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 merely is 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, ther'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 just like the GTX 780 we just reviewed, NVIDIA for the GTX 770 applied their all new cooling solution and that certainly shows, the looks remain terrific similar to the GTX 690, 780 and Titan really. The GeForce GTX logo on top some might dislike, it surely doesn't bother me though and that see-through Plexiglas in the cooler makes it look quite nice. So I think everybody will agree with me it's just a great looking and very sturdy product. The card itself is a dual-slot solution and the cooling is vapor chamber based, in fact the card remains fairly silent which was a pleasant surprise alright. The fan Plexiglas is being used so you can actually look into the cooler's aluminum fins. The fan is outfitted with a special design, its airflow is carefully directed to take in air from the PC and exhaust it outside the PC, in order to optimize cooling efficiency while minimizing noise causing restrictions.
Cooling & Noise Levels
As you have been able to see in the our test sessions, the cooler does its job really well. With the cooler the GPU try and reach the official temperature target of 80 degrees C. Most of you would however prefer something a little lower and the board partners will offer a wide varyity of GTX 770 cards with custom coolers. If you get a reference model, you can obviously change the temperature target of the fan RPM yourself. But at 80 degrees C and at that level the noise levels are just fine. Really, with one card installed you are absolutely fine. In idle you barely can hear the cooling solution and under stress, well you can hear some airflow and that's it. Perfectly fine would sum it up well.
Again not bad, the card is rated at as having a 230 Watt TDP. That 250 Watt TDP also will make running multi-GPU solutions a bit more easy. With two card 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'lll 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).
GeForce GTX 770 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 boost frequency straight out of the box. As a result the card is boosting to 1085 MHz 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 1200 MHz fairly easily really. We had great results allowing this card to run stable at just over 1250 to almost 1300 MHz.
The GeForce GTX 770 overall is a little weird, as the product tested really is all too familiar. Sure it has different (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. 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). The performance of the GeForce GTX 770 is nothing to complain about, in fact at 1920x1200 this might be the best card for the money if you are looking for some brute horsepower in the high-end segment. Overall definitely recommended if you are on the lookout for nice upgrade over say the GTX 500 series.
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