Gigabyte has attempted to set itself apart from the competition by making its video cards energy efficient and well cooled. This is particularly true with the manufacturer’s mid-range cards, but only part of this philosophy carries across to the high range cards, such as the GV-N770OC-2GD. The NVIDIA GeForce GPU is not designed with power efficiency but performance in mind, but the card comes with a custom cooling system from Gigabyte that the vendor is renowned for.
Power of three fans
The GV-N770OC-2GD is an NVIDIA GeForce card featuring the GTX 770 GPU. It comes with a base clock speed of 1137MHz, but Gigabyte allows the user to overclock it to 1189 MHz. The card is fitted with a 256-bit memory interface that makes use of 2GB GDDR5 memory clocked at 7010 MHz. Dual-link DVI-I and DVI-D ports are fitted on the card, as well as inputs for HDMI and DisplayPort. The Kepler architecture on the card allows for multiple displays to be hooked up to a single card. In fact, the card allows up to four displays to be connected simultaneously, though must users will likely only contact two or three screens at most.
Two empty slots in a PC case are required to accommodate the GV-N770OC-2GD, which interfaces with the PCI Express 3.0 slot on the motherboard. This thickness is due to the heat sink that covers the entire length of the card. Dubbed Windforce 3X by Gigabyte, it is a reference to the three large fans mounted on top of the composite heat pipes. A triangular piece of metal in the centre of the heat sink helps to disperse the air from the fans evenly across the card. The cost of all of this cooling is a sizable 450W of energy, which is why Gigabyte recommends a 600W power supply as a minimum.
Cooling and performance
Installing the GV-N770OC-2GD into a test system was relatively painless. The large size of the card made it a bit cumbersome to slot it into the case, but when the card was in place, it stayed in place. Gigabyte’s drivers and the OC GURU II software, which is used to monitor and tweak the card, installed without problem. OC GURU II’s simple menus made it easy to check up on the status of the card, with adjustable setting for the GPU and memory clocks and voltage, as well as the fan system. Running the card through 3DMark11 gained a GPU Score of 11330, and in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon it managed an impressive 60FPS running at 2560x1600 on the very high setting with 2x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering.
The WindForce 3X setup did a good job of cooling the card during testing. When idle at room temperature, the card ran at 32.5°C, though this quickly went up to 70°C when running a modern game such as Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. This is a decent result considering that other high performance GeForce cards usually have a higher temperature at full load. When it came to the noise generated by the fans, the video card was not heard over the hum generated by the fan on the PC power supply when idle. However, the fans on the card were distinctly audible over the power supply during full load, which was not surprising considering they spin at over 2000RPM.
The GV-N770OC-2GD is not the coolest or most quiet high performance card on the market. However, what it does have is a winning combination of performance and reliability thanks to its proprietary cooling system, which is ultimately what matter when it comes to PC gaming.Read more: Hands-on with the world’s lightest gaming laptop
The card is available now from leading local retailers for $499.