Value and Conclusion
|9.6||The GeForce GTX 770 is another cornerstone for the foundation of a strong GeForce 700 Series. The new card is largely based on last generation's GeForce GTX 680, but improves upon it by running higher GPU and memory clocks, and adding NVIDIA's GPU Boost 2.0 algorithm. The memory chips have been upgraded to a fast 7 Gbps; this is the first time we see such memory used on a graphics card. Such memory allows NVIDIA to run significantly higher memory clocks, which directly translates into a performance improvement. Visually, NVIDIA has chosen to use a cooler that's similar to the GTX Titan's, which is definitely a pretty sight.|
Gigabyte's GTX 770 WindForce OC is overclocked out the box by almost 100 MHz, which provides a nice performance boost. Unfortunately, memory is not overclocked, which would have been easy given how well the new 7 Gbps memory chips overclock in our testing. In terms of performance, we see the GeForce GTX 770 beat the GeForce GTX 670 by about 16%, and the improvement over the GTX 680 is 10%. Compared to the recently released GTX 780, the card is 8% slower, which still makes the GTX 780 a significant upgrade (at much higher cost, though), especially when looking at factory-overclocked GTX 780 cards. The GTX 770 easily beats the more expensive Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition with an 11% performance lead. The new GPU Boost 2.0 algorithm focuses more on operating temperatures, so the card's clocks will be reduced once it reaches 80°C. Gigabyte's custom cooler ensures the card never hits that limit, which results in higher performance delivered.
Being based on the GK104 graphics processor, it's not surprising that we see maximum overclocking results similar to other GK104 cards like the GTX 680 and GTX 670. The new memory chips are great overclockers that set new records, though; we reached well over 2000 MHz actual memory clock on the tested cards, which is a good 200 MHz higher than anything we've ever seen before.
We first met the Gigabyte WindForce 3X cooler on the company's GTX 780 and found it to be a solid design that keeps the card cool easily while provides decent noise levels. The GTX 770 WindForce OC is no different, but the improvement over the reference design cooler is, nevertheless, not that big because NVIDIA's cooler is already quite good. In idle, the card is nearly inaudible, which will be a blessing for your ears while not gaming. The card is definitely not whisper quiet under heavy loads, but it is one of the quietest options in this performance segment. Faster NVIDIA cards, like the GTX 780 and TITAN, are not much noisier either.
Gaming power consumption is reasonable; slightly below the GTX 680—as expected. Non-gaming power consumption has been advanced further by adding a new clock state that runs 135 MHz GPU clock, which is a good improvement over the 300 MHz we've seen before. This move helps NVIDIA gain even more of an advantage over AMD; AMD definitely needs to improve in this area.
NVIDIA's MSRP for the GTX 770 is $399, which positively surprised me when I first heard of it. Given the pricing history of the GTX Titan and GTX 780, everyone probably expected another overpriced card that will touch your wallet inappropriately. Gigabyte tells us that their card will retail for $425, which is not unreasonable, but still feels like a bit much. I could imagine many people already eyeing the reference design for its looks, so custom boards should offer some price incentive if they replace the expensive NVIDIA cooler with a custom design. NVIDIA's $400 price point is a great choice for taking this segment by storm. With current pricing, AMD is not competitive at all. The Radeon HD 7970 is slightly cheaper, but much slower, and the HD 7970 GHz Edition is more expensive and slower. Both AMD cards also lose to NVIDIA's recent offerings when looking at power consumption and noise. The only thing they bring to the table is the rich Never Settle game bundle. The GTX 770 will also affect NVIDIA's own lineup. The GTX 680 is suddenly completely undesirable at its current price, and I would buy the GTX 770 over the GTX 670 any day if the GTX 670 remains at a $370 price point, but even "last-generation" GTX 600 Series cards could become an interesting buy if NVIDIA pulls off price reductions across a wider range of products. It's not like the GTX 700 adds any essential features that gamers will miss out on by buying older GeForce cards.