Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 Review (Reference Design)

 
We’re here with another edition of Guess That New Nvidia GPU! I kid, of course, but the reality of it is, Nvidia is certainly not lacking in choices when it comes to this current generation of gaming optimized graphics cards.
 
I remember just a few years ago the selection of GPUs was pathetic. You either dropped a ton of cash to be able to run something like Crysis, or you dealt with that crappy integrated gpu that came with your Gateway system. Now, between both Nvidia and AMD, you have to actually make a choice since you’re so overloaded with options. It’s an awesome time to be a gamer, isn’t it?
 
Last time, I reviewed the GTX 770. It was awesome, but I ran into a slight problem. If you remember from the review, my PSU was not up to snuff. I was running a weak power supply where I was basically playing Russian Roulette everytime my 770 even started to work any faster than idle. Sure enough, after a few months of playing stuff like Tomb Raider and GRID 2 (and obtaining even more peripherals which drained power), my PSU decided to stop cooperating.
 
geforce-gtx-760-3qtr copy
 
Luckily, I was able to recover the PSU and as luck would have it, a shiny new GTX 760 showed up on my doorstep the next day…almost as if fate had taken a bit of sympathy on my power woes. The GTX 760; now HERE was something that I could not only run without a hitch, but I could even overclock without frying my power supply. Yes.
 
The GTX 760 is Nvidia’s successor to the 660 Ti. While the 770 gave enthusiasts a new Kepler card in the $400 range, the 760 does the same with the next price point down. Performance-wise, the 760 sits comfortably between the 660 Ti and the 670. Basically, it’s not your top tier card, and it’s not your “budget” card either. It’s your “just right” card. In the past few years, Nvidia has really sought to become more efficient by delivering more performance for less, and with the 760 retailing for $249 (give or take a fluctuation here or there based on different partner designs), we once again get a fantastic GPU at a nearly unbeatable price. Here are some specs for your viewing pleasure:
 
CUDA Cores – 1152
Base Clock (MHz) – 980
Boost Clock (MHz) – 1033
Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec) – 94.1
Memory Speed – 6.0 Gbps
Standard Memory Config – 2048 MB
Memory Interface – GDDR5
Memory Interface Width – 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) – 192.2
OpenGL – 4.3
Bus Support = PCI Express 3.0
Certified For Windows 7, 8, Vista, XP – Yes
Supported Technologies – GPU Boost 2.0, 3D Vision, CUDA, DX11, PhysX, TXAA, Adaptive Vsync, FXAA, Nvidia Surrround, SLI-ready
Max Digital Resolution – 4096 x 2160
Max VGA Resolution – 2048 x 1536
Standard Display Connectors – 1 Dual Link DVI-I, 1 Dual Link DVI-D, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort
Multi-Monitor – 4 displays
HDCP – Yes
HDMI – Yes
Audio Input for HDMI – Internal
Height – 4.376 inches
Length – 9.5 inches
Width – Dual-slot
Max GPU Temp – 97 C
TDP – 170 W
Minimum Recommended System Power – 500W
Supplementary Power Connectors – Two 6-pin
 
Like with my review of the GTX 770, I will performing both my own tests and also be providing some comparison benchmarks from Anandtech.com. I don’t have the resources to conduct a variety of comparison tests with a variety of different cards; after all, my “test bench” is simply my daily use PC. While I would love to claim all this data as my own and wow all you readers with my diligent testing, it simply isn’t possible, so rather than short you on hard data, I will provide what I can. You can base your own judgments off of either my tests or Anandtech’s, depending on what type of rig you’re sporting.
 
My PC is as follows:
 
– Intel Core i7 920 @2.67GHz (overclocked to 3.20GHz)
– Asus Rampage III Gene motherboard (LG 1366) Intel X58 chipset
– Nvidia GTX 760
– 18 GB DDR3 RAM
– stock Alienware Aurora R3 575W power supply
– Windows 8 Pro
– triple Dell Ultra-slim S2230MX 21.5 monitors
– GPU driver: latest Nvidia beta 326.19
– DX11
 
geforce-gtx-760-f copy
 
These benchmarks were all taken using GeForce Experience’s Optimal Settings. I’m sure I could tweak the game settings myself to where they would run nice and smoothly, but seeing as how this is a review of a Nvidia GPU, I might as well let Nvidia decide for me what the best settings are. As it stands, pretty much everything was set to Max, with the exception of Tomb Raider, which had TressFX turned off. I turned it on for the sake of the tests, because DAT HAIR. Here are my results:
 
GRID 2
AVG 57.82
MIN 47.50
MAX 60.54
 
TOMB RAIDER
AVG 38.6
MIN 28.3
MAX 50.6
 
ARKHAM CITY
AVG 51
MIN 15
MAX 61
 
DIRT 3
AVG 59
 
BIOSHOCK INFINITE
AVG 71.59
MIN 123
MAX 16.65
 
F1 2012
AVG 60
 
As you can see (if you recall my results from the GTX 770 review), there’s not a huge difference. Most games performed at about the same level, and if there were any hits in framerate, it’s all unnoticeable during the actual gameplay. Considering I’m replacing my GTX 660 with the 760, this is a pretty decent improvement.
 
Below I have included some benchmarks from Anandtech. This is more just to show what kind of performance you can expect if you actually have a good, beefy gaming rig:
 
55814
 
55825
 
55837
 
55840
 
55845
 
55848
 
So why get a GTX 760? Which gamers will see the best increase in performance and should drop $250 (minimum) for a shiny new 760? Let’s answer that question with who probably SHOULDN’T buy a 760: anyone coming from the upper end of the GTX 600 line. The difference just isn’t great enough to warrant a whole new, console priced, purchase. While at stock settings I’m seeing a nice performance boost, overclocking my 660 puts it on very similar footing to a base 760.
 
If you’re coming from an older line of cards, say, something like my old GTX 260 or even the 560 Ti, then yes; a GTX 760 is more than worth your money. Like the other cards in the Kepler generation, the 760 offers tremendous performance without being a power hog. As the last of the GTX 700 series, I would argue that the 760 is your best price to performance choice. Sure, you’re always going to have those folks that have a monster rig with triple GTX Titans in SLI, but that’s a rare demographic. The rest of us who want high end PC gaming performance and don’t have thousands of dollars to drop have good options at our disposal now, and that’s much more than I could say for our choices just a few short years ago.