NVIDIA Kepler GPU GeForce GTX 680 Video Card Review

The silicon we have all been waiting for is here. NVIDIA is launching its next generation GeForce GTX 680 video card, poised with the new flagship GPU from NVIDIA. Can it compete with AMD's Radeon HD 7970? We were somewhat amazed at how this NVIDIA GPU does when it comes to gaming, pricing, efficiency, and features.


Battlefield 3 with NV Surround

We are using the downloaded version of Battlefield 3 via Origin. This game supports two different antialiasing methods, traditional MSAA via the "Deferred AA" option and a shader based FXAA via the "Post AA" option. We evaluate the highest playable gameplay settings and take into account performance and image quality, striving for the best. In that regard, we will use whatever the appropriate AA setting, or combination of AA settings, are best for the video cards being used. Our testing procedure and evaluation of graphics features in BF3 are explained in our Battlefield 3 Gameplay Performance and IQ evaluation. We are using the latest patch for this game.

Triple Display NV Surround and AMD Eyefinity

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Battlefield 3 is demanding even on the newest generation video cards when running at 5760x1200 on a single-GPU. While performance has greatly improved from the last generation, with both the Radeon HD 7970 and GeForce GTX 680 we have to back off one of the in-game settings in order to get playable performance in this game.

We found that both the Radeon HD 7970 and GeForce GTX 680 were playable at 5760x1200 with "Ultra" settings and FXAA, as long as we reduced Ambient Occlusion to SSAO. With the default, and highest quality option, HBAO enabled performance was sluggish and laggy on both video cards at this resolution. HBAO caused a severe performance penalty. When we reduced the quality down to SSAO, performance picked up and the game was playable. There is a slight performance edge towards the GTX 680.

Apples-to-Apples Performance

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For the apples-to-apples test we really wanted to push the video cards to the breaking point and compare how well these perform. For this test we ran at 5760x1200 and turned on HBAO. This pushed the performance to unplayable levels on both video cards. The GTX 680 is able to hold on to a slight lead over the HD 7970 at these extreme settings for the most part.