Despite its 12.5 per cent reduction in stream processors and lower base clock, the GTX 670 2GB proved to only be between 5-10 per cent slower than its much more expensive sibling, the GTX 680 2GB. This is no doubt due to the card’s more aggressive use of GPU Boost, as we saw our review sample reach core frequencies of up between 1,045Mhz and 1,084MHz during testing.
In ARMA 2
this saw a minimum frame rate of 56fps at 1,920 x 1,080 with 4xAA and 32fps at 2,560 x 1,600 with 4x AA, both results just 5-6 per cent behind that of the GTX 680 2GB, although also the same, or slower than the Radeon HD 7950 3GB in the same tests.
However, ARMA 2 is the only game where the 7950 3GB comes close to matching the performance of the GTX 670 2GB. In Battlefield 3
its minimum frame rate at 1,920 x 1,080 with 4x AA is an excellent 60fps, 6 per cent slower than a stock GTX 680 2GB and convincingly faster than even the HD 7970 3GB, which manages a minimum of 52fps in the same test.
The GTX 670 2GB is around 5-10 per cent slower than a GTX 680 2GB
also sees the GTX 670 2GB out-perform the HD 7970 3GB. At 2,560 x 1,600 with 4x AA its minimum frame rate of 67fps is 11 per cent behind that of the GTX 680 2GB, but four per cent higher than that of the HD 7970 3GB. At 1,920 x 1,080 with 4x AA, the difference is closer to an amazing 20 per cent.
Finally, in Skyrim
, the Nvidia cards again hold a decisive advantage. At 1,920 x 1,080 with 4x AA the GTX 670 2GB produced a minimum frame rate of 89fps, to the HD 7970 3GB’s 77fps and HD 7950 3GB’s 73fps.
Despite this excellent 3D performance, the 670 2GB is also well behaved when it comes to power and thermals
. A peak system power consumption of 230W is 26W lower than that of the GTX 680 2GB and roughly the same as the HD 7950 3GB, while a peak load delta T of 55°C is in line with the rest of the GTX 6-series, which spin up their cooling fans to maintain temperatures below 80°C.
However, the less complex cooler was a little noisier than that of the GTX 680 2GB, although it still remained fairly un-intrusive throughout our testing.
Most board partners will lead with their own custom PCB and pre-overclocked versions, such as these from Asus (left) and Gainward (right)
Really, it’s hard to argue against the qualities of the GTX 670 2GB. Despite costing 25 per cent less than a GTX 680 2GB, it delivers frame rates that are only between 5-10 per cent lower, and which still manage to largely surpass those of the Radeon competition. It’s also a smaller, more power efficient card into the bargain.
At £330 for basic models, the GTX 670 2GB also asks some hard questions of AMD when it comes to value; the HD 7970 3GB still sells for around £400, while the HD 7950 3GB will set you back around £330 at time of writing; we’d regard the GTX 670 2GB as superior to both at single-screen resolutions, and even equal to the HD 7970 3GB when it comes to three-screen performance.
In short then, it’s another win for Nvidia, although it’s still only the high-end customers that are seeing these benefits. We’re still waiting for that £200 mid-range 6-series card, but if the GTX 670 2GB is anything to go by, it’ll hopefully be worth the wait.