The world of high-end graphics adapters has become a bit larger now that Gigabyte has finished its latest and arguably greatest GeForce GTX 680 board, with WindForce 3X cooling and more memory than all the others in its collection.
We suspect that prospective buyers will be torn between considering this the best of Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 680 cards or going with the GeForce GTX 680 WindForce 5X
For what it's worth, we think that the GTX 680 Overclock Edition 4GB (GA-N680OC-4GD) is the better choice, for several reasons.
The first is that the price of $800 / 622-800 Euro (as revealed by some buyers through Chinese forums) is lower than the $870 / 670-870 Euro of the five-fan monstrosity.
The second is that the three fans of the newcomer (as many as the copper heatpipes) make for a lower level of noise. While the WindForce 5X did not add to the decibels, it did not reduce the volume either, so the board still produces 40dB or so, while the GTX 680 Overclock Edition 4GB runs at 28.3 dB under the Furmark test.
The third point is the following: this is the very first of Gigabyte's Geforce GTX 680 adapters to boast 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM instead of two (though not
the first such item in the market). Coupled with the clock speeds of the GPU and the memory itself, the performance should be more than a match for that of the WindForce 5X.
To elaborate, the 5X features a base speed of 1,137 MHz and can rise to 1202 MHz via GPU Boost. WindForce 3X is just 66 / 65 MHz behind, but the extra 2 GB of memory (256-bit interface, speed left at the normal 6 GHz) will give it an edge in multi-monitor setups.
As a bonus, Gigabyte's creation supports OpenGL 4.2 (NVIDIA's
original card supports 4.1), Ultra Durable VGA technology (5-10% cooler GPU, 10-30% better overclocking, improved power switching), the OC Guru II and a gold-plated HDMI output.
Gigabyte has added the high-grade adapter to its website
, but has yet to officially announce availability and the price. We have only learned the tag, and that shipments are already being carried out, thanks to Chinese buyers that took to online forums.