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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  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    28 isn't playable and yes, the nVidia card really wins that game, as we see in the 680 test, which I had to point out as you, the amd fanboy despite your claim to own a 680, never noticed like all the rest, including the author to a large degree, in the 680 release review here.

    So take your temporary Gaming Evolved amd game driver hack that disabled nVidia's winning sweep across all resolutions and celebrate, a fool of course needs to do so, you're welcome for pointing it out.

    (roll eyes at the immense ignorance, again)

    Now enjoy the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0eZEdpsgjk

    I know amd told us many, many times, as did so many little named posters here for so many years, that nVidia was evil for TWIMTBP work and what they did to the amd cards performance in those efforts.

    Maybe they should note this little problem that developed ?

    ROFL
    Reply
  • Galidou - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    ''(roll eyes at the immense ignorance, again)''

    Such a troll again, such a lack of respect, indirect attacks, most useless comment on earth... immense ignorance, comon we're speaking about video cards, someone not knowing that you can change a buck for 4 quarters might be an ignorant... unless he's a tribal that lived in africa all his life... and then the ''again'' omg the inflammatory stuff you're able to say in 7 words sentence... I'm unsure you realize what you do... you're being really mean...

    All that and I could only say you're mean... I guess respect ain't give to everyone, sad it can't be bought, because it must be the most important value, ALL AROUND, a man can have. Everything starts with respect, real wisdom is acquired through respect.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    All you do is attack, this is the last response you get from me unless you're on topic with a point, and as respectful as you demand others be, which you are not, you're the worst so far, a pure troll with no points at all.

    The other posters are trying to make points, not you. Attention for you is over.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    He mentions the puny 1,25gb because the card CAN'T run it and is usually a good performer against the competition at that resolution. You say it beats the 7870 in the next page, by 1-2 fps, I don't even call that a beating. Plus in a game that favors Nvidia.

    ''This is the kind of crap we have to put up with here, at least we who have a brain and can see what's going on.''

    I think you meant ''we who are Nvidia's fanboys''

    It may not be the most neutral of comments but it's not the worst, you're just looking to find things against Nvidia and enumerate them because that's what Nvidia's fanboys do. What do they do, get mad as soon as there's a little reason to.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    No other card can run it with gaming frame rates in his test.
    Since he didn't point that out, I DID.

    I guess he'll have to work harder to find a valid reason to dis the card since he has claimed nVidia is keeping it on, and the egg sure looks like that is correct - a lot of stock present.

    Now, you validated my point, but want to call it petty, but a similar thing happens on nearly every gaming page.

    At least what I point out is some pathetic grammar nazi problem, huh, which all of the rest of you seem to love to do so much, in every review posting it appears to be a contest for that, and I agree with the reviewer that PM'ing him to offer a correction is actually adult like and responsible.

    That of course is different than what bothers me, and we shall see, a valid complaint is usually responded to in a good way, so there may be some thought ahead, I certainly expect positive results for my efforts.
    As is so often claimed here by those in charge they respond to readers and what they want, so this fits that case fine.

    On that note along those lines I already advocated a single gaming chart with the collated data of the various cards in their overclocked performance states, as it seems to me that would be a nice added feature to reviews and would settle some of the rancor on the reviewed cards sometimes having OC'ed versions added in their release.
    Reply
  • SamsungAppleFan - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    first of all, thanks for the article, but you guys (anandtech) take wayyyyyy too long between new articles. get on it guys, seriously. and i'm still waiting on my gs3 full review lol. Reply
  • GlItCh017 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    This card can really shine if it likes what you like. I'm a huge FPS fan, so in scenario's such as BF3 the GTX 670 vs. Radeon HD 6970 is a no brainer. Reply
  • Morg. - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Sure, like most FPS's won't be on Unreal4 instead of frostbite ;)

    That engine, for some reason, favors nVidia and I don't think it's a good GPU performance metric, although if you're going to play frostbite content, it's clearly important.
    Reply
  • Morg. - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Nevermind, I knew why but I hadn't seen it mentioned yet.
    http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/johan-an...
    So .. buying a graphics board because it is favored by a botched graphical engine which is temporary - meh. If you plan on keeping your pc 2 or 3 years, fck the marketing, get raw power instead ;)
    Reply
  • antef - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Are you saying AMD has the better GPU for most FPS titles outside ones running Frostbite? Reply

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