The release of the GeForce GTX 770 is a little bit of a weird one, really this is a GeForce GTX 680 in disguise. Now there's nothing wrong with that as it is merely a refresh of an existing product line. The GTX 680 has been a real powerhouse in performance and to date can keep up in the high-end range of dedicated graphics cards. The reality of course for those that have purchased a GTX 680, there's no reason to upgrade whatsoever. Overall you are looking at a performance differential of 10% in favor of the GTX 770. The GTX 770 is faster thanks to a higher standard clock and memory frequency. But it's the same performance as a slightly tweaked GTX 680. What will be interesting to see is how this GTX 770 is going to cannibalize the GTX 680 sales. So keep a close eye on price development. Now I do not want to cast a negative cloud on the GTX 770 as really, it's a great product to have in your PC. So the MSRP pricing for GTX 770 overall is EUR 329.00 excl. VAT, which means roughly 395 EUR / USD depending on your country. And that's quite honestly a very reasonable price, especially when you consider that it is the suggested retail price. Shave off another 15% in about four weeks and that will be the final pricing (roughly).
Interesting is this release of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 WindForce 3x OC edition which you can find under SKU/product code GV-N770OC-2GD. It's tweakable, silent and comes with kick-ass looks. Let's zoom in a little at some of it's aspects.
So just like the GTX 780 we just reviewed, Gigabyte again applied their WindForce 3x solution. This revision is a slim dual-slot solution and I think it just looks great. The PCB seems to follow the reference though it's been baked, fried and served at the Gigabyte factory alright. Then the cooler in its all black design combined with the dark PCB, that's just great looking. Combine it with the three silent fans and it's a good looking package alright. Great looking and very sturdy I must state as well, and again we spot a metal plate at the top of the card so it can not bend whilst mounted horizontally in your chassis.
Cooling and noise levels
As you have been able to see in our test sessions, the cooler does its job really well. With the WindForce 3x cooler the GPU will get 450W of cooling power thrown at it. As a result the 'official' temperature target might remain 80 degrees C, but we have never seen the card pass 67 Degrees. BTW unlike some other websites, we do not fire off pointless viral-like applications like Furmark to test temperatures. We simply log the temperatures during our benchmark sessions and take the highest recorded temperature. So with the low temperatures comes an added benefit, the dynamic clock frequency will go higher up to the point it reached its power target of 230 Watt. And if you wonder about noise ... honestly you can hardly hear this card, which is great.
Again not bad, the card is rated at as having a 230 Watt TDP. That 250 Watt TDP will also make running multi-GPU solutions a bit easier. With two cards we think an 800 Watt PSU would be sufficient. So yeah, it's not great to have a GPU sucking up 230 Watt, but you'll agree with us that it could have been a lot worse, really. If you look at the dual-GPU based ARES II for example, that card alone draws 500 Watt / 250 Watt per GPU. So, perspective is the word I like you to keep in mind. Mind you that our measurements show that the card is just under 200 Watts of power consumption mostly (under stress).
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 WindForce 3x OC in most scenarios will be 15% to 25% slower than the GTX 780, comparing towards GTX 680 it seems give or take 10% faster. Drivers wise we can't complain at all, we did not stumble into any issues. And with a single GPU there's no micro-stuttering (if that ever bothered you) and no multi-GPU driver issues to fight off. Performance wise really there's not one game that won't run seriously good at the very best image quality settings. The one title that is a little icky is Metro Last Light, just disable SSAA as the game already applies and enforces in-game AAA. Gaming you must do with a nice 30" monitor of course, at 2560x1440/1600. I mean Sleeping Dogs at high quality is still oozing out 88 FPS there. Or what about Hitman Absolution with 45 FPS at 1920x1200 High quality and 2xMSAA? At these resolutions the GeForce GTX 770 offers just a phenomenal gaming experience with image quality that you can only get on a PC.
Overclocking then, I find it impressive. First off, the card already has a very nice factory overclock straight out of the box. As a result the card is boosted to 1198 already. A thing or two have changed, the new boost modes now also can be configured with temperature targets relative to maximum power draw and your GPU Core frequency offsets. Saying that I realize it's sounds complicated, but you'll have your things balanced out quite fast. This GPU can take 1250 MHz fairly easily really, and at that stage you added another 10% performance already (over reference GTX 770). We had great results allowing this card to run stable at just over 1300 MHz.
The GeForce GTX 770 overall is a little weird, as the product tested really is all too familiar. Sure it has difference (improved) looks and cooling. But the heart of the GTX 770 is the GTX 680, combined with a small tweak on the baseclock clock frequency and memory it brings in a nice 10% gain in performance. The decisive factor obviously is going to be pricing. The performance of the GeForce GTX 770 is nothing to complain about, in fact at 1920x1200 this might be the best card for the roughly 395 EUR you need to pay for it, if you are looking for some brute horsepower in the high-end segment.
Gigabyte gave the product some extra TLC with the Gigabyte GTX 770 Windforce 3X OC edition, this card is a real treat. It's extremely silent and is closing in on the all new GTC 780. The higher factory clocks are just really good and next to that there still remains to be room left for tweaking allowing this product to reach the 1250 to 1300 MHz fairly easily. We have no hesitation to recommend the product to you if you are in the market for a nice performance upgrade. We reward the Gigabyte GTX 770 Windforce 3X OC 2GB edition with our top pick award, well deserved. Nice job Gigabyte ! Once it is available in the stores then please be careful, there will be a normal and an OC edition, our sample is the GV-N770OC-2GD SKU.
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