Conclusion: Adding Value to High-End GFX?
The Gainward GTX 770 Phantom is an impressive graphics card that not only looks great, but also runs cool and very quiet, making less noise than most case fans -- it certainly wasn't heard over anything else in our test system.
While the Gainward GTX 770 Phantom does provide more performance when compared to a standard GTX 770 (~5% in the 10 games we tested), as is often the case with factory overclocking the gains are not huge, but it does grant you a little extra peace of mind knowing that the manufacturer is handling the extra boost under warranty. From here on we'll use the Phantom's boosted figures to compare against the rest of the cards.
The GTX 770 Phantom was 7% faster than the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, 13% faster than the GeForce GTX 680, and 11% slower than the GTX 780. The frame time results varied a a percentage point or two, but the overall trend was untouched. Unsurprisingly the GTX 770 Phantom, which enjoys 17% more bandwidth than the GTX 680, is 13 to 15% faster.
Yet all these figures are fairly meaningless without a price tag to put things in perspective. Nvidia has set the suggested retail price for the GeForce GTX 770 at $400.
The GeForce GTX 680 started life at $500, and while some cards still cost that, many can be had for a little less at around $470. So it looks like the GTX 770 is going to come in at a lot less than the GTX 680, effectively replacing it in the process in this price bracket.
Compared to the Radeon HD 7970GHz Edition, which can be purchased for $430, the GTX 770 provided 7% more performance in our frames per second testing, while this figure was increased to 13% in our frame time testing. That puts them ahead in performance vs. value in the games that we tested with. The GTX 770 also has the upperhand on efficiency as it consumes less power to deliver more performance.
When all is said and done the GeForce GTX 770 doesn't change the high-end graphics card landscape (or should we say the new "mid-range"). It is replacing the year-old GTX 680 at the same price point, while delivering some extra oomph, both are good things. Overall we are impressed with Gainward's GTX 770 Phantom offering, and for would be GTX 680 buyers it's a welcomed option.
Note: We have updated pricing information for GeForce GTX 770 cards which start at $400. We have been unable to confim if Gainward will sell the Phantom at a premium, but this price correction means the GTX 770 matches the price of the older GTX 670 cards at launch and currently undercuts both the GTX 680 and Radeon 7970 GHz while delivering better performance.
Pros: Better performance and slightly less price, means the GTX 770 brings better value than the GTX 680 ever did. Gainward's Phantom version of the card is phenomenal.
Cons: Based on year-old architecture means it's essentially a higher clocked GTX 680. Competition is as competent as it's been for the past year.