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Asus GTX680 Graphics Card Review

The Nvidia GTX680 has pushed the high end sector further forward, replacing the HD7970 at the top of the performance charts. Not only is the card faster than the HD7970, but the reference cooler is a superior design and surprisingly quiet under even demanding situations. It is just a shame we received samples with technical issues before we managed to get our review published today.

The Asus GTX680 we had for review is based around the reference design and overclocked very well, hitting a core clock speed of 1,204mhz. At this speed the card was able to outperform the HD6990 in the Direct X 11 3DMark 11 test, which is incredible, scoring 10,458 points at the default performance settings. The reference HD7970 by comparison scores around 7,800 points.

We included results from the class leading MSI R7970 Lightning, a highly overclocked HD7970 which could be considered the best that the range can offer. We included a quick reference table below showing how the cards stacked up against each other from our tests in the review.

We set the graph above up with a simple scoring methodology. Winner takes 5 points, second place gets 3 points and last place a single point.

The Asus GTX680 with the reference cooler is the fastest card in the Direct X 11 benchmark 3DMark 11, although it falls a little behind the MSI R7970 Lightning Edition in 3DMark Vantage and Unigine Heaven. The GTX680 however outscores the reference HD7970 in all of the tests, except the AMD favourite Total War: Shogun 2.

AMD lead the way with the image quality HQV Benchmark, so we gave both HD7970 and MSI R7970 Lightning 3 points for this, as they perform equally. The GTX680 takes last place scoring 1 point.

The MSI R7970 Lightning puts up a good fight against the GTX680, claiming top spot in Alien V Predator, Total War Shogun 2 and F1 2011. The GTX680 fights back taking HomeFront, HAWX 2, Far Cry 2, Dead Island and Resident Evil 5.

The GTX680 is the most power efficient design, claiming top spot, and it also outperforms the reference AMD HD7970 cooler, by a clear margin. The MSI Twin Frozr IV however claims the top spot in regards to noise emissions.

Right now the ASUS GTX680 can be bought from Overclockers in the UK for £459.95 inc vat. The MSI R7970 Lightning is normally £499.99 inc vat, but Overclockers UK have an exclusive deal for this card at £479.99 inc vat. The GTX680 is clearly very competitively priced, although the Nvidia reference cooler isn’t as good as the Twin Frozr IV, so it is a close call when factoring everything into the buying decision.

The ASUS GTX680 is an extremely impressive card and it is a worthy replacement for probably my favourite video card of all time, the GTX580. Nvidia fans can rejoice, because the card is extremely fast, quiet, efficient and has plenty of headroom for additional overclocking.


  • HD7970 has been replaced as the fastest single GPU card on the market.
  • Great power consumption.
  • bags of overclocking headroom.
  • Quiet


  • The MSI R7970 Lightning Edition gives the reference clocked GTX680 a run for its money.
  • weak bundle from ASUS.

Kitguru says: We have no hesitation recommending this card as a ‘MUST HAVE’. A fantastic replacement for the GTX580.

Rating: 9.0.

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  • Kim

    Price isn’t bad considering the performance. Small audience, but the bragging rights alone mean it is important.

  • Nicholas D

    Nice, good power consumption too, which is something they always struggled with, Like Intel currently who can’t compete in mobile space.

  • Davis

    bad samples? tskkk. worth the wait, thanks Z.

  • Ryan SD

    MSI R7970 lightning is a great card, well priced too. a lot of the reference cooled cards were £500 when they were released.

  • Colin

    I was looking to do an upgrade to this but the price and the fact I need a mobo upgrade (actually whole system) as well pulled me away. I would of done it if I wasn’t heading to college next year and I’m going to get a laptop.

  • Vic

    Thanks for that review. Big Green just gave AMD a slap in the face with lower prices and more performance. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these beautiful cards. It will be really interesting to see what the manufacturers come out with for non-reference cards.

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