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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  • snakefist - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

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

    die size is in mm2 and NOT in diameter (mm). do your math again... and gtx680 die is 294mm2... to your pleasure, it increases the size difference... the real one, not the 43% you came out with - somehow

    now, these were two of the things you learned from me :)

    reading more, instead writing would help you, as well anger-management i suggested earlier :)
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    Why then I await your math calculation.
    I'll let you know now I'll be back after 3 seasons pass to give you time to prepare your answer.

    It doesn't surprise me one iota the stupid amd fanboy even increased the nVidia core size for that always needed amd liar cheat, nor that praise for his sanity followed on unopposed except by yours truly. Sometimes letting a liar even have part of his lie and still proving him wrong is good enough.

    No need however to correct my shorthand text concerning circular vs rectangular area, but as I imagine the stupidity you are surrounded with inside your own head you thought it a possibility, and it clearly indicates you didn't read the part of the thread discussed as well.
    Reply
  • snakefist - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    you do realize that 300mm is about a length of an A4 page, don't you?

    i don't need to calculate anything, it's clearly that nvidia die is ~20% smaller than amd one...

    on the other hand, unlike you, i know how to calculate, maybe that explains why your mistake was so obvious to me...

    "stupidity you are surrounded with" - sadly, true - but i'm only surrounded by you... but than again, it's the only reason i even talk to you - it's kinda fun because i don't get angry at all (quite the opposite), and you're spilling poison - seriously, how long you spent on writing that 1,000,000 comments about nvidia being better?

    i've spent about half an hour talking to you in total, and for own amusement purposes
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    That's over 22% Reply
  • snakefist - Friday, May 18, 2012 - link

    i did right to come back here, more laughter!

    YOU are correcting ME?

    what now, i should calculate 22% decimals, and correct you?

    man, i KNOW math, you DON'T. otherwise, it would strike you immediately for 2x mistake you made in post (lets assume square was a type, thought i'm not quite sure).

    now ~20% means ABOUT and it is that way because it applies in similar fashion to both bigger-than and less-than scenarios, things you wouldn't of course know anything about

    but then again, i proclaim FULL VICTORY for you on math issue, you were right all along, even when you wrote 43, 46 or whatever you did in the first place (without "~" which means "approximate" for you, and you didn't used it, meaning it was exactly 43 (or 46, whatever))

    you're mathematical genius and i envy you a great deal on vast amount of hardware knowledge you have. happy?
    Reply
  • snakefist - Friday, May 18, 2012 - link

    oh, "typo", not "type" Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Here we get it again, since nVidia's 670, the card under review did better than expected, something is wrong...

    " For reasons that aren’t entirely clear Batman isn’t as shader performance bottlenecked as we would have expected, leading to it doing so well compared to the GTX 680 here. "

    Something is wrong, Batman is not so shader bottlenecked, and since it's so easy, the "harvested"(defective according to the reviewer) 670 core can do well.

    What happened to the 570 attack this time ? Nothing, since.the 570 beats the 7870 at 2560 here, but since we can't cut the 570 down, we won't mention it.

    Instead of mentioning the 670OC beats the amd flagship at the highest resolution 5760x1200, the reviewer has to play that down, so only mentions the 670OC "coming to parity" with the 6970 at middle resolution, 2560, after the STOCK 670 beats the amd 7970 at the low 1920 resolution !
    ROFL - once again the analysis favors and coddles amd.

    " EVGA’s overclock, even if it’s once again only around 3%, is just enough to close that gap and to bring the GTX 670 to parity with the GTX 680 and the 7970. "

    No, the OC shows the 670 beating the 7970 at the highest triple screen 5760 resolution, and the STOCK 670 BEATS THE 7970 at the lowest resolution, 1920... so somehow "that's parity".
    How the heck does that work ?

    Do we hear once in all this game page commentary what the 7950 at the very same $399 as the 670 price is doing ?
    I don't think we do.
    Where is that ?
    Instead of attacking the 7950 that is currently the same price as the 670, we get the reviewer over and over again attacking the GTX570 that he notes nVidia mentioned to him, making him think the GTX570 will be part of nVidia's line up for some time he states. Not once did he point out how well the GTX570 did against the amd competition.
    Not once do swe hear how the 7950 costs the same but loses, loses loses. Nothing specific.
    Instead we hear 670 vs 680 or attack the 570, or make excuses for the 7970 or call it inexplicable..
    Reply
  • medi01 - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Can someone ban this zealot please? Reply
  • sausagefingers - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    +1 Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    You can blame silverblue who begged for proof about the bias in these articles. Go call your buddy so you can both smack talk about me, or heck post it here openly like you do, why not you're innocent no matter what you do as an amd fanboy, right ? Reply

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