Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 review

Price when reviewed

In Just Cause 2 at 2,560 x 1,600, the GTX 680’s 116fps was far better than the 70fps of the HD 7970. Our final games test, DiRT 3, saw similar gaps: at 2,560 x 1,600 the GTX 680 scored 75fps to the HD 7970’s 55fps.

Theoretical tests also highlighted the power on offer. In the TessMark tessellation benchmark the GTX 680 ran at 288fps, with the HD 7970 trailing at 79fps. In ShaderToyMark, designed to test shader performance, its 26fps bettered the AMD’s 18fps. And the GTX 680’s overall score of X2744 in 3DMark 11 beats the HD 7970’s X2720.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 680

All these speed advantages are achieved while also being more efficient. With the GTX 680 installed, our Core i7-3960X test rig hit a stress-test peak of 303W; lower than the 339W with the HD 7970 plugged in. A peak temperature of 81°C is nothing to worry about, and that figure will fluctuate depending on the coolers installed on partner cards.

Finally, a 257mm length means it won’t trouble decent-sized enclosures, and it takes two six-pin power plugs rather than the eight-pin plugs used on AMD’s high-end cards.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 680

With all this benchmark success, you might expect Nvidia’s new monster to be far more expensive than its AMD rival, but that isn’t the case. The GTX 680 has an SRP of £430 but you’ll likely be able to get hold of the card for less, while the cheapest HD 7970 cards have trickled down to around £400 since launch. Given the results we’ve seen it would need a price drop on AMD’s part to make it an even contest.

Until that happens, the high-end graphics card buying decision is a no-brainer. The GTX 680 is far quicker than the HD 7970 in the majority of our tests, and manages to be more efficient at the same time. Nvidia kept us waiting for Kepler, but now that it’s here you needn’t look anywhere else.

Core Specifications

Graphics card interface PCI Express 3.0
Cooling type Active
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX 680
Core GPU frequency 1,006MHz
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type GDDR5

Standards and compatibility

DirectX version support 11.0
Shader model support 5.0


DVI-I outputs 2
DVI-D outputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
HDMI outputs 1
7-pin TV outputs 0
Graphics card power connectors 2 x 6-pin


3D performance (crysis) low settings 189fps
3D performance (crysis), medium settings 118fps
3D performance (crysis) high settings 94fps

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