Review: GTX 670 FTW with superior and quieter cooler
Half a year ago we tested EVGA’s GTX 670 FTW (For The Win) and the card fared really well in terms of noise emissions, in spite of the high factory overclock, which also had quite an impact on performance. EVGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 runs at the same clocks as the GTX 670 FTW, thus providing the same performance. However, the cooler has been overhauled. The new Signature 2 cooler uses two fans for better airflow and reduced noise. Also, the added cooling capacity should give us a bit more headroom for overclocking. Basically the GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 looks quite attractive, but today we will try and see whether it can deliver as promised.
The GPU stock clock is set at 1006MHz, while the GPU boost clock is 1084MHz. Just to refresh your memory the GPU reference base clock is 915MHz, while the memory runs at 1502MHz (6008MHz GDDR5 effectively).
While GTX 680 comes with eight SMX units and 1536 CUDA cores, GTX 670 has seven SMX units and 1344 CUDA cores. Coincidentally, reference GTX 680’s GPU runs at 1006MHz, which is the exact clock of our GTX 670 FTW Signature 2. The card packs eight memory chips, totaling 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Nvidia kept the identical memory system used on the GTX 680, meaning four 64-bit memory controllers (256-bit memory interface) and 2GB of GDDR5 memory.
In the box you’ll find:
Quick Installation Guide
A small note about PCIE 3 compatibility
A new sticker set (Enthusiast Built)
EVGA Full Size Poster
EVGA Case Badge
DVI to VGA Dongle
2x Molex to 6-pin Power Adapter
GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 comes with a new dual-fan cooler, whereas all previously introduced EVGA GTX 670 series cards were equipped with a blower style cooler. The picture below first shows the GTX 670 FTW Signature 2, followed by the GTX 670 Superclocked.
EVGA uses the reference PCB design for the GTX 670 Superclocked, but for the GTX 670 FTW and GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 the company threw in the GTX 680 PCB. Note that doing this was not too difficult, since both the GTX 680 and GTX 670 use the GK104 GPU and identical memory subsystems. The picture below shows PCB designs for the GTX 670 FTW Signature 2, followed by the GTX 670 Superclocked.
GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 is 25,4cm long, just like the GTX 680, while the reference GTX 670 is 24cm long. We said that the GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 uses GTX 680’s board design and this picture shows how similar the two cards really are (GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 vs. GTX 680 Superclocked Signature 2).
A careful observation of the back reveals some differences, mostly in power supply design. The GTX 680 draws more power and it comes with one 6-pin and one 8-pin power connector, while the GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 draws power via two 6-pin power connectors, just like the reference GTX 670 card.
The mesh finish on the Signature 2’s cooler looks quite attractive, but it is also a magnet for dust. It’s nothing that a quick blast of compressed air won’t sort out. On the Signature 2 cooler EVGA went for two 75mm fans and we are happy to report that they are very quiet.
EVGA’s GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 packs a total of 2GB of GDDR5, in eight memory modules. EVGA overclocked the memory to 1552MHz (6208MHz effectively).
The Signature 2 card comes with two dual-link DVI outs, but only one is analog VGA-out capable. EVGA made things easy by marking the VGA-capable out with “DVI-I”. The plastic caps are also a nice touch. The I/O panel also features standard HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. Nvidia wanted to make sure that it does not lag behind the competition in multi-display support, so Kepler based cards can run up to four displays simultaneously.
The air exhausts are somewhat bigger than on the reference card. This allows for better airflow, which means hot air will exit the card faster and in turn help the cooler perform a bit better.
GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 graphics cards come with two SLI connectors, which means it’s possible to daisy chain up to four GTX 670 cards for some serious power.
Motherboard: EVGA X79 FTW
CPU: Sandy Bridge-E Core i7 3820 (3.6GHz)
CPU Cooler: Thermalright HR-02 (Thermalright-Europa Distri www.PC-Cooling.de).
Memory: 8GB ADATA DDR3 1600 XPG Gaming series
Harddisk: OCZ Vertex 2 100 GB
Power Supply: CoolerMaster Silent Pro 1000W
Case: CoolerMaster Cosmos II Ultra Tower
Operating System: Win7 64-bit
We had a chance to test several GTX 670 graphics cards based on the reference design, with the reference cooler. Although reference coolers usually aren’t very impressive, Nvidia did a good job when it comes to the reference GTX 670 design. You’ll also hear the reference cooler when the card gets hot, but it doesn’t get too loud while the temperatures are on the safe side, somewhere about 80°C.
EVGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2’s GPU is overclocked by 91MHz (1006MHz), something which would be too much for the reference cooler to cope with, at least not without producing a lot more noise.
Quality cooling is a must when we deal with overclocked components, and EVGA’s GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 fits into this category. We pushed the Power Target all the way up to +145 percent and got a stable GPU Base clock at 1121MHz (+206MHz over the reference clock). It was hassle free and we have no issues to report.
GPU temperatures didn’t exceed 74ºC at factory clocks. The Signature 2 fan is silent in idle mode but even when it’s under full load you won’t hear it until you come very close to the chassis, or stick your head in it.
We left the fans in Auto mode during our overclocking session and the temperature went up to 78°C. Considering that the fans were just slightly audible as you can hear some airflow from the graphics card in a silent room, this is good result.
Although it ticks at higher clocks, EVGA’s GTX 670 FTW Signature 2’s consumption isn’t as high when considering the performance.
Non-reference coolers are quite popular and EVGA’s Signature 2 series has always been a standout product in that respect. GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 runs at the same clocks as the GTX 670 FTW. The GPU is clocked at 1006MHz while the memory is at 1527MHz (6108MHz effectively). Note that reference clocks are 915/1502MHz for the GPU/memory. Higher clocks of course translate into better performance, but overclocked or not – the GTX 670 delivers a lot of bang for your gaming buck.
EVGA did a great job taking the GTX 680’s design for its GTX 670 FTW and GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 graphics card. This ensures advanced power management, something that can be usefully when overclocking. Using the GTX 680’s PCB allowed us to push the Power Target on EVGA’s GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 all the way up to +145 percent. In comparison, the reference GTX 670’s Power Target went up to +122 percent.
Added power and higher clocks don’t mean much without proper cooling. The Signature 2 cooler delivers a great balance between noise and temperature. The card is cool and almost inaudible when working at factory overclock. The old GTX 670 FTW card is also silent, but there EVGA sacrificed a few degrees Celsius in order to keep noise down.
EVGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 is priced about €15 more than GTX 670 FTW which can be yours for €330. If you are looking for silence and also have in mind overclocking, than the added investment in the Signature 2 version is justified, as it will get you a very quiet graphics card that can support your 2560x1600 gaming habit.