Power, Temperature, & Noise

Wrapping up our look at the stock performance characteristics of the GTX 680 Classified, we have what’s perhaps our most important results section: power, temperature, & noise.

When it comes to custom cards these results can often make or break a card, depending on the niche it’s going for. The GTX 680 Classified is a high performing card, but it’s not a card shooting for performance at any cost, so we expect to find some kind of reasonable balance here.

GeForce GTX 600 Series Voltages
EVGA GTX 680C Boost Load Ref GTX 680 Boost Load EVGA GTX 680C Idle
1.175v 1.175v 0.987v

Note that at its stock settings EVGA must follow NVIDIA’s defaults, so the GTX 680 Classified has the same 1.175v load voltage as the reference GTX 680. This is where binning comes into play, as EVGA needs to identify GK104 GPUs that can reach 1100MHz+ at 1.175v in order to make the GTX 680 Classified a viable product.

EVGA GTX 680 Classified Average Clockspeed
Game Clockspeed
Crysis: Warhead 1188MHz
Metro 2033 1211MHz
DiRT 3 1211MHz
Shogun2 1162MHz
Batman: Arkham City 1188MHz
Portal 2 1211MHz
Battlefield 3 1188MHz
Starcraft II 1188MHz
Skyrim 1211MHz
Civilization V 1188MHz

Meanwhile, looking at the GTX 680 Classified’s median clockspeed during our benchmarks, we can see that our earlier speculation about the impact of such a high power target was true. The maximum boost bin on our card is 1201MHz (versus 1110MHz for our reference card), and with the exception of Shogun 2, the GTX 680 Classified is almost constantly at 1201MHz or the temperature-induced 1188MHz during our tests. With Shogun 2 that drops down to 1162MHz. With such a high power target the resulting clockspeeds are very consistent for a GTX 680 card.

Moving on to power consumption, there are no great surprises here for the GTX 680 Classified when it comes to idle power consumption. With the additional VRM phases and more importantly 8 extra GDDR5 memory chips, idle power consumption has to go up. The impact is that idle power consumption rises by 8-9W, which would push the total idle power consumption of the card up to around 25W. Note however that this is still better than the GTX 580.

Load power on the other hand looks very good. In fact it’s much better than we were expecting. Despite the additional memory chips and the factory overclock, under Metro power consumption only rises 10W at the wall. This is still less than the7970, let alone the 7970GE.

The story with OCCT is much the same. Here we can see that power at the wall increases by all of 12W, which is roughly the remaining difference between the GTX 680 Classified and the 7970. Ultimately the binning process necessary for EVGA to assign GK104 GPUs to their various products has pushed the very best GK104 GPUs into the Classified. The end result is that even at NVIDIA’s standard voltage of 1.175v, the GK104 GPU in our card ends up consuming less power than a more typical GK104 GPU, which allows the GTX 680 Classified to partially offset the higher power consumption of the additional RAM, additional VRM phases, and the factory overclock.

The final result is that the GTX 680 Classified still consumes a bit more power than the reference GTX 680, but not immensely so. Furthermore depending on whether we’re looking at Metro or OCCT, the GTX 680 Classified still draws 30-50W less than the next-nearest competitor, the 7970GE.

Moving on to temperatures, since EVGA has equipped the GTX 680 Classified with what’s functionally a larger version of the GTX 680’s blower, there are no grand surprises here. The GTX 680 Classified idles at 33C, which so far appears to be typical for these latest iterations of high-performance video cards.

Load GPU temperatures on the other hand are clearly benefitting not only from the larger cooler of the GTX 680 Classified, but also its lower GPU power consumption. With both OCCT and Metro the GTX 680 Classified is 6C cooler than the reference GTX 680. Blowers aren’t known as the most effective coolers, so to reach the low 70s like this is definitely impressive.

Last but not least we have our look at noise levels. Starting with idle noise, the GTX 680 Classified makes no significant tradeoff for its size. Idle noise ends up being a hair higher than the reference GTX 680, but not noticeably so.

With load noise levels on the other hand we find ourselves once again impressed. The larger cooler and larger fan means that the GTX 680 Classified generates less noise than even the reference GTX 680, which was already a fairly quiet card for its performance level. We had expected EVGA to make some kind of temperature/noise tradeoff here but there’s none to be found. They have managed to lower both at the same time.

Ultimately it’s clear that while EVGA has engineered the GTX 680 Classified for heavy overclocking, they haven’t sacrificed reference performance to get there. When it comes to both temperatures and noise, the GTX 680 Classified is suitably superior to the reference GTX 680. The fact that EVGA did all of this with a blower makes it all the more impressive, since we typically only see gains like these by switching to an open air cooler. Granted these improvements are largely a consequence of the need to overbuild the card for the kind of heavy overclocking it was designed for, but if you do run at stock there are definitely benefits to be realized.

Portal 2, Battlefield 3, Starcraft II, Skyrim, Civilization V, & Compute Overclocked: Power, Temperature, & Noise
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  • Belard - Saturday, July 21, 2012 - link

    This card is so old-school looking... like an Atari 2600... or 70s camera. Reply
  • ekon - Saturday, July 21, 2012 - link

    Few people are aware that EVGA was in the compact camera business back in the 70s:

    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=65bac5&s=6
    Reply
  • Belard - Saturday, July 21, 2012 - link

    Wow, Amazing!

    Its so cool how a 1970s camera's lens look just like a blower! What were the chances!

    :)
    Reply
  • Belard - Sunday, July 22, 2012 - link

    Kinda funny. I showed my 7yr old the big picture of this EVGA GTX 680 classified card and he said "it looked really old"... wow.

    For the retro- look, it does look nice. There will come a time when the computer toys we have today will look like OLD OLD junk.

    If mankind makes it another 100 years, our PCs, tablets and GPUs would be like telegraph equipment.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    That's an amazing comment considering the years long AMD standard block look on 99% plus AMD cards we've been treated to.

    I remember being sick to my stomache seeing the same old red red red red red pcb on them all. Finally one amd fan promoter claimed he had a blue pcb amd card and linked a pic but it has the same old sad red square cover with the black lines.

    I do realize when the amd double D breast design recently hit many fanboys went into some sort of sexually perverse mental mode, but that shouldn't wipe out the endless years of amd standard fare we were all tortured with.

    In the case of this card, there's a lot of white on the outside I haven't seen anywhere else, the white "top" with printing will be staring at you out of the case, something so many cards have been oblivious too for far too long... then we also have the black carbon look - another unusual feature although with the fanboysim over anything and everything black that is understandable as I'm sure their pr boys figured that part a clear win, sadly enough.
    Reply
  • Haravikk - Saturday, July 21, 2012 - link

    With 4gb RAM it seems like it's almost intended to be the ultimate Second Life card; powerful enough to handle that app's mediocre but insanely demanding graphics with the RAM to hold all the hundreds of overly high-resolution textures plastered onto every visible surface.

    But for $660 I'm not sure it's worth the novelly =)
    Reply
  • dave1_nyc - Saturday, July 21, 2012 - link

    OK, I know that this is trivial, but the previous Classified at least looked kinda cool and unique. This one seems visually unappealing. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    But once you put it in the case, usually within a few minutes of having an insane "unboxing" session much like a religious pilgrimage with a possible absolutely boring youtube minutes somehow considered a "treat" by the disturbed (of which there are many), you shove it in the case and put on the side cover... never to really see it ever again in it's fully glory, until it's death.

    What you will see is the big fat WHITE laberl and red classified printing jamming at your face if you have a side window..... clearly the most important aspect - even though 98% don't have a window to look through... but if you do - you're set.

    Don't mind me - I'm still amazed how "the feel" of some look makes it or breaks it for 99% of the retarded humans that surround me - especially when "the looking" is done like .000001% of the time as in the case of these video cards.

    It must have to do with their estrogen levels I tell myself, or maybe they don't have a girlfriend and that's why...
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, July 21, 2012 - link

    > Software overvoltage control is forbidden.

    I can understand this for the reference design. But for custom designs? WTF?!
    Reply
  • shin0bi272 - Sunday, July 22, 2012 - link

    The instant I saw the original 680 I said that the 256bit memory bus was going to limit it severely. Even before I saw any other stats for the thing I knew id never buy one. Nvidia was cheap when they released the 680 because they saw what the 7970 was putting out and they said we'll call our 660 midrange our 680 high end and we can make more money (also love the fact that you guys test the handful of games that amd's 7 series beats the nvidia 6 series... not cherry picking your benchmarks at all nooo).

    This card does push the 680 to its limit which is cool and all but it just proves that a) the 256bit mem bus is still a midrange card designator no matter how much they claim gddr5 is fast enough to not need more than that... it does. And b) Nvidia could have pushed the 680's base clock up much higher and, while it would still be bottle necked bad, it would have been more attractive.

    Bring on the 700 series Im done with the 6's
    Reply

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