NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 670 2GB Video Card Performance Preview

We bench the NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 670 video card well ahead of launch date. We really don't need to say much more than that. So come and check it out!

13 minutes & 16 seconds read time


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We meet again! If you want to know about the background as to why we're bringing you a review of the upcoming NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 670 today and not in five days when the model officially launches, then I highly recommend you read our opening page on the GEFORCE GTX 680 along with our news post on why we didn't get a GTX 690.

Here's something you probably didn't know, though. No one really likes dealing with NVIDIA. Speaking to manufacturers, Tier 2 and Tier 3 partners tell us how poorly they're treated by NVIDIA and Tier 1 partners find them extremely overbearing and dislike the pressure that NVIDIA put on them.

Companies actually dislike NVIDIA so much that they're willing to walk down stairs, or maybe upstairs, to their R and D department and sign out a video card to send to us. They ask just one thing from us. Never tell anyone where it came from. That's fine with us and that's the reason we won't be including any pictures. The video card we have has too many manufacturer markings that we couldn't keep its identity a secret, so we just decided not to include any pictures at all.

Before we move onto our test system and cover some of the main specifications in regards to the GTX 670, I just want to take a moment for people to understand there's no relationship between us and NVIDIA. They're too busy to meet or even respond to our emails, I'm too annoyed (annoyed is putting it in the kindest of terms) at them to just sit back and go along with the samples I have. WE ARE NOT UNDER NDA FROM NVIDIA. Again, we'll repeat, NVIDIA would actually have to communicate with us for there to be an NDA.

Instead I put time and effort to bring you the latest happenings on their video cards before launch. For the most part our readers appreciate it, partners don't really care if it doesn't come back to them and NVIDIA won't talk to us so that's kind of irrelevant.

Anyway that kind of covers what we need to say, we'll quickly look at the test system on the next page and cover some of the core specifications. From there we'll just get into the performance side of things and see what the upcoming GTX 670 is capable of before we finally wrap everything up. So with haste, let's move on.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Specifications

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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.

As far as the testbed goes there are no surprises as usual. We've got our typical X79 setup that we've been using since the launch of Sandy Bridge-E. As for the video cards we'll be using today we've of course got the new GTX 670 at its reference clock speeds which we will discuss in just a minute.

We've also got the older GTX 580 and the original GTX 680. Because that was on a slightly older driver we've also included the GTX 680 4GB from Palit which will give us a better idea of stock performance with the most recent driver as we know the extra memory doesn't make too much of a difference at most resolutions.

Along with those cards we've got the HD 7950 and HD 7970 which is of course the main competition to the new GTX 600 series cards along with the older dual GPU HD 6990 from AMD to round out the selection today.

Before we get into the testing side of things, though, we want to just take a quick look at the specifications of the video card here today. Looking below we can see there's 1344 Unified Shaders present, this is slightly down on the 1536 offered by the GTX 680. We can see 32 ROPs are present like the GTX 680 and the memory bus also lines up coming in at 256-bit.

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As for clocks the core comes in slightly lower at 915MHz while the 2GB of GDDR5 actually carries the same 6008MHz QDR clock as its big brother. For the most part there's not a whole lot of difference between the two cards. What will separate them is the Shaders ultimately. As you can see in the GPU-Z screenshot above, we blocked out some information to protect the company who sent us the video card.

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

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

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 performance is really strong on the upcoming GTX 670. Compared to the AMD offerings you can see here that we've got no problem taking out the HD 7970.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com

Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

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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Moving into Heaven we see strong performance again and you can see it leaves the older GTX 580 for dead with huge gains over it. We're also again ahead of the HD 7970 at both resolution and really not all that far behind the GTX 680.

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

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx

Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/

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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Looking at H.A.W.X. 2 performance you can see it's extremely strong across the board and again has no issue dealing with both AMD Radeon HD 7900 series offerings.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/

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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We've got great FPS at all resolutions under Mafia II and we're ahead of the HD 7970 at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. When we move to 2560 x 1600, the HD 7970 manages to take the lead, but it's only by 3 FPS.

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

Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

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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Looking at the ever intensive Lost Planet 2 we can just see great performance period out of the GTX 670 with playable FPS at every resolution including the intensive 2560 x 1600 option.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/

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 continues to be a game where we see NVIDIA consistently trail AMD. You can see even the GTX 680 can't break the 60 FPS barrier. We've again got very strong performance, it's just not as strong as we'd like.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used:

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

Developer Homepage: http://www.eidos.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.justcause.com/

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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Here we see strong performance, playable FPS across the board and a lead over the flagship HD 7970 from AMD.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

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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Looking at Metro 2033 we can see that the HD 7970 and GTX 670 perform extremely close to each other with the GTX 670 sneaking out ahead at 1680 x 1050 and falling a little behind at 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - Dirt 3

Dirt 3

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.dirt3game.com/

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 performance again favors the GTX 670 over the HD 7970. Considering this is only the second best single GPU option from NVIDIA, AMD are probably going to be a little worried.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01

Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/

Buy It Here

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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No surprise with the Far Cry 2 numbers, strong performance across the board with the HD 7970 and GTX 670 fighting it out at the highest resolution.

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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Across our AA tests we've got some great performance, but again see Aliens vs. Predator is a little bit of a struggle for NVIDIA with FPS just below that target point.

Far Cry 2 and Mafia II show great performance, though.

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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Looking at power draw we're sitting at just over 400 watts. Like most video cards in the latest generation, power numbers are impressive under load.

Final Thoughts

My personal issues with NVIDIA and the issues that TweakTown on a whole have pushed right aside, the GEFORCE GTX 670 is just an awesome video card that is going to be a serious headache for AMD. The performance of the video card is really quite crazy and the fact that this is the second option for NVIDIA when it comes to single GPU video cards is bad for AMD when it has no issue competing with their strongest option; the HD 7970.

This is actually our second GEFORCE GTX 670 we have on hand as well, we've got a full retail option from someone that we'll show you on the 10th when the model officially launches. The reference based design, though, is looking good for NVIDIA and could be a clear option for people who don't want to spend big money.

To be completely honest, there's not really much more that needs to be said about the video card. Of course we're only covering the performance today so there's no bundle or anything like that to talk about. We don't have any pricing from NVIDIA so there's not much to say in that area either.

We of course know it will come in cheaper than the GTX 680 and considering the price point that hits at, we're fairly comfortable in saying that the GTX 670 is going to be a really well valued video card.

Keep an eye out for the official launch next week when we check out our first retail option. For now, though, that really wraps everything up. Again NVIDIA has done a good job with the GTX 670 and we look forward to seeing what their partners offer us in the coming weeks and months.

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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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