A Practical Review of the Palit 680GTX JETSTREAM Video Card
Palit has once again, lent me one of their video cards for review, and this time it’s one of their their latest (but as of this month, not the latest and greatest card since the 690GTX was recently announced), NVIDIA 680 GTX “JETSREAM” video card with 2GB of DDR5 RAM.
Inside the box contains the bare essentials (in keeping the price as low as possible):
- The 680GTX JETSREAM video card
- A DVI to VGA adapter
- A HDMI to DVI adapter
- Power Cable
- Manual and CD Drive
Palit uses a non reference cooler for the card. It utilizes 3 fans configuration of 80mm – 90mm – 80mm to cool the unit while playing.
As the JETSTREAM is not a reference card, Palit has gone ahead and performed some slight alterations in some of the cards features and settings aside from the standard. They are:
NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround
Triple Fan configuration
6 Phase PWM to stabilize voltage and reduce the maximum current load (a boon for Power supply owners)
DrMOS – enables reduction of heat, lower noise, higher current circuits
Adaptive Sync – automatically enables V-Sync to smoothen gameplay
PCIe 3.0 – improved PCI Express bus for higher data transfer speeds
GPU Boost – dynamically maximizes the clock speed of the GPU based on the workload of a game played.
HDMI – for high definition video
DirectX11 – enables the use of the new graphical enhancements (improved tessellation performance)
Here’s Palit’s Spec Sheet for the 680GTX JETSTREAM video card:
|Memory Amount||2048 MB/ 2GB GDDR5|
|Graphics Clock (MHz)||Base Clock 1084MHz/Boost Clock 1150MHz|
|Memory Clock (MHz)||3150 MHz (DDR 6300 MHz)|
|Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)||201.6|
|Bus Support||PCIe 3.0|
|Maximum Digital Resolution||2560×1600 (using HDMI)|
|Maximum VGA Resolution||2048×1536|
|Dual-Link DVI||Yes x2|
|Height||2.5 slots (casing/enclosure)|
|PCB dimensions||254mm x 112mm (roughly 10 inches x 4 inches)|
|Graphics Card Power||215 W|
|Minimum Recommended System Power||550 W|
|Supplementary Power Connectors||6-pin x1, 8-pin x1|
Here’s the result from GPU-Z, note that the actual GPU Clock speed is faster by 1MHz vs the written rating. And the memory clock speed is only at 1575MHz, which can mean that the video card is managing its utilization.
Note: If you’re using an HDMI cable to connect to your screen, better use a compatible cable. My HDMI cable used on the 9800GT is no longer compatible with the 680GTX. This causes screen flickering and would hinder gameplay very much.
The next section would deal on the aspect of running games with the video card.
Here’s my load out:
- Intel Core i7 950 at 3.06GHz
- Antec Kuhler 620
- Kingston DDR3 1333 3x2GB RAM
- Foxconn BloodRage GTI X58 w/ Creative X-Fi
- WD 500GB Blue (Windows 7 drive)
- WD Velociraptor 450GB (Game Drive)
- Seasonic S12II 620W Power Supply
- Monitoring software would be FRAPS for FPS and GPU-Z for temperature readings
Note I will run the games on stock settings as I don’t see the reason to overclock the machine further.
This is the idle setting for everything set in GPU-Z. Note that at 9.7% TDP (or roughly 20W of 215W TDP rated), it’s really saving on power.
At Full Load in GPU-Z (filtered to max values, don’t mind the color graph)
Crysis 2: Ultra Settings DX11 Mode @1920×1080 – 85FPS average (Sudden Impact)
Battlefield 3: Ultra Settings @1920×1080 – 70FPS average (Rock and a Hard Place)
Grand Theft Auto IV (using iCEnhancer 2.0N realism mod): Highest – 63FPS average
Modern Warfare 3: Maximum Settings @1920×1080 – 43FPS average (Black Monday)
Elder Scrolls Skyrim: Ultra Settings @1920×1080 – 60FPS average
It seems that Modern Warfare 3 does not utilize the video card as much as it should, only pulling around <50% of its capacity and speed. The game uses more resources from the processor. However, it can be noted that the load on the video card is higher than that of MW3’s which can mean that the bottleneck lies at the processor and RAM. Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, GTA IV and Skyrim leverage more on the GPU. However, as I run my machine on a older generation Intel Core processor, the overall FPS is lower. Nevertheless, the game play from these titles were smooth all throughout at their maximum settings.
For the FPS count based on my trusty 9800GT, setting it up for the highest settings would be suicide for my card in the long run. I get around 10-15 fps for Crysis 2, Battlefield 3, and the settings for GTA IV wouldn’t even be permitted. It runs around 5-10 FPS in Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3 still gives a slightly lower FPS or around 30-35FPS due the weaker card pushing some of the graphics.
*updated fps based on single stage performance (used to compare with 670GTX JetStream)
It’s been years since I’ve been able to play games on an incredibly high setting, making titles like Battlefield 3 better to play without the lags experienced when using a lower end card. While this card is obviously reserved for those who are diehard gamers and or have the budget to get one, the technology is here and it’s just a matter of months for the mid range cards of this series to arrive for more budget conscious gamers.
Still NVIDIA has managed to produce a video card that matches/trumps its 590GTX card, being able to handle the demanding loads of Crysis, Battlefield and even a realism mod for Grand Theft Auto IV.
If not for the release of the 690GTX I’d rate it a perfect ten, however I’d still give it a 9.5 on a scale of 10, rating for its brute power, efficient way of handling power (more efficient than the 500 series) with a slight impact on price.
- Can handle veritably every game out there (well in my game library)
- The Palit 680 Jetstream has a very good cooling system in the way of its triple fan configuration.
- It’s more efficient than the previous series as it manages a lower consumption of power when idle.
- Price and performance wise, it’s cheaper than the previous generation and its competitor card of the same class.
- As the name implies, once the fans start turning at 900rpm, it does sound like a jet engine.
- Those with limited budget will feel the cost of this card (Just wait for the mid-range units!)
- It does still require a hefty power supply to run it.
- Too bad I can’t own this video card, it’s been loaned to me for Review.