GeForce GTX 680 2 GB Review: Kepler Sends Tahiti On Vacation

Hardware Setup And Benchmarks

Test Hardware
Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) 3.3 GHz at 4.2 GHz (42 * 100 MHz), LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
Gigabyte X79-UD5 (LGA 2011) X79 Express Chipset, BIOS F9
G.Skill 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL @ 9-9-9-24 and 1.5 V
Hard Drive
Intel SSDSC2MH250A2 250 GB SATA 6Gb/s
Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 2 GB

AMD Radeon HD 7970 3 GB

AMD Radeon HD 7950 3 GB

AMD Radeon HD 6990 4 GB

Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 3 GB

Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB
Power Supply
Cooler Master UCP-1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX 11
Graphics DriverNvidia GeForce Release 300.99 (For GTX 680)

Nvidia GeForce Release 296.10 (For GTX 580 and 590)

AMD Catalyst 12.2

Undoubtedly, a number of Tom’s Hardware regulars saw that some of my launch-day data was pulled from the CMS earlier in the week and quickly spread around the Web. Based on the data, many conclusions were prematurely drawn without the context of hardware setup, drivers, or lab time in front of all of these cards. Even another vendor got in on the action, wondering why the stolen Skyrim results with FXAA enabled were so much different from the Skyrim numbers with adaptive anti-aliasing from Don’s Radeon HD 7800-series story.

Understand that, for each of these reviews, we update our test bed to the latest BIOS, we download all of the latest Windows Updates, and we download the games themselves, along with their newest patches. Some variation is expected, and anything out of the ordinary is checked and checked again. In this case, because I looked at some of the feedback, I was able to go back, re-run tests, and have another lab validate the results—everything checks out.

Of course, if you’re truly interested in a discussion about graphics testing methodology, test settings, and analysis, I welcome constructive discourse.

Battlefield 3
Ultra Quality Settings, No AA / 16x AF, 4x MSAA / 16x AF, v-sync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, DirectX 11, Going Hunting, 90-second playback, Fraps
Crysis 2
DirectX 9 / DirectX 11, Ultra System Spec, v-sync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, No AA / No AF, Central Park, High-Resolution Textures: On
Metro 2033
High Quality Settings, AAA / 4x AF, 4x MSAA / 16x AF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, Built-in Benchmark, Depth of Field filter Disabled, Steam version
DiRT 3
Ultra High Settings, No AA / No AF, 8x AA / No AF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, Steam version, Built-In Benchmark Sequence, DX 11
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
High Quality (8x AA / 8x AF) / Ultra Quality (8x AA, 16x AF) Settings, FXAA enabled, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, 25-second playback, Fraps
3DMark 11
Version 1.03, Extreme Preset
Highest Quality Settings, 8x AA, 1920x1200, Retail Version, Built-in Benchmark, Tessellation on/off
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Ultra Quality Settings, No AA / 16x AF, 8x AA / 16x AF, From Crushblow to The Krazzworks, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, Fraps, DirectX 11 Rendering, x64 Client
SiSoftware Sandra 2012
Sandra Tech Support (Engineer) 2012.SP2, GP Processing and GP Bandwidth Modules
CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5
449 MB MPEG-2 1080i Video Sample to Apple iPad 2 Profile (1024x768)
LuxMark 2.0
64-bit Binary, Version 1.0, Classroom Scene