Lower power draw than GTX 680
Almost the same performance as GTX 680
Runs cooler than reference edition
Doesn't rival performance of AMD HD 7970 GHz
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Huh? Another GTX 670? What's the gimmick? We've already had a little 'un costing nearly £400 (about AU$630, US$605). Is this a single-slot card then? Passively cooled? Watercooled?
Nope, this is just a straight, overclocked SKU from EVGA. What it lays claim to, is being fast enough to give a reference GTX 680 a gentle kick in the nuts.
This has always been the thing about the GTX 670 that's made it one of the finest graphics cards in the last generation. The fact it's running pretty much the same basic silicon memory capacity and memory bus makes it pretty darned close in the performance numbers and, with a little light tweaking, you can push it to go just as fast.
And that's definitely true of this overclocked FTW Signature 2 edition from graphics gurus EVGA. And when these overclocked editions pack in some hefty cooling - like we're seeing from the EVGA card - they can happily sit at the heights needed to match a stockclocked GTX 680 without a) sounding like Brian Blessed whistling in your ear or b) melting the surrounding components in your chassis.
Because it's also sporting a cut-down version of the GPU in the GTX 680, it doesn't need as much power to run at full load, even when overclocked. The FTW Signature 2 pulls less than 260W in terms of total platform power draw at 100 per cent load, whereas the standard GTX 680 pushes up to nearly 280W at the same levels.
The impressive cooling on the EVGA card means it consistently runs around 10ºC cooler, too. The perfect trifecta of less cash, less power and lower temperatures surely make the FTW Signature 2 a win across the board, right?
DirectX11 tessellation performance
Heaven 4.0: Frames per second: Higher is better
EVGA GTX 670 SIG2: 22.2
ZOTAC GTX 670 AMP: 23.7
SAPPHIRE HD 7970 GHZ: 23.6
DirectX11 gaming performance
Crysis 3: Frames per second: Higher is better
EVGA GTX 670 SIG2 :25
ZOTAC GTX 670 AMP: 27
SAPPHIRE HD 7970 GHZ: 28
Max Payne 3: Frames per second: Higher is better
EVGA GTX 670 SIG2: 24
ZOTAC GTX 670 AMP: 26
SAPPHIRE HD 7970 GHZ: 28
Well, there's always a fly in the ointment. And you might expect something like Zotac's GTX 670 AMP! edition to be that fly. It's only £20 more, has superior cooling and still manages to run consistently quicker than both this EVGA card and the GTX 680. But while that's a great card, too - we've had it running in a 1,440p rig for a good long while without a care in the world - it also has the same bug in its lotion.
And that's the competing GPUs from the red side of the graphics divide. AMD's cards in this generation have been consistently out-pacing the Nvidia side and the Texans have been getting real aggressive with their pricing. Things have gotten a lot closer, with Nvidia really tightening up its driver performance, but still the similarly priced HD 7970 GHz edition is the go-to card at this price point.
For around £340 (about AU$535, US$515), you can pick up Sapphire's HD 7970 GHz Vapor-X, which will beat the overclocked GTX 670s pretty much across the board. They're a bit more power-hungry than Nvidia cards, but for outright performance, the Tahiti GPUs have it in spades.
And if you're looking to spend less than £300 (about AU$470, US$455) on a card, the HD 7950 is around £260 (about AU$410, US$395), only a bit shy of OC GTX 670 performance. Unless you're looking at the top with the GTX Titan, or the bottom with the GTX 650 Ti Boost, then it's surely AMD all the way. The EVGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 is good, but it's not clear that there's a place for it in the market.