Final Words

Once again we have reached the end of another GPU launch article and once again we have a lot of data to digest, so let’s get to it.

For the last few generations AMD has always put up a good fight and always managed to spoil NVIDIA in some manner, be it by beating NVIDIA to market by months like we saw with the 5000 series, or significantly undercutting NVIDIA and forcing them into a bloody price war as we saw with the 4000 series. This time AMD once again spoiled NVIDIA by releasing the Radeon HD 7970 nearly 3 months early, but as always, at the end of the day it’s NVIDIA who once again takes the performance crown for the highest performing single-GPU card.

What makes this launch particularly interesting if not amusing though is how we’ve ended up here. Since Cypress and Fermi NVIDIA and AMD have effectively swapped positions. It’s now AMD who has produced a higher TDP video card that is strong in both compute and gaming, while NVIDIA has produced the lower TDP and weaker compute part that is similar to the Radeon HD 5870 right down to the display outputs. In some sense it’s a reaction by both companies to what they think the other did well in the last generation, but it’s also evidence of the fact that AMD and NVIDIA’s architectures are slowly becoming more similar.

In any case, this has ended up being a launch not quite like any other. With GTX 280, GTX 480, and GTX 580 we discussed how thanks to NVIDIA’s big die strategy they had superior performance, but also higher power consumption and a higher cost. To that extent this is a very different launch – the GTX 680 is faster, less power hungry, and quieter than the Radeon HD 7970. NVIDIA has landed the technical trifecta, and to top it off they’ve priced it comfortably below the competition.

Looking at the bigger picture, I think ultimately we still haven’t moved very far on the price/performance curve compared to where we’ve gone in past generations, and on that basis this is one of the smaller generational jumps we've seen for a GTX x80 product, or for that matter one of the smaller leads NVIDIA has had over AMD's top card. But even with NVIDIA’s conservative pricing we’re finally seeing 28nm translate into more performance for less, which of course is really what we're interested in. To that end, based on GK104’s die size I’m left wondering where GTX 680 is going to be sitting by the end of the year as 28nm production improves, as there’s clearly a lot of potential for price cuts in the future.

But in the meantime, in the here and now, this is by far the easiest recommendation we’ve been able to make for an NVIDIA flagship video card. NVIDIA’s drive for efficiency has paid off handsomely, and as a result they have once again captured the single-GPU performance crown.

Power, Temperature, & Noise
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  • Wreckage - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Impressive. This cards beats AMD on EVERY level! Price, performance, features, power..... every level. AMD paid the price for gouging it's customers, they are going to lose a ton of marketshare. I doubt they have anything to match this for at least a year. Reply
  • Creig - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    The review has been up for less than a minute so you couldn't possibly have read it already. How pathetic is it that you were sitting there hitting F5 repeatedly just so you could get in another "First post! Nvidia is uber!" comment.

    Get a life.
    Reply
  • Grooveriding - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Haha Creig,

    Good observation, he must of been sitting there spamming to get in that first comment, before he read a word of the review.

    Sour grapes at being banned much, Wreckage ?
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    ... but he's correct. The 680 does dominate in nearly every situation and category.

    "the GTX 680 is faster, cooler, and quieter than the Radeon HD 7970. NVIDIA has landed the technical trifecta, and to top it off they’ve priced it comfortably below the competition."

    Obvioulsy Wreckage's analysis of AMD's "price gouging" and prophesies of doom are farfetched...
    Reply
  • N4g4rok - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Well, yeah, the card does well in most of those tests, but i think it might be a little too far to say that it dominates the 7970 on every level. Reply
  • cactusdog - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Just finsished looking around various sites and the 680 isnt as good as was suggested.

    Dont forget, you're basically comparing an overclocked Nvidia card to a stock AMD card, and even the base clock is much higher on the nvidia card.

    At the same clocks the results will look much better for AMD. Also, 3 monitor gaming could favour AMD with 3GB of vram.

    Seems like Nvidia really wanted to target the 7970 and the price/performance tag this time, by building a souped up, overclocked Gk104 but its not a 7970 killer. AMD will just need to sell them for $449.

    AMD can stay with the 7970 as planned until Q4 and the 8 series.
    Reply
  • gamerk2 - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    You know clocks aren't the only thing that determines speed? Couldn't one just as easily argue that AMD cards were better because they basically clocked their RAM so high?

    Fact is, at stock, the card beats the 7970 at a lower price. Period.
    Reply
  • Meaker10 - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    You're ignoring the host of factory overclocked models out there that will be quieter than the 680M and perform on a similar level, the price just needs to be dropped. Reply
  • Kakkoii - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Herp derp, the same can be said about Nvidia cards as well. The 680 has tonnes of OC'ing headroom. The GPU boost it has is a messily overclock. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    I guess the lower clocked cores of 470, 480, 570, 580 , and many other Nvidia cards were greatly cheated in all benchmarks because the amd cores were often well over 100mhz higher at stock....
    So we have had at least 3 years of lying benchmarks in amd's favor.
    I'd like to personally thank gamerk2 for this very astute observation that sheds the light of Nvidia asbolutely winning in all the above mentioned nvidia cars for the past couple of years.
    Thank you... (sarc/reality check is free)
    Reply

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