titleThis morning we introduced you to Nvidia’s latest video card, the GTX 770. Not to spoil to much from the review, (because you really should take a look at it) but not only was I impressed with its performance, I was blown away at the overclock I was able to get on it while running the stock cooler. The fine folks over at EVGA are introducing a few variations on the GTX 770 as well, one of them being their new Active Cooling Xtreme or ACX for short model. We just happened to get our hands on it and I’m going to put it through its paces. We know what the GTX 770 with a reference cooler, but what is it capable of with a little more cooling.

Product Name: EVGA GTX 770 ACX

Review Sample Provided by: EVGA

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

EVGA GTX 770 ACX Specifications

Graphics Processing Clusters

4

Streaming Multiprocessors

8

CUDA Cores

1536

Texture Units

128

ROP Units

32

Base Clock

1046 MHz

Boost Clock

1085 MHz

Memory Clock (Data rate)

7010 MHz

L2 Cache Size

512KB

Total Video Memory

2048MB

Memory Interface

256-bit

Total Memory Bandwidth

224.3 GB/s

Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear)

133.9 GigaTexels/sec

Fabrication Process

28 nm

Transistor Count

3.54 Billion

Connectors

2 x Dual-Link DVI

1 xHDMI

1 x DisplayPort

Form Factor

Dual Slot

Power Connectors

One 8-pin and one 6-pin

Recommended Power Supply

600 Watts

Thermal Design Power (TDP)

230 Watts

Thermal Threshold

95° C

Height

4.376in – 111.15mm

Length

10in – 254mm

Weight

3lbs



Packaging

Surprisingly the front of the packaging for the GTX 770 ACX doesn’t really show that it is the ACX model at all. The front has the EVGA logo in gold over a silver background with the standard info on the front like the 2GB buffer size and the fact the card is capable of 3 way SLI. It isn’t until we flip the box over that we see a picture of the card on the back as well as an ACX logo. The rest of the back of the packaging is broken down with a list of key features in a few different languages. There is a photo of the end of the card showing all of the connections you will have available to you as well, a nice touch.

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Inside the card is in the middle of a large plastic clamshell. When I attempted to pull it out I didn’t see that all of the paperwork was sitting on that plastic and it all came pouring out. You get a user guide, driver disc, a few notices and warning and a couple of EVGA’s enthusiast built stickers.  Also packed in there was this kick ass poster that Game of Throne fans will especially love. You also get a DVI to VGA adapter, a double Molex to six pin adapter and a double six pin to 8 pin adapter. What is really interesting is the double Molex to 6 pin adapter is all blacked out with individually sleeved cables but the other adapter cable isn’t. I commend EVGA for going out of the way to get the sleeved adapter cable; it really is a nice feature for anyone who cares about how their build looks.

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Card Layout and Photos

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room right out of the gate. I spoke extremely highly of the reference design on both the GTX 780 and GTX 770 reviews. Both because of their quality as well as their styling. I’m sure EVGA would have kept the reference design if they could, but let’s be honest you couldn’t really call this the ACX model while running the stock cooler. Not to mention there isn’t any way to add a second fan to the design without completely losing the window and a good portion of the styling as well.

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The ACX cooling’s main feature would be the two large cooling fans that blow over a large heatsink that spans the entire length of the card. To help cool things EVGA uses heatpipes to pull the heat from the GPU out and across the card. There is a fan shroud across the side of the card that helps focus the air from the two fans onto the cards heatsink. I will also admit that this is a very stylish card. The champagne colored accents give it a nice styling without going overboard. It is far from looking like the reference design, but it is a nice contrast for people who may not want something as flashy or for people who just need more cooling.

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Here are a few better pictures of the heatpipes on the ACX cooling as well as a few good examples of how this card will blow most of its heat into your case. For most builds this isn’t a big deal, but if your case has limited cooling now you will want to keep it in mind when picking up this card. The reference card will blow most of its heat out the back of the case.

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It’s not really a surprise that the end of the GTX 770 ACX is open, considering the openings on the top and bottom of the card. It really isn’t designed to blow air out this end of the card like the reference card but this is a perfect view of its heatpipes and what almost looks like polished or chromed heatsink fins. You can also see the mounting bracket here for the ACX cooling, it looks like it will do a good job giving the cards PCB additional support as well.

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The GTX 770 ACX does have two SLI bridge connections and is capable of running 3-way SLI for those who are considering future expandability or a crazy build now.

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The two power connections are tucked in up under the ACX cooling. You will need an 8 pin and a 6 pin power plug to give the GTX 770 ACX the power it needs.

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When we take a look down at the connections on the end of the card we have the same four hookups that we saw on the reference design. Those would of course be a DVI-D, DVI-I, HDMI, and DisplayPort plug. What is different though is the design of the PCI slot cover itself. EVGA has included one of their high flow slot covers on the ACX card, they manage this by opening up a lot of the slots and they have included small vents in every possible spot they could including right above each DVI port and even two small holes above the DisplayPort plug.

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Flipping the GTX 770 ACX over we can see that the overall PCB design looks to be the same as the reference design other than the fact that EVGA went with a nice dark black PCB finish that complements the cards styling.  

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Our Test Rig

CPU

Intel i7-3960X

Memory

Corsair Vengeance 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM Quad Channel  (4x4GB)

Motherboard

Asus Rampage IV X79 Motherboard 

Cooling

Intel Active Thermal Solution RTS2011LC

Power Supply

Cooler Master Gold Series 1200 Watt PSU

Storage

Kingston Hyper X 120 SSD

Seagate Constellation 2tb Hard drive 

Case

High Speed PC Test Bench

 

Our Testing Procedures

Bioshock Infinite 

Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Bioshock Infinite on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, FXAA turned on, Ultra Texture detail, 16x Aniso Texture Filtering, Ultra Dynamic Shadows, Normal Postprocessing, Light Shafts on, Ambient Occlusion set to ultra, and the Level of Detail set to Ultra as well.

Tomb Raider

Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Tomb Raider on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, Exclusive Fullscreen turned on, Anti-Aliasing set to 2xSSAA, Texture Quality set to Ultra, Texture Aniso set to 16x Aniso, Hair Quality set to TressFX, Shadow set to Normal, Shadow Resolution on High, Ultra SSAO, Ultra Depth of Field, High Reflection quality, Ultra LOD scale, Post Processing On, High Precision RT turned on, and Tessellation is also turned on. 

Hitman: Absolution

Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Hitman: Absolution on the “Xtreme” quality setting other than the MSAA setting is turned down from 8x to 2x. That setting puts the resolution at 1920x1080, MSAA is set to 2x, Texture Quality is set to High, Texture Aniso is set to 16x, Shadows are on Ultra, SSA is set to high, Global Illumination is turned on, Reflections are set to High, FXAA is on, Level of Detail is set to Ultra, Depth of Field is high, Tessellation is turned on, and Bloom is set to normal.

Sleeping Dogs

Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Sleeping Dogs on the “Xtreme” quality setting. That means our resolution is set to 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing is set to Extreme, Texture Quality is set to High-Res, Shadow Quality is High, Shadow Filter is set to high, SSAO is set to High, Motion Blur Level is set to High, and World Density is set to Extreme.

F1 2012

We use the built in benchmark for F1 2012. We set our resolution to 1920x1080 and then use the “Ultra” setting.

Batman Arkham Asylum

We used the built-in benchmark set to 1920 x 1080, Multi Sample AA 16XQ, Detail Level, Very High, Bloom: Yes, Dynamic Shadows: Yes, Motion Blur: Yes, Distortion: Yes, Fog Volumes: Yes, Spherical Harmonic Lighting: Yes, Ambient Occlusion: Yes, PhysX: Off

Total War: Shogun 2

Direct X11 Benchmark High setting

Crysis 2

Using Adrenaline Crysis 2 benchmark.  1080p, 4x Anti-Aliasing, DX11, Laplace Edge Detection Edge AA, on the Times Square map, with hi res textures turned on.

Battlefield 3

Using Fraps with the game set to Ultra settings with 4x MSAA Antialiasing Deferred, 16X Anisotropic Filter, at 1920x1080.

Sniper V2 Elite

1920 x 1080 resolution, graphics detail set to ultra

Dirt Showdown

1920 x 1080 resolution, 4x MSAA multisampling, Vsync off, Shadows: ultra; Post Process: High; Night Lighting: High; Vehicle Reflections: Ultra; Ambient Occlusion: Ultra; Water: high; Objects: Ultra; Trees: Ultra; Crowd: Ultra; Ground Cover: High.

Metro Last Light

Using the included benchmark tool. The settings are set to 1920x1080, DirectX 11, quality is set to very high, Texture filtering is untouched at 4x, and motion blue is set to normal. SSAA is unselected, PhysX is unselected, Tessellation is off. We run through scene D6 three times to get an average score.

Synthetic Benchmarks

For video cards our synthetic benchmarks are limited to 3DMark Vantage 2011, and 3DMark 2013 (AKA 3DMark). In 3DMark Vantage 2011 we run both performance and extreme benchmarks. The same goes for the most current version of 3DMark, we run through Fire Strike on standard and extreme settings.

Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0

Using the “Extreme” preset

Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0 heat testing

We run through Unreal Heaven at 1080p for 30 minutes to test in game heat performance and noise output of the card while under load.

Power Usage

Using Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0, we get our “load” power usage number from the peak power usage during our test. We get our numbers from a Kill-A-Watt connected to the test benches power cord.

Noise Testing

Our Noise testing is done using a decibel meter 3 inches away from the video card on the bottom/fan side of the card. We test an idle noise level and then to get an idea of how loud the card will get if it warms all the way up we also turn the fan speed up to 100% and test again. The 100% test isn’t a representation of typical in game noise levels, but it will show you how loud a card can be if you run it at its highest setting or if it gets very hot.



Cooling, Noise, and Power

I was actually expecting this card to pull at least a watt over what the reference design pulled under load simply for powering the extra cooling of the card. Surprisingly though our numbers were spot on both times. If I hadn't done the testing myself both times I would think that someone was just being lazy and faking the numbers considering the flat 200 and 400 watt results. As with the reference design, I love that this pulls a little less than the lower TDP GTX 680 even.

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It’s interesting to be able to see how the GTX ACX stands next to the reference design for noise output. I wasn’t surprised that the two fans made a little more noise at idle, just like we saw with our R7970 from XFX but even at 100% the difference wasn’t as big as I expected. Under normal use the EVGA card was noticeably louder as well, but that is more related to EVGA’s fan profiles, as you will see in the next result they are a little different than the reference design.  

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I was extremely impressed when I did the load temperature testing on the GTX 770 ACX. The card came in 20 degrees less than what the reference design did. This can be attributed to the more efficient cooling design some but I also noticed that the fan profile for this card is a little more aggressive than the reference design meaning the fans will spool up earlier and faster. Considering the results I don’t think we can complain.

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Synthetic Benchmarks

The slight overclock on the GTX 770 ACX was noticeable right away when I saw our test results in our synthetic benchmark suite. It’s impressive that just a small benchmark yielded improvements like a 142 point bump in 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme, inching closer to the GTX 780. Of course in the standard Fire Strike benchmark the GTX 780 still has a considerable lead over everything else we have tested.

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In Game Benchmarks

In all of our in game benchmark suite I was impressed to see a fairly consistent 2-3 FPS improvement over the already fast GTX 770. This pushed the results up in closer to results from SLI’ed GTX 660’s in a lot of cases. In every single one of our benchmarks, which almost all consist of current generation games running at their maximum settings including AA, we have the GTX 770 ACX pulling well above playable FPS’s all the way up to an impressive 317 in Batman. Hopefully you will find a game in our tests that you are interested in, if not please leave us feedback, we are always looking for benchmarks to help show you each cards performance.

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Overclocking

Lucky for me we already had a copy of EVGA’s Precision X software when I put the GTX 770 to the test or I wouldn't have had much luck. EVGA has put a lot of time into fine tuning their software over the years to make it simple and easy to use when overclocking or just watching your cards performance. It is so easy in fact that my wife has been using it for some time with her GTX 580 Classified and now for a short period of time with her new GTX 770 ;). It was great to see that it was easy enough for her to jump in and toy around with it while having no experience at all.

Moving on to our overclock testing I took the same approach that I normally would and the same approach that I used on the GTX 770 reference card. I start with testing out GPU clock speeds and then move on to Memory, once I have the best possible speeds I toy around with combining them and see how it all works. I have put together a spreadsheet with my overclocking experience below. To initially test my overclocks I use test 2 on 3DMark 11 set to performance settings, there are more demanding tests out there but I have found this one to be similar to a lot of games in load.

GPU Clock Speed Overclocking

GPU Clock Speed Offset

Pass/Fail

Resulting GPU Speed

FPS Result

Notes

103Mhz

Pass

1346Mhz

54.69

 

155Mhz

Fail

1333Mhz

N/A

 

135Mhz

Fail

1320Mhz

N/A

 

122Mhz

Fail

1320Mhz

N/A

 

107Mhz

Fail

1306Mhz

N/A

 

105Mhz

Pass

1306Mhz

55.07

 

106Mhz

Pass

1306Mhz

55.07

 

107Mhz

Pass

1306Mhz

55.10

 

117MhZ

Pass

1306Mhz

55.04

 

117Mhz

Fail

1306Mhz

N/A

Added voltage

 

Memory Clock Offset Overclocking

Memory Clock Speed Offset

Pass/Fail

Resulting Memory Speed

FPS Result

Notes

400Mhz

Pass

3903Mhz

51.63

 

500Mhz

Pass

4001Mhz

51.73

 

550Mhz

Pass

4059Mhz

51.76

 

575MhZ

Pass

4082Mhz

51.80

1 Artifact

600MhZ

Pass

4104Mhz

51.81

1 Artifact

625Mhz

Pass

4131Mhz

51.83

30+ Artifacts

 

Combined GPU and Memory overclocks together

GPU Offset

Memory Offset

Pass Fail

FPS Result

Notes

117MHZ

600MHz

Pass

55.92

5 Artifacts

This time around the GTX 770 acted a little more erratic when overclocking the GPU. A good example of this was adding voltage to a known good clock killing it. When you figure in the overclock on this card already my results were fairly close though, the reference card was able to do 1320Mhz while this card hit 1306Mhz and wouldn't go a click over it. On the memory side of things I was once again very impressed with the clocks I was able to get with this card. I even pulled a little more than I could on the reference design. I settled on the same 4104Mhz or 8208Mhz effective clock speed on both the reference and EVGA cards but I found the EVGA card to be much more stable at that clock, this might be related to its additional cooling.

 


Overall and Final Verdict

The more I look at the GTX 770 ACX the more the styling grows on me. I do still miss the glowing GTX Geforce logo on the top and I feel that EVGA could have done a better job showing what card you have on that top edge. The GTX 770 ACX does look great from any angle though, the black PCB, champagne trimming and clean styling will look great in a lot of clean builds here soon, I can’t wait to see what everyone does with them.

The ACX cooling was especially impressive in our testing, when under load in game temperatures sat at 20 degree’s less than a reference cooler the entire time. This also translated to some impressive overclock numbers that on the memory side of things broke the speeds that I hit with the reference card.

Overall the EVGA GTX 770 ACX is a great card for anyone who is looking for a GTX 770 to consider. Not only are you going to get kick ass performance and an impressive cooling design. But you are also buying into the EVGA life that gets you their top notch warranty service and also the step up program in case you change your mind early on and want to get a GTX 780. 

fv3tophonors

 

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31187 30 May 2013 20:09
The second review for today is a second GTX 770, this time around with EVGA's new ACX cooling. Check out the review to find out how the additional cooling performed.
Deb0's Avatar
Deb0 replied the topic: #31188 30 May 2013 20:30
For all the futuristic looks of the nVidia style cards I like how the EVGA is keeping it classic sexy.

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