review !

    ROFLMAO - yes you maybe should become a paid operative for amd, you have the intelligence for it - get everything wrong then attack - you're perfect for them :)
    Reply
  • snakefist - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    nope. i do not realize that. i don't memorize each word of review to be able to write 2/3 comments of 22-pages thread...

    and i didn't call anyone "an idiot".

    what i said is what i believe (furthermore, it could be backed up by numerous reviews from that time - all of them also written by reviewers, perhaps on your surprise). whether this reviewer agrees with me or not on this topic is a simple matter of opinions, and review itself doesn't burst with hate as all your posts do.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Who knows what you said, it isn't clear, because you didn't make it clear.
    Believe whatever it is you believe,as that is also unclear, and only your opinion, since no facts are present for you, according to you.

    Of course you only see hate from me, since I point out the amd flaws, and amd is your fanboy fave, as your other posts clearly show, and no you don't sense hate from the reviewer as he coddles amd, as I pointed out, and that gives you a nice warm feeling of "good opinion" vibrations.
    ROFL

    It's all too clear.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    PS- you called me a lot worse than an idiot, so don't cop out on your hate filled spewing. Of course who expects anything less from an amd fanboy.

    Let's go with this, so you don't forget, or try to claim white snowy innocence - I certainly hope a bunch of obvious amd fanboys ignore every fact and facet I've presented, and dive, "driven" as you noted, right (back) into their beloved failure, with someone like you doing that, I couldn't receive any greater and lovely reward for my efforts here.
    Reply
  • snakefist - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    i did question your sanity, which i found more than ever a reasonable question. i'm surely not only one who shares this doubt. as for anger-management - i don't find this insulting, you should rather stop living in denial that you have one

    i did not called reviewer "an idiot", which you implied.

    i was not aware that you are making efforts of any kind, except to comment every sensible post of any author with your irrelevant raging about something else... now that you explained it so well, i'll probably stay off your noble crusade of enlightening people with wildly subjective and/or incorrect claims... at least as long i feel like it

    facts behind my claims are clearly stated and usually well-known and proven. your last two posts doesn't have single fact, btw

    now reap the benefits of your great reward, whatever you might think it is
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    Oh stop being a liar, you got outed so now you can't stand yourself.
    Let's go with near page one where one of your fellow amd fans haphazardly claims the 365mm die of the amd card is so close to the 300mm die of the nVidia card that amd price dropping again is no problem.

    Another amd snake applauded the post for the sanity it contained. ( merely because amd fanboyism was served well, of course)

    I had to point out, with considerable effort and for the greater good ...

    (let's face it amd fans should be ponying up profit dollars for the hurting amd, not demanding low prices be lowered again - it's called putting your money where your mouth is, and where your heart is in this case, something the amd zealouts apparently have, to only their personal and selfish advantage, trained themselves out of - a rude, and debilitating issue for amd - who IMO has greatly encouraged that suicidal behavior )

    ...that the 365mm die is over 43% larger than the 300mm die.

    Now there's just a single example of what needs to happen much more often, so that we can be well informed persons instead of lying brainwashed monkeys.

    I certainly do not mind a big 'ol fanboy, in fact that's great, but let's bring it up to a level where a fan can be a self respecting and respected addition, not in need of constant lies, and endless unethical misconduct, right ?

    A fanboy should easily support his view with the truth and not be in need of anything other, and as I fairly point out, an honorable fanboy won't be hellbent on squeezing every last dollar from their favorite producer while at the same time preaching corporate profitability "lessons" or sideway gloatings of the same, in direct opposition to their stated personal savings conduct goal and oft lofted talking point rhetoric.
    Reply

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