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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  • Galidou - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    LoL you're still so much into it's almost like you wanna make me feel that you're gonna save the world with your knowledge. Pollution will be eradicated by the light of your mesurements(in milimeters that is).

    Sorry if my english ain't at your level, maybe why you beleive I'm young, but it is in fact my third language. The only fanboy here is you, I know that this 670 is AMAZING, if I were in the market for a 300$ video card with what I see now, I'd dish an extra 100 to get it without hesitation.

    OMG sonny boy you had to mention this like it was all the supernatural 6mm difference... who gives a darn but you... If you're that old and ''responsible'' commenting like you do about video cards, WOW, it's even worse than I think, the word responsible might even have to change definition just because of you.

    I have never seen someone so irresponsible in forums when speaking about video cards. And I'm not the only one who might think that way for sure.

    You'Ve been doing personnal attacks on this forum on a regular basis and all that because of what, because of your knowledge in video cards. I'd prefer to be the most stupid man on earth instead of using any form of knowledge the way you do.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    Another gigantic wall of text with nothing on the topic, and nothing but attacking. Goodbye, you missed all the discussions, and all you've got to add now is your hatred. Reply
  • Galidou - Monday, May 14, 2012 - link

    I never said your discussions were fulled with lies or anything, it's just the way you bring up your argumentation. It makes me feel like not everyone will listen to you because of that. You do it in a harsh way and bring everyone down with you at the same time.

    You think calling everyone an ignorant is really necessary to explain anything related to the topic even if their argumentation is flawed? I don't think so. I already know Nvidia won for this gen, and they won big time. It's nice to see some nice bang for your bucks at the top, and I mean, if it wasn't for the fact that I only run in 1080p and the most anticipated game I'll play is diablo 3, I'd get one right now. But darn it dude, calm down...
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, May 31, 2012 - link

    You calm down amd fanboy, you LOST, amd LOST, and is LOSING, and amd is near broke.
    And you're very upset over it.
    Reply
  • Gastec - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Aha! Busted! You are looking forward for AMD to get broke, closed so we would all be forced to buy video cards from only one corporation: nVidia. Because that way your share of money will get bigger. You greedy bastard! Reply
  • jamyryals - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    While highly entertaining to me, your comments are actually a bit disturbing when one thinks about what you are like in real life. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Yes, don't forget to personally attack me, use the usual blabber the most ignorant and clueless fools on the net use to do so, it's a very short list, so it won't be too hard for you unless you try to remember how to spell basement.
    Now back to the topic I brought up.
    It's a sad time for amd fanboys and no amount of lies can help.
    After the reviewer smacked down all 79xx CF setups as not able to recommend, we have this very next follow up review - and it's easy to say everyone is absolutely amazed by the massive performance of this next step nVidia GTX670 - beating amd and their fanboys at the very heart and I do mean their dark little love it to death fanboy talking point amd heart - die size / power use / price perf / fan noise...

    It's a total and complete smackdown, exceeding even in muliti monitor with the nVidia 3+1surf - a complete smackdown - no area left for the and fanboy to grab onto - extreme sadness the era has ended.

    Consolation prize is vehemently claiming amd "OC's better", but it's a very difficult and voltage increasing road of heat and instability to that little nugget - while the nVidia fan comfortably uses a new technology for OC, and "enjoys some OC anyway" even without touching a thing, if we are to believe the angry and defeated amd fans protestations..
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    You need to take a step back and read your comments. You seem to think you're the only person with a valid opinion. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    Oh more personal attacking ?
    You can have your opinion, even if it's ridiculous and stupid, and rest assured, I may use the facts to prove that it is, and thus, you may whine I seem to think only my opinion is valid.

    I see now you went on a half page excuse rant for amd in the prior page trying to justify it's terrible loss with much spinning and distortions - look buddy, why don't you take some of your own advice ?

    It's obviously very important to you, given your actions - so it would be better if you made more attempts like the one I just referred to, and also had the guts to correct those spinning and lying for amd, as then I wouldn't be so busy.

    We can thank snakefist for pointing out past page 25 here that the nVidia core size is 294mm on a side not 300mm - so there we go again, another lie by an amd fan corrected...

    ( to be fair there was some misinformation concerning that comporting to the error the poster made)

    Thanks for telling me to read my own posts, I assure you I do, although now I've skipped reading your entire rant on the prior page. It's laughable BTW.

    Reply
  • haakon_k - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    While a bit entertaining to me, your comments are actually highly disturbing when one thinks about what you are like in real life.

    *my version
    Reply

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