EVGA GTX 770 SC 2GB with ACX Cooler Video Card Review

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z

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Provided by: EVGA
No Compensation was received for review of this product.

Price Point

Price: $419.99 USD (MSRP)

Class: Enthusiast Gamer

The EVGA GTX 770 SC 2GB ACX, with an MSRP of $419.99 USD, falls into our Enthusiast Gamer Category.

Performance:

Synthetics - Kepler’s superior tessellation engines are shown in stark contrast in the Tessmark benchmark with the EVGA GTX 770 SC scoring almost three times the score of the AMD HD7970 flagship video card. That test is strictly a showcase of brute force tessellation however so the remaining tests show the HD7970 at a better light, although the EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked video still trumps the rest of the video cards tested quite significantly, even reaching 8000+ points in 3DMark graphics score. 

DirectX 11 - While some DX11 games are a few years older now and are not able to stress the latest high-end video cards as much, new titles such as Far Cry 3, Crysis 3 and Metro Last Light are putting even the GTX680 through its paces when set to Ultra and combined with high anti-aliasing settings. The EVGA GTX 770 SC has no problems getting smooth playable framerates on these titles however with Crysis 3 dipping below 50 frames-per-second with 48.2. 

DirectX 10/9 - If even the latest DirectX11 games are unable to put any stress on the EVGA GTX 770 SC, what chance do DirectX9/10 games have? All the cards in the test pool posted scores in the triple digits with the EVGA GTX 770 once again taking top score by over a ~19 frame lead over the more expensive GTX 680. 

NVIDIA PhysX and 3D Vision - All those triple digit frame rates pretty much indicate that 3D Vision and PhysX will barely slow down the EVGA GTX 770 SC. Even Battlefield 3 with Ultra Preset in 3D Vision had a smooth ~41 fps average even in the middle of heavy combat.  In Metro Last Light, Advanced NVIDIA PhysX enabled only penalizes the average by five frames.

Performance Tuning - All GeForce GTX 770 video cards use blazing fast 7010MHz memory which can be overclocked further. The ACX cooling implementation on the EVGA GTX 770 SC also helped in considerably keeping the temperatures well below the default temperature target so higher overclocks can be reached.  The final overclock is an impressive 1267MHz resulting core clock and 7812MHz memory clock gaining 488 more points in the 3DMark Firestrike graphics score.

Temperature, Power Consumption and Noise - The dual ball-bearing fans are very effective in keeping temperatures low without producing any distracting noise.  Idle temperatures are really low at only 30C but the important temperature is the load which determines if the GPU boost will be throttled or not.  The default GPU Boost 2.0 temperature target is 79C but even with 3DMark Firestrike graphic test 1 on loop for 30 minutes, the maximum temperature reached by the GTX 770 SC with ACX cooling is only 74C.  The EVGA GTX 770 SC’s power consumption is also lower than the Gigabyte GTX 770 OC video card I tested earlier in both idle and load states with the entire system drawing only 282W at most under the same load used for the temperature test.  Fan noise was also quiet and even when the RPM was cranked up manually, the dual-ball bearing fans produced acceptable noise characteristics due to minimized turbulence which tends to produce higher pitched noise on standard cooling designs. 

Features Check Off:

  • Reference Board Design - Yes
  • Reference Fan - No
  • Aftermarket Board Design - No
  • Aftermarket Cooling - Yes
  • Aftermarket Power Control - No
  • Factory OC - Yes

A reference based video card is a video card that has specifications and features that match what the OEM (in this case NVIDIA) has produced as a point of reference. This means that the board and PCB, as well as cooling and power control, match the exact specifications of the OEM. A non-reference board is designed and produced by an OEM partner with one common part and, in this case, the GPU. Non-reference cards may or may not have different power control but they will always have a non-OEM PCB and secondary architecture. Most non-reference boards are performance tuned by the OEM partner and come with aftermarket cooling. Some OEM partners choose to use a reference board design and cooling but factory tune the GPU and warranty that card to run at the increased frequency. HiTech Legion does not consider this to be a non-reference design. The same can be said for the OEM partners who may use strictly aftermarket cooling. HiTech Legion will benchmark OEM reference boards to establish a starting point of what can be expected in performance to allow the consumer the opportunity to evaluate what differences, if any, there may be when compared to OEM partner boards.

 

Reviewer's Opinion

The EVGA’s GTX 770 SC with ACX exudes aesthetic maturity that is rare in PC component design. The matte black shroud and the golden metallic trim paired with dark nickel coated heatsinks makes a bold statement that the EVGA GTX 770 SC is not just a toy compared to other video cards that are aggressively styled with sharp edges and bright flashing lights. What makes it even more impressive, is the fact that it is a very functional design that offers superior cooling, durability and overclockability while keeping noise levels minimal.

EVGA has used non-reference coolers before in the past but the ACX is a different breed of VGA cooler. Directly on top of the PCB is a full-coverage baseplate that acts as a direct heatsink for the MOSFETs and memory while providing a sound structural reinforcement that prevents the PCB from bowing down over time and damaging the traces. On top of that are massive heatpipes that branch out to two cooling subsystems with high-volume aluminum fin arrays. Lastly, dual ball-bearing fans equipped with a lightweight yet durable blade design actively cools the component heat generated without making a lot of noise.  All of this combined directly translates into optimal GPU Boost states, especially when overclocking.

Overclocking is of course, best done with the EVGA Precision software as it shows all the pertinent information in one screen and allows users to adjust GPU Boost 2.0 features such as temperature target control on the fly.  Not that it was necessary in this case as the ACX cooler kept the temperatures well under the default 79C temperature target even when overclocked so the EVGA GTX 770 SC was able to be pushed further even though it already had a high pre-overclock from the factory.

In terms of price, the regular GTX 770 for $399 is a steal while the EVGA GTX 770 SC ACX tacks on a $20 premium which is still quite reasonable and still a much better value compared to the HD7970, GTX 680 and the GTX 670. The GTX 770 will undoubtedly be a popular video card for SLI considering even getting a pair of EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked video cards cost less than a single GTX 690 or a GTX TITAN.  For the looks alone, I feel that it is worth it.  Factor in the thermal efficiency, acoustic performance and high framerates then you have an all-around winner.  

 

Likes

  • Great looking matte black, gold trim and dark nickel coated heatsink
  • Acoustically and thermally impressive ACX cooling system
  • 3-Way SLI Ready
  • Headroom available for further overclocking
  • EVGA PrecisionX and OC Scanner software
  • Low noise fan even at 60% fan speed
  • 7010MHz memory
  • Long-life double-ball bearing fans
  • Full PCB coverage heatsink and reinforcement baseplate

 

Dislikes

  • None

 

gold emblem 

 

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