Gigabyte GTX 770 4GB Windforce 3X Benchmark and Review Milos Milosevic October 10, 2013 Benchmarks In our GTX770 overview a few months ago we mentioned that manufacturers will probably at some point release a 4GB version. The Gigabyte GTX770 4GB Windforce 3X comes as an option to people who game at resolutions higher than the standard 1920x1080p, but it also comes heavily overclocked. The GTX770 was Nvidia’s response to AMD’s 7970 GHz Edition, however AMD’s flagship card at that point had 3GB of ram while the GTX770 stock had only 2GB, it’s a debatable choice (even if you prefer NVidia). The GTX770 is nothing more than an overclocked GTX680 which with its higher clock rates managed to out perform AMD’s 7970 GHZ Edition. Shortage of vram (under or at 2gb) might be a bottleneck for some of the current titles, not to mention that it wasn’t exactly future proof considering how next gen games are going to be very demanding. Something had to change and Gigabyte after a short time released its GTX770 Windforce 3x 4 GB version. The version we have in today’s review and benchmarks. Specifications As we already mentioned, the card is just an overclocked and rebranded GTX680, which isn’t a bad thing in any way, but since its a Kepler chip it is made in a 28nm process. The card comes with memory overclocked to 7010 MHz – that’s all you can really see when it comes to the cards clocks, at least according to Gigabyte’s official website. Gigabyte has been quiet about the cards real clocks with a reason and we will deal with it a little later on. The card features 4GB of GDDR5 ram with a 256-bit memory interface. The card supports current gen technologies such as PCI-E 3.0 standard and DirectX 11.1 , as well as supporting a maximum of 4 monitors and a 4096 x 2160 digital resolution. Since it has 3 fans you would expect this card to be very long and you are right, the Gigabyte GTX770 is 292mm long, 129mm wide and has a height of 43mm. People with mini-itx motherboards might encounter problems, since a card this long will cover some SATA ports making it very difficult to use. Having a custom 3 fan graphics card comes with a price but only using two slots is a win, which makes it optimal for any motherboard if you are thinking about setting up a SLI rig (good luck with the Asus DCII versions). When it comes to connectivity there is 1x Dual-link DVI-I, 1x DVI-D, one DisplayPort and one HDMI port as well. Unboxing The card is nicely packed in this black foam based material. If we were going to evaluate the package design we would say it has been done very well. The second you open the black inner case you see what you bought in all of its glory. The design is subtle but then again kinda luxurious showing you that you bought a high end card. Gigabyte has never been too generous with its package content and that has proven to be the case now as well. All you will get with this card is a Quick Guide, a driver CD, one 6-pin and one 8-pin molex adapter and that’s about it. Although the card supports triple SLI configurations , you wont even get a simple SLI bridge or even a VGA to DVI adapter. Thank you Gigabyte. Personally I am not one of those people who gets impressed by cards , so the Gigabyte GTX770 4GB Windforce 3x hasn’t changed anything about that. The plate surrounding the cooler is made out of metal and all of that is packed on a black custom PCB. Overall build quality is very good we really have no complaints in that area. A back plate could have been implemented since the card is heavy (but not as heavy as Asus DC II models). Than again we are talking about Gigabyte whose business philosophy hasn’t got in touch with the term “extra features”. As we said triple SLi connectivity is there for anyone who wants to go crazy with multi GPU setups. System Specs CPU i7 4770K, i5-4670K Motherboard Asus Gryphon Z87 RAM 2x 8GB@ 2133 Mhz Kingston HyperX Beast : KHX21C11T3K2/16X HDD/SSD 2 x Intel 520 Series 240 GB GPU Gigabyte GTX770 4GB Monitor Shimian QH270-IPSMS 2560x1440p 27″ PSU Thermaltake ToughPower XT 775W OS Windows 7 Drivers Nvidia ForceWare 331.40 Overclocking There aren’t many certainties or constants in life that you can hold on to , but they do exist. And just one slight change in those parameters might cause some serious repercussions to the rest of the world (Butterfly effect). One never changing constant in this world is Gigabyte locking voltages on its cards. No matter what the card is, if the the manufacturer is Gigabyte you will end up with a BIOS which has a locked voltage and there has been no evidence that it will change in the near future. As you could have seen from GPU-Z, our card was running at a 1137 MHz Gpu clock frequency which reached 1189 MHz with boost. However when we run EVGA Precision we found out that our card was actually running at 1240 MHz w/Boost which was very, very nice considering that these are just out of the box clocks. If you have read our GTX770 overview you would know that with Nvidia’s GPU Boost 2.0 cards overclock automatically if its far from the thermal danger area, so we believe this technology is the one responsible for the clocks being higher than initially specified. Good job for Nvidia, seriously. With our favorite overclocking tool MSI Afterburner we couldn’t get any where when it comes to overclocking. However, with EVGA Precision we managed to slightly bump up the voltage which enabled us to reach a stable 1280 MHz for GPU and 7484 MHz for memory which, we must state again is a very nice overclocking endeavor, especially if you take into a count that we were dealing with a cards voltage that has been locked in the BIOS. Now since the card was already overclocked to its maximum we knew we won’t get much out of it. +50 MHz (1280 MHz w/boost in total) and +233 MHz for memory making it 7484 MHz respectively is probably the maximum you can get from any GTX 770 unless your really really lucky. In terms of temperatures the card never went above 65c in full load, while in idle was around 27c. The fans were quiet on load and we never had any issues in terms of noise, since we tested it on an open bench just 50 cm away from us. Gigabyte has really out done themselves with the cooling solution for this card, since the reference cooling from Nvidia is truly excellent. However Gigabyte’s Windforce 3x is at least on par with it, if not better. Now lets see how the card behaved in synthetic benchmarks and games. 3DMark 11 Futuremark’s 3DMark 11 is one of the most popular benchmarks when it comes to testing the performance of CPUs and GPUs. The benchmark will lead you through underwater surroundings, deep sea ocean floors, jungles, temples and more. One of the rare benchmarks that isn’t that boring if we may add. As you can see overclocking the card did perform better in every single test. Improvements of the scores are around 5-10% . 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme 3DMark Firestrike is one of those benchmarks that are just to much. Its not like we are asking for a benchmark with perfect scenarios but this is ridiculous. If you like Japanese animations you are going to love Firestrike. All that left aside, this benchmark stresses graphic cards to their maximum capabilities and it should be looked at through that perspective. The Gigabyte GTX770 4GB Windforce 3x did quite well in this test peaking 11169 points in the overall score, when overclocked it reached 11172 which is not much compared to default clocks. However, results in other scores have improved significantly. Unigine Valley 1.0 Unigine Valley is a GPU benchmark which stresses the hell out of GPUs. It is also one of our favorite benchmarks since landscapes that you will be watching are just staggering. We cannot but wonder how Skyrim would have looked with these textures. Wish they made it a bit longer though.. Unigine Valley 2560 x 1440, Ultra Overclocking benefits at the 2560 x 1440p resoltion are minor if you look at the frame rates, however it brings better overall scores by a slight ~10% increase. Unigine Valley 1920 x 1080, Ultra Almost the same thing goes for 1920 x 1080p, but with a slight change when it comes to Min FPS where we get an almost 30% increase. Unigine Heaven 4.0 Unigine Heaven is one of the oldest GPU benchmarks that support DX11, and it has been commonly accepted as a great tool for testing your GPU stability when overclocking. It is amazing how this benchmarks looks after all this time it has been released. The overclocked GTX770 did perform a bit better in the 2560 x1440 resolution, but not by much in terms of framerates. However the score was better by a 5% margin. In 1920 x 1080p , the differences are around a margin of error, it’s about the same for the overall score as well. Crysis 3 Crysis has always been one of those games that people bought just to see whether they can actually run it. This goes for Crysis 3 as well, since the system requirements to play this game at maxed out settings at 2560 x 1080p resolution is just insane. 2 GTX Titans, working perfectly in SLI at least. Since you know how demanding it is ruining the GTX 770 at maximum settings would be useless since the game would be totally unplayable, so certain sacrifices had to be made in terms of graphical settings. Crysis 3, 2560 x 1440, SMAA low (1x), Texture Resolution-Medium As we can see no overclocking benefits in the real life game results at 2560 x 1440. Same thing goes for 1920 x 1080, benefits are around a margin of error. Metro: Last Light Metro is also one of those games that system requirements are far from normal. This game brings many of the current high end GPUs on their knees and that was the case with the GTX770 as well. Metro: Last Light, 2560 x 1440, Dx11, Very High AF 16x Again there is not huge improvements in terms of performance. Interestingly we kept getting lower Min fps with a overclocked card, no matter how many times we repeated the test. Same story at the 1920 x 1080 resolution, results are basically the same. However its peculiar that we were getting the same lower fps as we did in 2560 x 1440 bechmark. Tomb Raider Tomb Raider’s new iteration featuring Lara Croft in her young age, has seen a massive hit in terms of sales but it has been a hit on PC hardware as well. With AMD’s new TressFX technology, Lara’s hair did look far better than most video games, making the game look fresh and alive while playing it. However since we were testing a Nvidia card we knew that we will encounter certain difficulties with this new feature so we decided to leave it out of the benchmark. Tomb Raider, 2560 x 1440, Ultra, no TressFX Performance with TressFX disabled was more than satisfying at 2560 x 1440, scalability in terms of overclocking was there as well, but as you can see not by much. A 10% increase is the maximum gained from our overclocking efforts but they are not to be thrown away by any means. At 1920 x 1080 we got more or less the same results. The performance increase was there but its not really worth mentioning. Sleeping Dogs Sleeping Dogs is one more title that requires strong pieces of hardware to run properly. This game is really demanding if you want to play it at maxed out settings. Sleeping Dogs, 2560 x 1440, Extreme At this game the GTX behaves well, more or less with a few dips here and there. Benefits at the 2560 x 1440 resolution when overclocked are pretty much non existent. You can see from the graphs how demanding this game really is. Sleeping Dogs, 1920 x 1080, Extreme Same story with the 1920 x 1080 resolution in terms of overclocking benefits they kinda exist but all of them are in the margin of error zone. If you want to play this game at FullHD at maxed settings you don’t really need anything more than the GTX770. Bioshock Infinite Bioshock Infinite is one of the best games of 2013. What did the people at Irrational Games manage to achieve with the aging Unreal Engine 3 is mind blowing, not to mention the gameplay and the complexity of the games story as well. Bioshock Infinite will be remembered as one of the best games that have ever been made. Although the game was made in UE3 it appeared to be a demanding piece of software as well. Bioshock Infinite, 2560 x 1440 ,Ultra Settings Well its is apparent the gains from overclocking are there. We kept hitting dips at 20fps all the time during the benchmark but we believe this is more of a bad optimization issue than the game being such a GPU hog. No changes in the 1920 x 1080 resolution, slight increases for overclocking aswell as strange fps dips. These frame dips are something of a mystery when it comes to Bioshock Infinite but as we said, we believe the game is not properly optimized. Dirt 3 For all of those who like driving simulators , Dirt 3 is one of those games that brings a challenge to your skills. Advanced particle effects and physics make this games visuals great, but not that demanding in terms of today’s hardware. Dirt 3 2560 x 1440 Ultra Settings To be the one who will state the obvious, yes there are no benefits when it comes to overclocking this card. However we see the GTX770 handling this game rather well at 2560 x 1440. Dirt 3 1920 x 1080 Ultra Settings The Overclocked GTX770 and GTX770 at the default clock with boost (1240 MHz) act pretty much the same with the same min fps and a slight increase in average fps. F1 2013 The final game in our list of benchmarks is F1 2013. This game was made by Codemasters (The Dirt3 creators) and is expected to provide a high graphical fidelity, as well as advanced particle physics. F1 2013 2560 x 1440 Ultra Settings As with Dirt3 (as well as with most of the other games) bumping up the voltage and frequency didn’t help much in terms of performance. GTX 770 is more than enough for this game at a 2560 x 1440 resolution on ultra settings and there is no need to overclocking it. The card behaves excellenty , but as we see no significant gains when it comes to overclocking. Battlefield 4 Bf4 Beta 2560×1440 Ultra Preset Bf4 Beta 1920×1080 Ultra Preset You can take a more detailed view on the GTX770 in our BF4 Mantle vs Direct X Benchmark. Conclusion If we put aside our hurt feelings due to the locked BIOS, the Gigabyte GTX770 4GB Windforce 3x is an excellent card which gives excellent performance out of the box. Yes, the voltage is locked, but using EVGA’s Precision you will be able to overclock this card even further but as we saw, not by much. We believe that 1300MHz for the GK104 is the maximum that can be achieved. This card brings outstanding performance out of the box, its has a excellent cooling solution, its quiet and it has 4Gb of ram which makes it future proof for any other titles made for next gen consoles and ported to pc. Other than not needing to overclock the card at all, as the boost of a few mhz is not worthwhile in terms of performance , we really haven’t found anything worth complaining about the card and we believe that its worth recommending as a “out of the box solution”. See Pricing If you have any questions about the review please ask in the comment section below and I will be glad to answer.