Palit JetStream GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Cards in SLI

We got our hands on a second Palit Jetstream GTX 680 video card and checked out SLI performance. Come see!

Published Apr 2, 2012 9:00 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:01 PM CST
Manufacturer: Palit
13 minute read time


Palit JetStream GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Cards in SLI 02

The other day we had a chance to look at the first non-reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 from Palit in the form of the JetStream GTX 680. Impressed with what the company was doing so quickly out the gate we had to try and get the opportunity to get a second and see what was going on with SLI performance.

This was going to give us the opportunity to try two things: the first was to see just how SLI is looking with the latest generation of NVIDIA cards. The second was to see just how the GTX 680 in SLI compares against its biggest competitor, the HD 7970 in CrossFire.

We've had a look at a lot of CrossFire setups over the past few months as we do really get a lot more AMD based cards verse NVIDIA ones. Over the last few years we've also seen CrossFire offer some amazing performance enhancements with gains of 100% being quite common these days.

How's NVIDIA going in the ol' SLI department, though? If there was ever a time to check out what's going on, it's now with the latest GTX 680 model which has left us mighty impressed so far.

Because we already looked at the Palit card in detail with our standalone review we don't need to cover it again (hit the link above to read it). We'll simply just look at our testbed on the next page while also covering some of the cards in our graphs today alongside a quick GPU-Z screenshot to make sure everything is working. Once we've done that we'll get into the performance side of things and see what this setup brings to the table.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup


We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS and Corsair.

On the testbed side of things there's nothing new going on so there's not a lot to cover in that department. Instead we can take a quick look at the GPU-Z side of things to make sure everything is up and running with no problems.

Palit JetStream GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Cards in SLI 01

Having a look above you can see that we're again dealing with the pre-overclocked video card from Palit. That means we've got a 1085MHz core clock and the 2GB of GDDR5 comes in at 6300MHz DDR.

The main thing we want to take away from here, though, is that SLI is indeed enabled and you can see down towards the bottom under the "NVIDIA SLI" section it is of course enabled via "2 GPUs" in this case.

As for the cards in our graphs today we've got a bunch with the most obvious one being the standard Palit JetStream GTX 680. Along with that we've also get the reference GTX 680 and the GTX 580.

On the AMD side of things we've got the HD 7970, HD 6970, HD 7970 in CrossFire and because we're dealing with pre-overclocked cards here today we've included the reference HD 7970's overclocked by us in CrossFire.

Let's get started!

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

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3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Straight away we see the performance of the new Palit JetStream GTX 680s in SLI with it having no issue dealing with our other setups here including the manually overclocked HD 7970s in CrossFire.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.5

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New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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It comes as no surprise that under Heaven we also see the Palit offering come out ahead as NVIDIA has always done well under tessellation heavy benchmarks.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test

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Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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While we've again got a win here for the Palit setup, the FPS across the board are massive on all the setups here.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Buy It Here

Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Mafia II sees some massive performance and that's got a lot to do with the fact that NVIDIA doesn't hit this wall at around the 135 FPS mark.

Instead you can see that the setup is hitting 189 FPS at both 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. Only at 2560 x 1600 does it fall down; even then, though, we're seeing a huge 158 FPS average.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1

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Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Lost Planet 2 is an intensive game, but you can see, the Palit JetStream GTX 680 setup just has no problem with it. Even at the highest resolution we've got some massive FPS which comes out higher than the manually overclocked HD 7970s in CrossFire.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Aliens vs. Predator was one game where we saw the GTX 680 just wasn't as strong as the AMD offerings. We can see that here as well when we're in SLI. The good news, though, is that we've got some awesome FPS across the board.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used:

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

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Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the other side of the world from the original Just Cause, on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Panau has varied terrain, from desert to alpine to rainforest. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.

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Just Cause performance across the board is very strong and we can see that at 1920 x 1200 and lower it has no problem coming out ahead of all our other setups. It's only at 2560 x 1600 where we see it fall just a few FPS behind the manually overclocked HD 7970 CrossFire setup.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage:

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Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Metro 2033 continues the trend of just awesome FPS across the board and some awesome gains when compared to its single card counterpart. We can see it's only at 2560 x 1600, though, where the manually overclocked setup is able to sneak out a slight win.

Benchmarks - Dirt 3

Dirt 3

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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DiRT 3 boasts more cars, more locations, more routes and more events than any other game in the series, including over 50 rally cars representing the very best from five decades of the sport. With more than double the track content of 2009's hit, DiRT 3 will see players start at the top as a professional driver, with a top-flight career in competitive off-road racing complimented by the opportunity to express themselves in Gymkhana-style showpiece driving events.

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Moving into Dirt 3 we continue to see those massive performance gains and you can again see that the Palit setup here has no issue dealing with our other dual GPU setups including the manually overclocked HD 7970s at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01

Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

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The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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You can see we're simply hitting an FPS wall for the most part under Far Cry 2 with this massive amount of GPU power on offer.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to an unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

Palit JetStream GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Cards in SLI 30
Palit JetStream GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Cards in SLI 31
Palit JetStream GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Cards in SLI 32

Mafia 2 and Far Cry 2 show some awesome performance from the Palit setup.

We also see great numbers under Aliens vs. Predator, but we can again see that this is a game that NVIDIA just isn't doing as strong in, as it falls behind the HD 7970 setup.

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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On the temperature front the SLI setup numbers are pretty good with the idle sitting a little higher only and the load number coming in at the same 71c.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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Noise levels on the setup are also fantastic. Considering it's the fastest dual GPU setup on the market, the noise numbers the setup gives off is really quite amazing.

Power Consumption Test

Using our PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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Power draw comes in at a little under 600 Watt which is pretty impressive. If you're going for a setup like this, though, the chances are you're already dealing with a pretty good quality power supply.

Final Thoughts

When we looked at the new Palit JetStream GTX 680 we found ourselves really impressed with what Palit had done with the new GTX 680 card. The best thing for Palit is that NVIDIA have already given them an awesome base to work off.

Palit has then taken that base GPU, worked around it and created an awesome video card as we mentioned in our original review. If you've got some money to spend, though, you can move to the SLI setup which helps take performance to another level.

I think the most interesting thing is that we again see NVIDIA struggle at the highest resolution. Not struggle in the sense of not offering us playable numbers, but in the compared to AMD sense. Talking to people most feel it's because NVIDIA has opted for only a 256-bit memory bus verse AMDs HD 7970 which is sitting on a 384-bit bus.

Combine the wider bus with the fact that AMD have also opted for 3GB of GDDR5 over the 2GB NVIDIA has opted for and you can see why the performance between the two models and setups are similar. It will be interesting to see if Palit and others launch newer GTX 680 models in the future with more RAM.

The GTX 680 SLI setup is a really attractive one, especially in the form of the Palit version. While we don't have official pricing on the card yet, this custom cooled, pre-overclocked setup should come in cheaper than reference clocked HD 7970s which is really appealing.

Outside of the performance, though, something else that is really appealing is the noise levels on the setup which are extremely low. We're seeing some awesome noise levels on the latest generation of GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD, but the amount of power we're seeing here out of this setup and the noise levels present are really quite amazing.

If you're interested in dropping four figures down on a VGA setup, the GTX 680 SLI setup should be sitting towards the top of your list; and for good reason. Palit offer us a really great setup up here in the form of the SLI JetStream GTX 680 configuration. The one thing you need to remember is that these are two and a half slot cards, so you'll want a motherboard that has two slots between the SLI setup and any more than two cards is going to be impossible for the most part.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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