- May 4, 2013
Some might say that Nvidia's second generation Kepler is starting to look rather similar to the first. It's fair to say that at an architectural level at least, the new GeForce GTX 770 is to all intents and purposes a match for last year's GTX 680. There are value-added performance-enhancing additions, an improved chassis and cooling, but at the heart of the product is the same chip - codenamed GK104 - that powered last year's Nvidia flagship.
We'll need to wait for the arrival of next year's 20nm processors and the new Maxwell architecture to see the next level in high-end performance, but in the meantime, the revised GTX 7xx line-up is all about additional refinement and improved value. Last year, GTX 680 shipped at a worryingly high price of around £400 but over the last twelve months, prices have dropped by an average of £70. The new GTX 770 comes in at the same, lower price, and is tangibly faster, usefully opening up the gap with the less expensive GTX 670.
A quick look at the spec demonstrates how Nvidia has achieved this. The GTX 770 features the same 1536 CUDA cores as the GTX 680, with a slight performance boost - a 40MHz core clock boost (1046MHz vs. 1006MHz). The implementation of Nvidia's GPU Boost 2.0 ensures that the second-gen Kepler utilises its auto-overclocking feature more vigorously, and there's a slight 27MHz increase in max boost too (1085MHz vs. 1058MHz). These are small enhancements overall, but welcome nonetheless. More noteworthy is that the GTX 770 features faster onboard GDDR5 than anything else in the Nvidia line-up - including the Titan - with 7GHz RAM implemented for the first time on any consumer-level graphics card. Max power consumption rises though: up to 230W, up from the 195W of the 680 and the 170W of the 670. There's a sense that second-gen Kepler is literally brute-forcing its way past its predecessor.