Palit JetStream GeForce GTX 680 4GB Video Cards in SLI

We get our hands on a second Palit Jetstream GeForce GTX 680 4GB video card and check out SLI performance.

Manufacturer: Palit
13 minutes & 37 seconds read time


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The other day we got the chance to check out the brand new 4GB variant of the Palit Jetstream GTX 680 and found ourselves impressed with what was on offer. Today we're going to get the opportunity to look at the same card again, but in SLI, to see what performance is like with two of these 4GB bad boys.

Palit has been able to come out of the gate very aggression this time around offering not only a custom designed GTX 680 very fast, but weeks after launch they've managed to offer a 4GB variant of the video card on the same custom design.

Like when we looked at the 2GB version in SLI we won't be looking over the video card again and we already did that in the single standalone review. Because of that we'll just be getting straight into the testbed side of things while also just covering the video cards we'll be using in our graphs today along with a quick look at the GPU-Z screenshot.

Once we've done that we'll be getting straight into the benchmark side of things to see just how this 4GB SLI setup goes compared to a number of other setups before we finally wrap up everything in our final thoughts.

So, let's leave it at that and get into the test system side of things.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

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

Looking above you can see our testbed and as you'd expect there's really nothing out of the ordinary present with our typical X79 setup being seen here. As for the cards we'll be using today we've got a number of setups including the GTX 580 and standard GTX 680 reference card.

Along with that we've also got the Palit JetStream GTX 680 and the reference GTX 680 overclocked to 1199MHz / 6808MHz QDR. As for the AMD side of things we've got the HD 7970 on the single GPU front.

On the dual GPU front we've got the HD 6990 which continues to be one of the fastest single GPU cards along with the HD 7970 in CrossFire and the same setup overclocked in Crossfire at over 1000MHz on the core.

Before we quickly get into the testing side of things you can see our GPU-Z screenshot below that gives us a run down on the cards we're dealing with today. As we mentioned in our standalone review, the 4GB variant of the Palit JetStream GTX 680 comes in at just the reference clock speeds.

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That means the core comes in at 1006MHz while the 4GB of GDDR5 carries a 6008MHz QDR clock. The last thing we want to look at is down the bottom you can see that we've of course got SLI enabled via 2 GPUs.

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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Starting off with 3DMark 11 we can see that the Palit GTX 680s have no problems taking on the other setups including the 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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Looking at Heaven we again see very strong performance and again the Palit JetStream 4GB SLI setup has no issue competing with the other setups here including the manual overclocked HD 7970 CrossFire setup.

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 performance here sits a little behind the HD 7970 setup, the FPS are so huge across the board that it doesn't really matter. You're not going to have any issue playing H.A.W.X. 2 at 2560 x 1600 on any of these high-end setups.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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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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Looking at Mafia II performance you can see that the GTX 680 SLI setup doesn't hit that 130ish FPS wall like the AMD based cards do. For that reason we see some massive performance out of the setup here which is great for people who are going to opt for AA and AF gaming.

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 performance looks great across the board and you can see the only setup that is fighting close is the manually overclocked HD 7970 CrossFire setup. Compared to the reference clocked setup we can see a nice performance boost with the Palit GTX 680 JetStream 4GB setup.

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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While we see even the 4GB cards perform weaker than the AMD offerings under Aliens vs. Predator, we've none the less got some awesome performance across the board that gives us very playable FPS at every resolution we throw at it.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

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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 2 performance across the board is great and you've again got no issue getting the FPS we need at every resolution.

We can also again see that the SLI setup has no issue dealing with the stock clocked HD 7970s in CrossFire. It's only the manually overclocked setup that is able to pull out the win.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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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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The super intensive Metro 2033 is a great test for the GTX 680 4GB SLI setup. At 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050 you can see we've got no issue dealing with the AMD CF setups, it's only at 2560 x 1600 that it falls just behind. Fortunately we've still got strong FPS out of the setup.

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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Dirt 3 is an AMD title, but you can see the GTX 680 4GB SLI setup has no problem eating the competition up for breakfast. Especially at the highest resolution we see the Palit JetStream GTX 680 4GB SLI setup come out strongly ahead of everything else including the manually overclocked HD 7970 CF setup.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01

Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long

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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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Looking at Far Cry 2 performance you've got numbers you'd pretty much expect to see with nothing really standing out. Of course on these high-end setups, there's just no problem dealing with something a little older like Far Cry 2.

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.

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As you'd expect the GTX 680 SLI 4GB setup just has no issue dealing with games even with AA and AF turned on.

While this setup does fall behind the HD 7970s overclocked in some areas, we've just got very strong performance across the board.

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 heat front the setup is running a little warmer, but at 79c the cards aren't running at a temperature that worries us.

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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On the noise front you can see that the levels are almost identical to that of the 2GB cards in SLI which sit towards the bottom of the pack.

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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On the power draw side of things we can see the 4GB cards in SLI suck down a bit more power, but again they're not at a level which we're worried about.

If you're spending this kind of money you should have a high-end branded power supply that is capable of powering this kind of setup.

Final Thoughts

Standalone or in SLI, our thoughts on the new Palit JetStream GTX 680 4GB are the same. If you think that 2GB of memory on your GTX 680 isn't enough, then make the leap over to the 4GB version offering from Palit.

Of course compared to the reference design, it's not just the extra memory that comes in to play here. We've also got the awesome cooler that does wonders on the GPU and seems to give the video card a bit more breathing room when it comes to the Dynamic Overclocking side of things.

There's little to dislike about the Palit JetStream GTX 680 4GB offering and even less to dislike when you throw a second into the mix. If you're serious about your gaming and you're going to be looking at gaming in Surround Vision or just 2560 x 1600 with the AA and AF detail cranked right up, then the 4GB offering is going to be something you probably want.

Of course if you're interested in saving some pennies and you're impressed with what the 2GB offerings did, then the Palit JetStream GTX 680 2GB card is also a great option and comes out a little faster out of the box thanks to the pre-overclock on offer from it, something that Palit skipped on the 4GB card.

With the recent announced price drops on the Radeon HD 7000 series by AMD, though, we find ourselves wondering if the GTX 680 is still as strong, this is considering for less you can now get your hands on a HD 7970.

While the decision isn't as clear cut as it was a few weeks ago, where we would have picked the GTX 680 almost every time, the GTX 680 in the end is the faster overall video card and if that's what you want from your single GPU video card, then the GTX 680 is probably still going to be the video card you want to buy no matter AMD's announcement.

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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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