Two overclocked flagship video cards go head to head one last time
Over the past year, the GeForce GTX 680 and the Radeon HD 7970 have served as the respective flagship GPUs for each of their camps, and even though both cards seem a bit like well-aged cheese by now, they are still fast. There have also been quite a few driver updates since these cards were released, so we've decided to pit two of the overclocked versions against one another in a battle royale to settle this feud once and for all. Fighters, touch circuit boards and come out of your PCI Express corners. It's time to get it on!
Note: This article originally appeared in the March issue of the magazine.
If you're building a silent PC, nothing beats a passively cooled GPU. Ditching all those spinning fans works wonders for noise levels! Unfortunately, most passively cooled video cards tend to be less-powerful models; with great power comes greater thermals, after all. Colorful, a Chinese graphics card maker, is bucking that trend and working hard to bring a fanless GTX 680 to the market.
For many would-be early adopters, trying to find a GTX 680 has been like trying to find a four-leaf clover; it can be done, but it takes some digging. Curious minds have wondered what the hold-up is. Manufacturing woes? Overbearing demand? We now have an idea. In a slide shown at an annual investors meeting, Nvidia claims that in the six weeks following the GTX 680's launch, it shipped and sold 60 percent more units than the GTX 580 did during its debut.
It's still a challenge finding one of Nvidia's Kepler infused GeForce GTX 680 graphics cards in stock and ready to ship, but one thing the new GPU series doesn't lack is third-party variation. Nvidia's GPU partners are putting their own stamp on the GTX 680 with custom coolers and, in some cases like the new DirectCU II TOP edition from Asus, custom designed PCBs as well.
Judging from the comments left on various articles, a lot of you have yet to bite into the juicy GTX 680 apple. Some of you flat-out can't find one available; others have been waiting for 4GB models to start rolling out. Good news for the latter camp: today, both Palit and Gainward announced the launch of new GTX 680s with 4GB of DRAM onboard. (You still probably won't be able to find them that easily, though!)
A couple of weeks ago EVGA rolled out one of the most generous hardware warranties we’ve seen, and if that’s been enough to propel them into your own personal NVidia OEM of choice, then get your wallets ready. The company has officially introduced new Kepler hardware, the GeForce GTX 680 SC Signature and GeForce GTX 680 SC Signature+.
Now that the Nvidia GTX 680 has (finally) hit the streets, manufacturers are tripping over themselves to release cards that somehow stand out from the pack. A lot of the time, that means a custom cooling system; last week alone we saw new GTX 680s from Palit and Gainward covered in fans and heatsinks, respectively. Now, EVGA is getting in on the fun with the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Hydro Copper, a card that comes equipped with a preinstalled waterblock and a big ole factory overclock.
We're starting to see some unique twists on Nvidia's recently launched GeForce GTX 680 graphics card, including a model from Gainward that's been outfitted with the company's new Phantom II cooler. According to Gainward, the new and improved Phantom II cooler offers better thermal performance, runs quieter, and is more structurally sound than the previous generation Phantom.
It's been exactly a week since Nvidia officially launched its Kepler architecture with the release of the GeForce GTX 680 GPU, and though parts are in short supply (a quick glance at Newegg shows that every single SKU is out of stock), manufacturers are nonetheless trying to stand out from the crowd. Palit's fashion statement comes in the form of a triple fan GeForce GTX 680 with alternating blade rotations.
Great news everyone, Kepler is here! Of course, you already knew that because you have MaximumPC.com bookmarked, right? And if you have MPC bookmarked, then you must have starting reading through our "Kepler Unveiled: Nvidia's GTX 680 Benchmarked In-Depth!" article (and if you haven't, be sure to check it out) the moment the NDA lifted this morning. But do you know which system builders are carrying them?