Nvidia delivers a juiced GK104 in the GeForce GTX 770
Today the embargo lifts on the second GeForce GTX 700 series GPU to be announced in a week's time; the Titan-cooled but GK104-powered GeForce GTX 770. Unlike the GTX 780 announced last week, this card does not use the monstrous GK110 GPU, but instead opts for a highly-clocked version of the GK104 chip found previously in the GTX 680, GTX 670, and GTX 660 Ti. It's the highest clocked-part of all of those cards though, and also has 7Gb/s memory instead of the 6Gb/s variety found in all the previous Kepler cards, giving it a signficant bump in memory bandwidth.
Today Nvidia pulls the wraps off its $650 GK110-based 700 series flagship card, the GeForce GTX 780. This board slides directly into the yawning chasm that exists between the $500 GK104-based GTX 680 and the $1,000 GK110-based GTX Titan, though despite its price it's actually much closer in specs and performance to the Titan than it is to the GTX 680.
If aliens ever land and say, “Take us to your single-GPU leader,” you’ll have to find a GTX Titan that’s available for a viewing. The Titan is without a doubt the fastest single-GPU card available today, but it’s not the fastest single video card, as that distinction still belongs to dual-GPU behemoths such as the Asus Ares II and the Nvidia GTX 690. A lot of people don’t enjoy messing with SLI and CrossFireX, though, and for them the Titan offers the highest level of performance possible at this time without any dual-card shenanigans. It also brings some new technology to the table, has a smaller form factor and lower TDP than the GTX 690, and includes heavily revamped tuning software designed for quiet operation, making it one of the most well-rounded and impressive GPU packages we’ve encountered in recent memory.
Note: This review was taken from the June 2013 issue of the magazine.
Nvidia’s GTX 690 finally has some serious competition
Today the embargo is lifting on the AMD Radeon HD 7990 that was teased back at GDC, so here’s the TLDR version; yes it’s just as fast and a tiny bit quieter than theNvidia GTX 690, and it includes a mega bad ass eight-AAA-game bundle and costs the same price as its nemesis, making it quite a tempting package for those with the budget for it. Whether or not that will be enough to convince anyone to actually buy it remains to be seen of course, but at least AMD can no longer be knocked for conceding the $1,000 GPU market to Nvidia. It also signifies somewhat of a resurgence for AMD, who first came off the bench late last year and early this year with its totally righteous Never Settle game bundles, then attacked the midrange recently with the surprisingly powerful and quiet Radeon HD 7790 card, and is now going for the jugular with the dual-slot and triple-fan HD 7990. Whether AMD wins or loses that battle is slightly less important than the overall significance of this introduction, as in our minds its designed to not only beat Nvidia’s offering, but also to send a very clear signal to hardcore PC enthusiasts everywhere — AMD is still in the game, and doesn’t intend to give an inch of ground to Nvidia any time soon.
When Nvidia launched the GTX 680 back in May it handily cleaned the AMD HD 7970’s clock, but that wasn’t enough for Nvidia (or us, to be honest). So Nvidia did what any rational power-hungry company would do, and married two GK104 GPUs to a single PCB, connected them with a 48-lane PLX PCIe 3.0 bridge chip and dubbed it the GTX 690. It currently reigns as the only current-gen dual-GPU card available since AMD’s dual HD 7970 card never officially materialized. Though we’ve reviewed the GTX 690 before, and also chose it for our lust-inspiring Dream Machine 2012, we had previously sampled the Asus board, so this month we’re checking out the other GeForce GTX 690, from EVGA. The two cards are clocked the same—slightly lower than a stock-clocked GTX 680 on each GPU—but the EVGA card is $50 less expensive.
Note: This review was taken from the January 2013 issue of the magazine.
Nvidia has been popping out Kepler cards like a circus clown car since the company launched its 6-series GPUs in early 2012, and now we finally reach the bottom of the GTX barrel with the $150 GTX 650 Ti. This card slots in right below the $230 GTX 660 and has less of everything—less CUDA, less memory (and a narrower memory bus width), and less PCB.
Note: This review was taken from the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
There are several ways to reconcile why PowerColor named its dual Radeon HD 7970 monstrosity the Devil 13. On the one hand, the card probably got its name from the fact that it’s an unholy abomination of GPU horsepower, combining two already-hot-running GPUs into one massive, inferno-producing card that gets as hot as Hades. On the other hand, perhaps its sinister moniker is due to the fact that this video card shouldn’t really exist, as AMD never produced one (even though we all expected it last summer.) PowerColor must have said, “Screw it, we’ll make it ourselves!” And thus the Card of Darkness was born; a rare, one-off, fire-breathing $1,000 concoction that flies in the face of power, heat, and cost concerns. And since this is Maximum PC, all we can say is, “Hell yes.”
MSI’s GTX 660 is an all-around great card that includes a healthy dollop of overclocking and a side of Frozr to keep it cool. Its base clock speed is a decent 53MHz over stock at 1,033Mhz, and when running at full load we saw its boost clock speed rise 130MHz over stock to 1,110MHz, which is also higher than the stock boost-clock spec. The Twin Frozr III cooler sports three copper heat pipes, aluminum fins, and dual 8cm fans housed in a metal-alloy shroud to direct the airflow. Like the other GTX 660 cards, it uses just a single 6-pin power connector, but unlike the others it sports an extra-long 9-inch PCB (Gigabyte’s board is just 7.5 inches but the cooler is actually 9 inches long).
Gigabyte’s GTX 660 is similar to MSI’s board in that it’s overclocked and has a cooler with a silly name—Windforce. The board is clocked at the same base and boost clock speeds as the MSI card, too, running at 1,033MHz and 1,098MHz, respectively. The cooler features four copper heat pipes, aluminum fins, and two large 10cm fans breathing down on the whole shebang. Even though the board sports a smallish 7.5-inch PCB, the cooling apparatus is so large that it’s 2-inches longer than the PCB and extends the length of the card to 9.5 inches. With a cooler this large you expect it to perform quite well, and it does. It kept the card absolutely silent even when the board was being tortured in the Lab, and allowed it to run at a moderately cool 63 C under full load.
Though the EVGA GTX 660 Ti looks like a reference card don’t let its standard-looking cooling shroud fool you. This is certainly an overclocked card, though its overclock is the most modest in this grouping at just 65MHz above reference speeds. Its Boost Clock frequency is also lower than the other cards at just 1,059MHz. The board features a very short 7” circuit board, compared to over 9 inches on the other cards, but its extra-long cooling shroud makes the card just as big and long as the others.