Introduction and benchmarks
Nvidia has just released its second tier Kepler graphics card and the Zotac GTX 670 AMP! Edition is first to the punch trying to muscle in on the top-table.
The standard Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 is quite a performer in its own right, with the same GK104 GPU as in the top Kepler card, the Nvidia GTX 680. That chip has only been slightly pared-back with a single SMX module having been removed.
That means it’s running fewer CUDA cores, but with 1,344 of those wee processors still humming away inside the GTX 670’s GPU it still manages some impressive performance figures.
Nvidia, however, has allowed board manufacturers, like Zotac here, to play around with the reference PCB from the get-go, and that means we get factory overclocked cards at launch.
Praise be to Nvidia for that, because the Zotac GTX 670 AMP! Edition is one hell of a graphics card.
Compared with the rather conservative 915MHz base clock of the reference Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 the Zotac GTX 670 AMP! Edition’s 1,110MHz starting point is lightning fast.
Paired up with that is the boost clock of 1,176MHz which is even more impressive, especially when you consider the impressive Nvidia GPU Boost tech will actually take that clockspeed even further.
To cope with the sort of heat the overclocked GK104 GPU is putting out Zotac has opted for a redesigned cooler.
The chunky twin fan configuration on the GTX 670 AMP! Edition means that, internally, it winds up as a bona fide triple slot graphics card.
So technically it looks pretty special, how does that play out in terms of actual straight line performance?
GPU – GK104
SMX modules – 7
CUDA cores – 1,344
Base clock – 1,110MHz
Boost clock – 1,176MHz
Memory – 2GB GDDR5
The simple fact is that, across the board, the Zotac GTX 670 AMP! Edition beats the Nvidia GTX 680 hands down. That card will overclock more to push it ahead again, but on out-of-the-box performance the Zotac card has it sealed up.
Put it up against the equivalent-priced AMD Radeon HD 7970 and the red-badged competition is, on the whole, put firmly in its place.
DirectX 11 tessellation performance
DirectX 11 gaming performance
DirectX 10 gaming performance
As we were benchmarking the Zotac GTX 670 AMP! Edition our collective jaws dropped closer and closer to the floor.
With each test coming back performing way in advance of the standard Nvidia GTX 680, the top single-GPU graphics card around today, we couldn’t help but be impressed.
At its cheapest the GTX 680 is around £50 more expensive than this Zotac GTX 670, and in stock performance terms you are seriously losing out.
With a price-tag of £360 it’s also coming out at the same price as AMD’s top graphics card, the AMD Radeon HD 7970. Unfortunately for AMD though it’s only got the edge over the Zotac GTX 670 AMP! on a few benchmarks.
For the most part this overclocked card has it beat, generally with clear air between them.
With the Zotac card consistently running with a boost clock of 1,202MHz pretty much across the board it posts great frame rate numbers in even the most challenging of games. That third-party cooler is responsible for the card being able to keep to those high frequencies, and means the GPU itself rarely snuck above 60C.
That price-tag though does mean it had to post top-end numbers, as with it pushing on towards the £400 mark Zotac is really asking top-dollar for its new card.
Thankfully the Zotac GTX 670 AMP! Edition performs beyond our expectations.
Because of its strong showing, we’d struggle to recommend the Nvidia GTX 680 to anyone that wasn’t going to be seriously overclocking their card. And when we mean serious, we’re talking dual-loop liquid cooling here.
While it’s a lot of money for a single card, in SLI configuration, you’d still be saving an awful lot of money going for a pair of these cards compared with the Nvidia GTX 690 at £830.
That said you’d need a special kind of Z77 motherboard to cope with two of these triple-slot behemoths in a proper SLI setup.
We simply cannot get past the incredible performance of the Zotac GTX 670 AMP! Edition. The simple fact that it outperforms the standard GTX 680, and does it all for £50 less is fantastic.
We were already pretty chuffed with the Nvidia GTX 670 in its reference guise, but this factory-overclocked card is something special.
As much as it is cheaper than the GTX 680 we’re still uncomfortable about the £360 price tag. It’s an awful lot of money to be spending on one single component.
But what a component…
Still, you’ll really need to be playing at 30-inch panel resolutions to get the most out of your investment.
One of the finest graphics cards we’ve had a play with, and it even manages to hold its own against factory overclocked GTX 680s, let alone reference boards, or the limping AMD competition.