Inno3D GeForce GTX 770 iChill HerculeZ X3 Ultra review

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So what did you think of that ? Impressive stuff, huh?

First a bit of a warning though. If you seek a HerculeZ in the stores or online and you want to purchase one, then be aware of the fact that there is a two fan (HerculeZ 2000) and three fan (HerculeZ X3) model. So before you hit that 'buy now' button be sure you have selected the right model, okay? There is a huge difference. Here again the fact remains that the GeForce GTX 770 is a GeForce GTX 680 in disguise, and overall you are looking at a performance differential of 15% 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. All fact combined though do make me say this, it's a great card to get your gaming freak on.

Aesthetics & cooling

Inno3D applied their HerculeZ X3 cooler solution which dramatically improves cooling performance. It is just so much better than reference cooling. The reference product operates at 80 degrees C, cooled with the HerculeZ X3 we didn't even pass 55 Degrees C as highest logged entry after finishing up our entire benchmark suite. So yeah, Inno3D GeForce GTX 770 iChill HerculeZ X3 Ultra is nearly retarded in terms of how good it is. The looks can be frowned upon by some of you I guess. Sure it's big and bulky but the cooling performance is exemplary and not one of the competition's cooling solution can really perform at the levels of this magnitude. So that is a trade-off. Overall though we fee the card looks great. The Ichill HerculeZ LED lit logo on top of the card is a little too much though. Perhaps Inno3D should consider to just display the iChill logo, no text, for future revisions. Subtlety is always better as it should not be an advertising billboard.


Power consumption

Again not bad, but not great either, the card is rated at as having a 230 Watts TDP. That 250 Watts 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 Watts, 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 Watts / 250 Watts 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).

Game performance

Most GeForce GTX 770 cards in most scenarios will be 15% to 25% slower than the GTX 780, comparing towards GTX 680 it seems give or take 10% to 15% 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. Company of Heroes 2 pushes out 51 FPS on average at 1920x1200 with Very high image quality settings. Or what about Hitman Absolution with 62 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. The overclock itself is impressive, however and again we do keep repeating this NVIDIAs power, temperature and voltage restrictions cause the issue that all board partners are fighting, they all clock roughly the same when tweaked. The threshold seems to be 1250 to 1300 MHz on the boost clock. The new boost modes can now be configured with temperature targets relative to maximum power draw and your GPU Core frequency offsets. Saying that I realize it 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've added another 10% performance already (over a reference GTX 770). We had great results allowing this card to run stable at just over 1300 MHz. I'm not complaining here as that's a fantastic clock frequency, but its pretty much the same for all cards from all brands with any cooler, unless you hack your way into higher GPU voltages.




Next to the MSI Ligthing edition, the Inno3D GeForce GTX 770 iChill HerculeZ X3 Ultra is probably among my top 2 GTX 770 cards. This 400 EUR product is massively impressive in terms of performance. It comes factory overclocked at a fairly high level, it does not make any noise and doesn't get any hotter than 55 Degrees C whilst gaming. That is just a sure win combo. The downside is the three-slot width of the product, but it is a trade-off that I'd be willing to make really fast and easily as that disadvantage does not outweigh the huge benefits. Simply put, Inno3D does have a winner on their hands. They already tweaked the card for you and is just a real treat to have in your PC; a small feast even. It's silent and is closing in on the all new GTX 780. We have no hesitation to recommend the product to you if you are in the market for a nice performance upgrade. We feel the price-tag is very fair for a product of this statue. Yeah in this case bigger is most definitely better, we give the Inno3D GeForce GTX 770 iChill HerculeZ X3 Ultra edition graphics card our Top pick award. Well done, Inno3D!

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