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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  • Vertigo2000 - Monday, May 14, 2012 - link

    That's some bad, bad math comprehension. 300 and 365 are already the calculated areas.

    300 mm sq. = 17.3205 mm x 17.3205 mm

    365 mm sq. = 19.1050 mm x 19.1050 mm

    365 mm sq. is 21.667% larger than 300.
    Reply
  • chimaxi83 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Pay no attention to this known banned from the forums troll. Poor, sad little man you are lol, sucks to be you doesn't it? Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    I agree, the targeted "forum trusted end user alpha males" amd's pr campaign handlers coddle and coach and follow and email and bribe with free amd hardware and event tickets are gonig to be sorely pressed making up enough fanboy lies to earn their freebies.
    They are sad, and muted, bringing down the entire amd fanboy morale - the lies need to be too big this time - and evil amd already scapled the crap outa their fanbase, lost in their power perf area, lost in frame rate, lost their 3G future fantasy ram argument - all they have left is blowing chunks about overclocking the unstable poor drivers 7000 series - not to mention the GTX570 slamming their 78xx series, and a single GTX680 outselling their entire 78xx series at the egg...
    I've seen more than one reviewer mention the 680 back orders were so great and the 79xx and 78xx sales so stalled, that they hoped for some kind of change... now the egg is full of 670's...
    amd fanboys need a whole wheel barrel full verdetrol just to not off themselves
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    What kind of weird conspiracy crack are you on? :S Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    I guess you're so ignorant you didn't read the fired AMD employees testimonies concerning and explaining their "use" of amd fanboys, preferably the "trusted alpha male" type from long established forums all over the web, including anand's here.
    If you're entirely clueless, as you are, you have a lot of homework to do to be able to understand.
    Now, with your rude attack due to your personal ignorance above, I think all of us can fairly completely ignore your sad, pathetic, amd pro backing smack talk comment above that, where put down the entire comments section as an argumentative and sad place.
    Kind of ironic that after trying to defend another amd fanboy who smarted back about not being sad, you wound up saying this place is sad, and yes we've all seen your amd favoritism for some time now.
    You are sad, amd has lost, and has been forced down into shame by their superior, nVidia.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    LoL Cerise is still here launching inflammatory stuff at everyone who says something about AMD. Look at the mad Nvidia fanboy crying setting fire to the rain...

    Whoever loses, you don't have to get so MUCH mad when speaking of computer parts, they are freaking computer parts, not women intimate parts... get laid before speaking of ignorance...

    Why is it always the nvidia fanboys who gets so mad, are they freaking lacking real life sex so they become obsessed by video cards. I don't even want to think at what kind of picture they look at when they try to evacuate the pressure.... NO I DON'T...
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, May 31, 2012 - link

    Amd lost, and lost badly, and all you do is attack me, so you lose too. Reply
  • Gastec - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Omg he's just a troll and you have fallen into his trap. Went me talking to the walls painted 6 months ago....Ah but maybe the troll reads this and replies. And if he's a mad troll he will copy my comments store it in a .txt. or .doc and use it "against" me in future ..."fights" Pfff! Sayonara suckers! Reply
  • Galidou - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    ''Now, with your rude attack due to your personal ignorance''

    LOL, I wonder who's rude?

    ''your sad, pathetic, amd pro backing smack talk comment above that, where put down the entire comments section as an argumentative and sad place''

    I think that just answered my last question. Just sad to see someone who gather this information to use it like you do, good job.

    ''You are sad, amd has lost, and has been forced down into shame by their superior, nVidia. ''

    I think the only one who lost, it's you. You lost your sanity just for speaking about video card companies, according so much importance to it while it's so much irrelevant. 90% of the people will continue going to best buy and get a geforce 8600gt or a Radeon 2600xt for 120$ thinking they got the deal of the year because it has a 30$ rebate on it and allow them to run their game at 720p. GG
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    Ah yes, another whose only "information" in 2 consecutive posts is 100% personal attack.
    Thank me when you grow up enough to realize rebutting lies and fibs by others is an adult and responsible thing to do. Something you obviously are absolutely incapable of, since expertise is not in your arsenal.

    BTW - the gentleman who had to be corrected on his lackluster amd excuse concerning gpu core size vs amd's ability to for the 3td time in a few months, reduce prices, it has been pointed out, lied about the nVidia core size exaggerating it's dimensions (by mistake of course!).

    ROFL hahahha - you pathetic amd fanboys have to lie all the time....

    Not 300mm, 294mm sonny boy. ROFL

    When it's so bad no lie is too big or too small, this is what happens - this is what we're (well not you of course, you're just an attacking troll) dealing with.
    Reply

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