After NVIDIA scored a big technological victory over AMD in terms of performance-per-watt and pure performance with its "Kepler" GPU architecture, and AMD's rather lukewarm response to the GeForce GTX 600 series coupled with the company's intention not to launch its next GPU generation until much later this year (think X'mas), it was only natural of NVIDIA to milk its existing GK104 silicon for another generation of GeForce GTX products, with a few superficial additions. The GeForce GTX 770 we have with us today is the first of many such products in NVIDIA's pipeline over the next few months.
The 2880-core GK110 was always going to be the most flexible chip for NVIDIA. With GK104 beating AMD's "Tahiti" in single-GPU performance and efficiency, the GK110 never had to feature in the GeForce GTX 600 series. It made its consumer debut with only 2688 enabled cores on the GeForce GTX TITAN, and warranted a $1000 price point, which went on to make the $650 the 2304-core GeForce GTX 780 commanded look good. The rest of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 700 series product stack is in for a pseudo-upgrade. The GeForce GTX 770 looks a lot like the GeForce GTX 680 on paper, and it is rumored that the GeForce GTX 760 Ti could bear a similar resemblance to the GeForce GTX 670, the GTX 760 to the GTX 660 Ti, and so on. I call this card a pseudo-upgrade because its specification increases don't come at the same price. The GTX 770 is priced roughly on par with the GTX 680, and other models in the series could feature similar pricing trends.
To be fair to NVIDIA, the GeForce GTX 770 isn't a complete and utter rebranding of the GeForce GTX 680 (à la GeForce 8800 GT to 9800 GT). Sure, it is driven by the same GK104 silicon with the same exact core configuration of 1536 cores, 128 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide memory interface; but it features a different reference-design PCB that comes with a stronger VRM to support higher clock speeds, and the new GPU Boost 2.0 technology. The similarities the GTX 770 bears to the GTX 680 are in that sense more along the lines of those between the GeForce 8800 GTS-512 and GeForce 9800 GTX.
The GeForce GTX 770 ships with the highest reference clock speeds of any NVIDIA GPU to date. Its core is clocked at 1046 MHz, with a GPU Boost frequency of 1085 and a blisteringly fast 7.00 GHz memory that churns out 224 GB/s of memory bandwidth. The card features 2 GB of memory, but 4 GB variants could come out pretty soon.
In this review, we're testing the premium GeForce GTX 770 offering of ASUS, the GTX 770 DirectCU II OC. The card features a strong 10-phase VRM and the same dual-slot DirectCU II cooling solution we've seen with some of the later batches of the GTX 680 DirectCU II OC. The cooler uses a densly finned aluminum heatsink with 8 mm thick heat pipes out of nickel-plated copper making direct contact with the GPU, hence the name.
GTX 770 Market Segment Analysis
| ||GeForce |
GTX 660 Ti
|ASUS GTX |
770 DC II
| HD 7970|
|Graphics Processor||GF110||GK104||GK104||Tahiti||GK104||GK104||Tahiti||GK104||GK110|| GK110|
|Memory Size||1280 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||3072 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||3072 MB||2048 MB||3072 MB||6144 MB|
|Memory Bus Width||320 bit||192 bit||256 bit||384 bit||256 bit||256 bit||384 bit||256 bit||384 bit||384 bit|
|Core Clock||732 MHz||915 MHz+||915 MHz+||925 MHz||1046 MHz+||1059 MHz+||1050 MHz||1006 MHz+||863 MHz+||837 MHz+|
|Memory Clock||950 MHz||1502 MHz||1502 MHz||1375 MHz||1753 MHz||1753 MHz||1500 MHz||1502 MHz||1502 MHz||1502 MHz|