The GeForce GTX 680 is the latest and greatest graphics processor from NVIDIA, using a new architecture called “Kepler,” a new manufacturing process (28 nm), a dynamic overclocking technology, and supporting the PCI Express 3.0 specification.
EVGA offers four different video cards based on the GeForce GTX 680; we summarize the difference between them in the table below. (All have 2 GB of GDDR5 memory.) The “SC+ w/Backplate” model comes with a plate protecting the solder side of the printed circuit board, a feature not available on the regular model. The “Hydro Copper” model comes with a cold plate for liquid cooling solutions. We reviewed the plain GeForce GTX 680, which uses the NVIDIA reference clocks.
|Video Card||Part Number||Core Clock||Memory Clock (Effective)||Memory Transfer Rate||MSRP in the U.S.|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 680||02G-P4-2680-KR||1,006 MHz||6,008 MHz||192.2 GB/s||USD 500|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked||02G-P4-2682-KR||1,058 MHz||6,208 MHz||198.7 GB/s||USD 520|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 680 SC+ w/Backplate||02G-P4-2684-KR||1,058 MHz||6,208 MHz||198.7 GB/s||USD 530|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Hydro Copper||02G-P4-2689-KR||1,150 MHz||6,300 MHz||201.6 GB/s||USD 700|
The GeForce GTX 680 is a dynamic overclocking technology that increases the graphic chip’s clock from 1,006 MHz up to 1,058 MHz when more processing power is demanded. Because of the new manufacturing process, the maximum power consumed by the video card dropped from 244 W on the GeForce GTX 580 (which uses the 40 nm manufacturing process) to 195 W, while processing power increased.
In the table below, we compare the main specifications of the video cards included in our review. Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review, do not include rebates, and are for the video cards with the configurations listed below (i.e., no factory overclocking). With the launch of the GeForce GTX 680, the price of the GeForce GTX 580 dropped from USD 500 to USD 420, and many users are speculating whether or not AMD will drop the price of the Radeon HD 7970.
|Video Card||Core Clock||Shader Clock||Memory Clock (Effective)||Memory Interface||Memory Transfer Rate||Memory||Shaders||DirectX||PCI-E||Price|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 680||1,006 MHz||NA||6,008 MHz||256-bit||192.2 GB/s||2 GB GDDR5||1,536||11||3.0||USD 500|
|GeForce GTX 580||772 MHz||1,544 MHz||4,008 MHz||384-bit||192.4 GB/s||1.5 GB GDDR5||512||11||2.0||USD 420|
|Radeon HD 7970||925 MHz||925 MHz||5.5 GHz||384-bit||264 GB/s||3 GB GDDR5||2,048||11.1||3.0||USD 530-550|
NVIDIA also offers a 3 GB version of the GeForce GTX 580 (currently around USD 490, down from between USD 530 and USD 590 in December 2011), but we didn’t have one to include in our comparison.
Today, only the LGA2011 Core i7 processors (“Sandy Bridge-E”) have a PCI Express 3.0 controller. In our Radeon HD 7970 review, we discovered that, at this time, there is no difference between using a PCI Express 2.0 or a PCI Express 3.0 connection. We also discovered that if you are using a high-end video card, the CPU doesn’t affect gaming performance.
Now let’s take a complete look at the EVGA GeForce GTX 680.