Today we get an opportunity to review another GTX 760. This time it is from our friends at Galaxy. This version is also an overclocked version. Galaxy calls it, GTX 760 GC. They replaced the reference cooler with their own dual fan quad heat pipe solution, as well as changing some things around/fortifying on the PCB. Let’s check out what Galaxy did to it and see how it stacks up against the other cards we have reviewed so far.
Specifications and Features
Taking a look at the specifications for the Galaxy GTX 760 offering, not much has changed from the reference model outside of the clocks speeds. We are still looking at the same GK104-225 core with 1152 CUDA cores, 32 ROPs, 96 TMUs, and the same 256 bit bus on 2048 MB of GDDR5. Galaxy has ratcheted things up a bit and put their base core clock speed up to 1058 MHz as compared to the reference 980 MHz. The actual boost rate at stock speeds held at 1150 MHz. The memory still came in at the reference speed of 1502 MHz (6008 MHz DDR5).
|Specification||Reference GTX 760||Galaxy GTX 760 GC|
|Graphics Processing Clusters||3 or 4||3|
|Base Clock||980 MHz||1058 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1033 MHz (actual)||1150 MHz (actual)|
|Memory Clock (Data Rate)||1502 MHz (6008 MHz DDR5)||1502 MHz (6008 MHz DDR5)|
|L2 Cache Size||512KB||512KB|
|Total Video Memory||2048 MB GDDR5||2048 MB GDDR5|
|Total Memory Bandwidth||192.26 GT/s||192.26 GT/s|
|Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear)||94.1 GT/s||94.1 GT/s|
|Fabrication Process||28 nm||28 nm|
|Transistor Count||3.54 Billion||3.54 Billion|
|Connectors||2x DL DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort||2x DL DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort|
|Form Factor||Dual Slot||Dual Slot|
|Power Connectors||8-pin and 6-pin||8-pin and 6-pin|
|Recommended Power Supply||500 Watts||500 Watts|
|Thermal Design Power (TDP)||170 W||170 W|
|Thermal Threshold||95 °C||95 °C|
The Galaxy website has also listed some key features for the card which are listed below. For most of these all NVIDIA cards of this generation support, but its still worth a mention/reinforcement!
One item I do want to mention here as I have not seen this on any other GTX 760, is the Galaxy card has a dual BIOS on it. Just in case anyone wants to get saucy and flash their BIOS. This implementation is a bit peculiar in that there is not a BIOS switch to select which one you want to use/flash to. If you bork the BIOS for whatever reason, the card will default to the second functional BIOS. In my head I wondered how you can correct the first BIOS without a switch. The only thing I came up with is that the ‘safe mode’ BIOS is read-only leaving only the main BIOS flashable. Regardless of the implementation, this is a nice feature for those that do want to flash the BIOS.
- Factory Overclock
- Dual fan cooler with quad heat pipes
- Force Air Bracket
- Dual Bios
- NVIDIA TXAA Technology
- NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0
- NVIDIA PhysX Technology
- NVIDIA FXAA Technology
- NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync
- NVIDIA Surround
- Support for four concurrent displays
- MS DX 1.1 API [feature level 11_0]
- NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready
- NVIDIA SLI Ready
- NVIDIA CUDA Technology
- PCIe 3.0 support
- OpenGL 4.3 support
- Open CL support
- NVIDIA SHIELD Ready
Photo Op – Meet the Galaxy GTX 760 GC 2 GB
First up in my reviews we take a look at the retail packaging. In the first picture we see the front of the package with Galaxy’s lighter blue “G” staring at you prominently against a black back round. On the left is the Galaxy name top to bottom. Across the bottom in blue shows some high level features like 2 GB vRAM, 3 year warranty, a factory overclock, the Force Air Bracket, dual fans, and quad monitor ability. On the back of the packaging are more details and marketing jazz. On the top it shows what is included in the box, and last, the bottom, it shows key features and minimum system requirements.
Opening up the retail packaging exposes another box inside the box! Opening that up you have a small box on top which contains the included accessories. Once you lift that up, we finally see a glimpse of the card. It is wrapped in an anti-static bag and, this time, fits snug within its packaging to prevent any movement and damage during transport.
Last up are the included accessories. Here you see, starting from the left, a Molex to 8 pin, the users manual, DVI to VGA adapter, driver disk, Molex to 6 pin, and finally a quick start guide. Everything one would need to get started.
Below we get to see our first real glimpse of the Galaxy GTX 760 GC. We can first see the dual fans with a ‘special blade design to produce minimal noise’ on the front, surrounded by a grey cover. Clearly this design will let the majority of the heat escape into the case, but as we know this is quite common with aftermarket cooling in general. The Force Air Bracket (pictured a bit later) helps to minimize that effect by having a less restrictive I/O bracket area so more air can leave through that path.
Flipping the card over to the back side we can see a jet black PCB, a couple of SLI connectors, the four screws used to hold the heat sink on, and a Galaxy exclusive, the holes in the PCB by the MOSFET’s/power delivery area. This feature is supposed to keep things cooler around there. Another neat feature on the back of the PCB are the voltage read points scattered throughout the board. For example, the GPUv read point can be found towards the bottom of the card by the heat sink screw, and the DDRv can be found directly above it towards the top of the card. There are other read points around the card… see if you can find all of them!
The next picture I have to show you is the I/O area. Here we have the dual link DVI-D and DVI-I connections, HDMI, and DisplayPort poking through the Galaxy’s exclusive “Force Air Bracket” to help minimize the re-circulation of the card’s heat. These connections allow for using up to four monitors at a time.
Next up, we see the power connectivity requirements coming in at a more robust 6 pin and 8 pin setup. This allows for more power to get to the GPU versus the reference design of two 6 pin.
In this section, we take the heatsink off the card and expose both the card and heatsink. In the first picture, we can see the quad nickle plated aluminum heat pipe configuration coming up through the finely brushed aluminum heatsink base, as well as a medium density fin array to whisk the heat away from the core…and only the core. As you can see, there isn’t a heatsink to be found for the memory. The only cooling they will receive is from the airflow of the fans through the heatsink. Truth be told, that should be fine for moderate overclocks, but I would have liked to have seen these cooled regardless.
If we wipe up the very liberal factory application of TIM, we see a great picture of the fully redesigned PCB. One of the first things that jumped out to me was the 7 phase power (5+2) this card has versus the reference models sporting a 4+2 configuration. This helps stabilize the current and hopefully allows for higher, more stable overclocks. Although the memory wasn’t cooled, the power delivery area is with an aluminum heatsink. In the bottom right picture you can hopefully see it made good contact.
The last picture is a neat feature I thought, and that is having the ability to easily take out the fans for cleaning. Simply detach that screw and you have better access to keep the heat sink and fans clean and performing at their best.
Last up for our picture tour just shows the GK104-225 core used in the 760’s and the Hynic memory IC (H5GQ2H24AFR-ROC) used, which is rated at 1.5 V and 1500 MHz (6000 MHz DDR5). There is usually quite a bit of overclocking headroom on these IC’s so hopefully this sample shows the same.
Finally, we have another picture of the power delivery area. This time, I took off the heat sink so that area is totally exposed for your viewing pleasure.
Performance and Overclocking
As we all know by now, Overclockers.com utilizes multiple resources to review their hardware. In order to ensure the results are the same no matter who reviews the item, we have a specific test system set up and methods/settings as follows:
- Intel i7 4770K @ 4 GHz, 1.1 V
- Biostar Z87X 3D
- Kingston Hyper X Predator 2 x 4 GB 2666 MHz CL11 @ 1866 MHz 9-9-9-24
- 240 GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD
- Seasonic 1000 W PSU
- Galaxy GTX 760 GC – @ 1058(1149 actual boost)/1502, Overclocked @ 1158(1254 actual boost)/1707
- Windows 7 64 bit Operating System
- NVIDIA 320.39 drivers
Other cards used for comparison are as follows (links are to the reviews):
- All Synthetic benchmarks were at their default settings
- Unigine Heaven (HWbot) was run with the “extreme” setting
- Alien vs. Predator – 1920×1080 with highest settings offered (4x AA, textures set to highest)
- Batman: Arkham City – 1920×1080, 8xMSAA, MVSS and HBAO, Tessellation HIGH, Detail Level: Extreme
- Battlefield 3 – 1920×1080 at Ultra settings (4xAA/HBAO by default)
- Dirt 3 – 1920×1080 with 8x MSAA and all settings enabled and at Ultra where possible
- Metro 2033 – 1920×1080, DX11, Very High, 4x MSAA/ 16x AF, PhysX OFF, DOF enabled, Scene: Frontline
- Civilization V – 1920×1080, 8x MSAA, Vysnc OFF, High Detail Strategic View: Enabled, Other Settings: High, using full render frames value ( / 60)
- More detail is in our article: Overclockers.com GPU Testing Procedures
Pictured below is the always gratuitous GPUz screenshot. Here we are basically confirming the stock specifications and showing the driver we use among other things. As was mentioned earlier, the stock speeds come in at 1159 MHz core (1111 MHz boost – 1150 MHz actual in testing) with the memory coming in at 1502 MHz. For our overclocked settings I used a +100 which ended up at 1159 MHz base (1211 boost – 1249 actual in testing) with the memory sitting at 1707 MHz.
Galaxy has their own GPU tuning application called Xtreme Tuner Plus (download the latest version, 184.108.40.206, HERE). Like the other applications we are more used to, this handles core, memory, fan, power/temperature targets and voltage adjustments, as well as monitoring temperatures. My previous minor complaint still stands… its too big! Shrink that a bit. All-in-all a perfectly functional product.
Finally, the benchmarks! And I have some good news for you. This is the last time you will see the still useful but long in the tooth 3DMark 03 benchmark from me! The team has decided that it is just time to move on.
That out of the way, the Galaxy GTX 760 GC scored 100,236 at stock speeds essentially matching its clockspeed twin, the MSI GTX 760 OC, but falling slightly behind the faster clocked EVGA as expected. The Galaxy card put up an impressive 107,298 score while overclocked. And with that I say, farewell 3DMark 03!!!
In 3DMark Vantage, she scored 32,041, barely beating out the MSI and falling a but short of the higher clocked 760. When overclocked, it manged to beat a stock GTX 670 and come darn close to the 7950 for which NVIDIA loves to compare this card to.
Moving on to our more modern set of benchmarks, we will start with 3DMark 11. In this benchmark, it scored 8,600 on the nose while managing 9,260 overclocked. A solid increase there.
In Unigine Heaven Extreme (Hwbot), the Galaxy offering scored 1800.8 stock and hitting 1990.5 while overclocked. The only card this didn’t beat while overclocked was the mighty GTX 680.
Last up in our synthetic benchmarks is 3DMark (Firestrike). Here the galaxy GTX 760 GC hit 5,645 at stock speeds while managing to break 6.1K while overclocked.
Ok, so those who don’t benchmark are looking forward to this part… the games! First up we will take a look at Alien vs. Predator, in this game, the Galaxy GTX 760 GC hit 55 FPS on the nose stock, which is one FPS from the other 760’s, and 62 FPS while overclocked. As you (should?) know by looking in our Test setup section, we run this game with all settings cranked and 55 FPS is easily above the playable threshold of 30 FPS.
Moving on to Batman: Arkham City, this card manages 81 FPS stock keeping right up with the other 760’s again. Overclocked it hit 92 FPS matching the 7950 and beating everything else as would be expected.
Last up in this graph is Battlefield 3. This Frostbite 2 engine game allowed this card to put up 76.2 FPS stock and 83.3 FPS overclocked, which matches the GTX 680. Again this card matched the same clocked MSI GTX 760.
The next game we will look at is another oldie but goodie in Civilization V. Here the Galaxy GTX 760 hit 82.2 FPS stock and 89.7 FPS overclocked. Interestingly enough, the 760 beats out the 7950 in this game.
One of my favorite racers, DiRT 3 is up next. In this game we find the 760 managing 92.1 FPS stock and 101.9 while overclocked.
Last up, our resident GPU killer, Metro 2033. The Galaxy GTX 760 GC hit 29 FPS out of the box and overclocked hit 32.6 FPS. This is right on the edge of what most would deem playable so one would likely have to turn things down with this mid-range card.
Pushing the Limits
As always, my favorite section, Pushing the Limits. Here we get to crank up the CPU, in this case 4.9 GHz across the board, and push the GPU even further. With the Galaxy card in my hands, I was able to push this to over 1300 MHz core clock (boost) to 1319 MHz, and 1816 MHz (DDR5 7264) on the vRAM. Those clock speeds beat out the MSI 760 I had, though as always, your mileage will vary.
Cooling and Power Consumption
In taking a look at temperatures with Galaxy’s cooler, we can see it does a pretty good job keeping things under control with the stock fan profile reaching a maximum of 69 °C when overclocked. This teeters on the edge of dropping boost bins though, so keep an eye out in your environment. You may need to setup a slightly more aggressive fan profile to prevent that from happening, but that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone as this solution is pretty quiet up to around the 60-65% mark, and then things get a bit more audible. At that speed, it keeps things PLENTY cool, so outside of benchmarking, I wouldn’t see a reason to go higher anyway.
In the power consumption arena, this 170 W TDP card was, as imagined, strikingly similar to the others we tested and a bit lower than the MSI. I would imagine this has a bit to do with the operating voltage reading of 1.187 V versus the 1.2 V of the MSI card. We peaked here at 263 W in 3DMark 11 while overclocked. Unigine Heaven managed to hit 252 W overclocked and 245 W peak.
Now is the time I get to close this party down and assess how it went. Was it a success? I have to say, the Galaxy GTX 760 is a solid performer, no doubt about that. It matched its same clocked competitors and performance was essentially the same throughout. One thing to note is even with the higher base clock, this card only managed to boost to the same as a lower clocked card… not a big deal at all, but I suppose I was expecting (right or wrong) it to boost a bit higher.
The cooler used does well for the card it’s on and does so quietly with the stock fan profile. It has the ability to be cleaned easily, so that is a plus considering others you would have to take most of the heat sink structure apart. Another positive is that this card has a dual BIOS feature. A peculiar one to me, as there isn’t a switch, but one none the less. Galaxy states you can bork your main BIOS and it will automatically boot from the other and you can then flash again which will flash the bad BIOS. Again, not sure what movie magic makes that happen.
So, last up is the price of this card. Newegg has this card listed for $269.99 + SH. This price puts it above most of the other GTX 760’s there and right with an ASUS Direct Cu II card. I’m not sure if any other card has a dual BIOS on it, but that is what sets this card apart with what I know at this time. It has a robust modified PCB to help with overclocking, as well as a better and quieter than reference cooling to support the minor premium over the base price. There is no doubt in my mind this card should be on your short list when looking at GTX 760’s, especially if you are one to get crazy and flash its BIOS to get more out of it. That said, this card is Overclockers.com approved!
– Joe Shields (Earthdog)