GF GTX 680/670 Round Up: EVGA, Zotac, MSI, GB, Asus

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Gigabyte and Zotac GeForce GTX 680 Cards

Next up we have the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 OC Version with Windforce cooling and the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 OC Version with Windforce Cooler

Although the card’s GPU is overclocked, the real attraction with Gigabyte’s offering is the Windforce cooler. Underneath three large fans sits an array of aluminum heatsink fins, linked to a copper base via copper heat-pipes. The cooler’s array of triple fans blows air directly onto the heatsinks, where some is diverted into the case and some exhausted outside. Although we found the Windforce cooler to be a tad more audible than NVIDIA’s reference cooler under load, the Windforce cooler does an excellent job of keeping temperatures in check, as you’ll see a little later. It also helped us to significantly overclock this card as well. We also like that Gigabyte’s Windforce cooler, despite being stacked with fins and three fans, is only a dual-slot solution.

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 OC with Windforce cooler ships with its 2GB of memory clocked at the same 6008MHz (effective data rate) of reference cards, but with a base GPU clock of 1072MHz and a boost clock of 1124MHz. Outputs on the card are the same as the reference version as well (dual DVI, HDMI, DP), but Gigabyte’s offering requires 6-pin and 8-pin power feeds, not the dual 6-pins of stock GTX 680s.

Included with the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 OC with Windforce cooler were a quick installation guide, driver / utility CD, and a couple of power adapters. Nothing fancy in terms of the bundle, but the essentials are there.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition

It’s time to show off another behemoth—the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition. Like the Asus card featured on the previous page, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition sports a custom, triple-slot cooler and PCB, and it’s overclocked well above NVIDIA’s reference specifications. ZOTAC, however, took a somewhat different approach to the AMP! Edition’s design.

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! has a triple-slot wide cooler, but the card’s retention bracket is only two slots wide. That doesn’t mean much since the card will still encroach on two adjacent slots, but it may be easier to mount in some cases. The cooler is comprised of large aluminum heatsinks, linked together by an array of thick copper heat-pipes. Two large fans sit above the heatsinks in an angular shroud, blowing air down on the heatsinks and PCB. The cooler does its job fairly well and it’s relatively quiet too.

Like the other cards featured here, ZOTAC has done some factory overclocking as well. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition’s base and boost GPU frequencies are 1111MHz and 1186MHz, respectively, and its memory is pushed way above NVIDIA’s reference specifications--1652MHz (6608MHz effective) to be exact. With those frequencies, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition should be the fastest of the bunch in situations where memory bandwidth comes into play, like in AvP for example. Despite its higher clocks (and hence higher power requirements over reference cards), ZOTAC still outfitted the card with only a pair of 6-pin power connectors. It's got the same output configuration of the other cards too.

ZOTAC went all out on this card’s bundle as well. Included with the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition, we found a user’s manual and quick installation guide, a coupon for the game TrackMania 2 Canyon, a driver utility disc, a ZOTAC case badge, a few peripheral to 6-pin adapters and a DVI to VGA adapter. The best addition to the bundle, however, was an Assassin’s Creed 3-Game Pack. If you’re keeping track, that’s four games included with this puppy—kudos ZOTAC.

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