Graphics

EVGA GeForce GTX 670 FTW LE 2GB

Unlike many of the other big names in the consumer and gaming graphics card industry who produce products based on GPUs from both the green and red teams, EVGA exclusively works with nVidia.  This shows in their product offerings as they offer a relatively large number of product variants per GPU.  Specifically within their GTX 670 line, there are two non-reference series of products: FTW and Superclocked+.  EVGA's nomenclature can get bit confusing between these two series of products as they overlap in cost, factory clock speeds and memory size.

The video card from EVGA we're looking at today is the GeForce GTX 670 FTW LE 2GB.  To easily understand where it fits in EVGA's lineup, it their entry level non-reference design offering that's one step higher than the basic reference design.  With the term FTW (for the win) in it's name, you'd probably assume that this is one of EVGA's higher end cards.  You would be semi-right, as the FTW (and FTW SIG2) version are EVGA's top 2GB GTX 670 products.  It's the LE suffix that denotes the lower end of the scale.  To me, FTW LE is an oxymoron.

ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II 2GB

Next in our series of video cards review is a product from ASUS.  As a large tier-1 hardware manufacturer, ASUS is both a partner of AMD and nVidia for its graphics products.  Today we'll be looking at one of ASUS' high end nVidia GeForce GTX 680 based products.  One step below the flagship of ASUS' GTX 680 series, the GTX680-DC2O-2GD5 has most of the same ASUS exclusive features as their top dog: the DirectCU II cooler and 10 power phases coupled with the DIGI+ VRM.  The only difference is a smaller factory overclock.

At first glance, the GTX680-DC2O-2GD5 is a beast.  While most high end gaming video cards are now dual slot designs, ASUS' GTX 680 is even beefier with a three slot height.  Browsing the flagship products from ASUS' other product lines reveals a consistent colour scheme of black with red accents.  This GTX 680 is no different with most of the video card in black, including the fans, the metal shroud and the PCB.  The shroud is adorned with a car-like set of red racing stripes.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 670 (2GB) with WINDFORCE 3X Cooling Technology

Instead of releasing a plain-jane GIGABYTE branded reference design video card for its volume GeForce GTX 670 product, GIGABYTE injected its own style into its offering.  Like the headlining products across the whole GIGABYTE GeForce 600 series, its top of the line GTX 670 product features a WINDFORCE cooler.  Two iterations of the WINDFORCE cooler are available for GIGABYTE's GTX 670 products, one with two fans and the one we're looking at today, the WINDFORCE 3X, which if the name doesn't already tell you comes equipped with three fans.  Just at first glance, the WINDFORCE cooler covers the whole surface of the card.  The top layer is comprised of three low profile fans that come fittted in a sleek and smooth black plastic shroud.  Below that layer comes two large (but thin) aluminum heatsinks which are attached using three copper heatpipes.

DIAMOND Radeon HD 7970 3GB Double Black Diamond Video Card

Hot on the heels of the Radeon HD 7970 GHZ Edition launch, AMD announced price cuts to the Radeon HD 7000 series.  These price cuts were implemented to help make the standard 7970 competitive from a value standpoint against video cards using nVidia's GeForce GTX 670 and 680 GPUs.  However, price isn't the only major factor at hand.  Extra performance always helps with sales numbers, and before the 7970GE was released, many manufacturers took it into their own hands to provide a speed boost to the vanilla 7970 in the form of factory overclocking.  Today we're looking at such a video card from Diamond, who has traditionally offered graphics products with an emphasis on low price.  That video card in our test lab is Diamond's Radeon HD 3GB 7970 Doub

DIAMOND Radeon HD 7870 2GB Double Black Diamond Video Card

Launched a little over two months ago in March, AMD's Pitcairn graphics processor took over the $250-350 sweet spot in the video card market with the Radeon HD 7850 & 7870 series of GPUs.  Even now, they still don't have any current generation competition from yet from nVidia, who is still relying on the GTX 500 series to fill its product line under the $400 price point.

Shortly after the launch of the Radeon HD 7870, the only video cards available were clones of the reference design.  Now that we're past the initial launch period, new models of the 7870 are now available which deviate from the standard.  Today we're looking at one of those 7870s from Diamond.

PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card

As many of you are probably already aware, AMD released their mainstream enthusiast GPU offering, Pitcairn, a little over a month ago.  Better known as the Radeon HD 7800 series, the two models making up this mainstream class are the 7850 and 7870.  By nature, qualities of the mainstream enthusiast class consist of a good balance between high image quality and value pricing.  With Pitcairn, this translates generally translates to maxed out (or close to it) image quality in games at HD 1080p resolution, with a launch price tag between $250-350.  Now that we're past the initial wow of the paper launch and products actually widely available to buy, we're taking a look at the cheapest Pitcairn offering we could find.  That happens to be PowerColor's Rade

Gaming Video Cards for a Steal: The GeForce GTX 560 & Radeon HD 6870 at $150

In the current video card market, all eyes are on the Radeon HD 7000 series and the GeForce GTX 600 series.  They are the latest and greatest series of GPUs from AMD and nVidia respectively.  And they both have great offerings with the high end Radeon HD 7970 and the GeForce GTX 680.  Right now, AMD has offerings from the Radeon HD 7000 series that extend from low to high price points, and the same thing will happen with nVidia in the near future.  Now that new generations of GPUs have been released, it's out with the old.

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