After Nvidia took off the cover of the GeForce GTX 780 a week ago, Nvidia is ready to release the next part of the GeForce 700 series. Gainward gives us a first look at the GeForce GTX 770 with its special Phantom Edition card, which includes an improved cooling solution, factory overclocking and 8-phase PWM.

But let's put things in a wider context. The GTX 780, first introduced last week, was based on the same Kepler GK110 architecture as the GTX Titan. Nvidia valued the GTX 780 at $ 650, which is 35% cheaper than the GTX Titan, but also 40% more expensive than the GTX 680. In terms of performance, the GTX 780 was only 10-15% slower than the Titan which is added value at an otherwise very exclusive price, but the numbers were less impressive compared to the GTX 680 as the GTX 780 was only 24% faster.

Therefore, the GeForce GTX 780 is an attractive option for those who want titanium-level performance at a more moderate price. Overall, however, the 780 was hardly exciting news for the vast majority of gamers as it remains a very expensive proposition and its release has done nothing to bring down the prices of previous generation cards.

We looked forward to the GeForce GTX 770's release and hoped it would be a little more meaningful for the gaming community. The GTX 770 is based on the GK104 architecture first used by last year's GTX 680. Previous rumors suggested the GTX 770's specs would be similar to a GTX 680 for steroids, and it turns out that is exactly what it is. Almost everything on the GTX 770 and GTX 680 is the same except for the core and memory clock rates.

The GTX 770 has the fastest GDDR5 memory we've ever seen at 7 GHz. Memory at this clock speed is good for a peak bandwidth of 224 GB / s, 16% more than the GTX 680. So if you could overclock a GTX 680 technically well enough, you could make a GTX 770.

GeForce GTX 770 Phantom in detail

Gainward prepped their Phantom card in time for the GTX 770 release, touting a redesigned circuit board with improved performance phase, factory overclocking, and a massive three-slot cooler – the last of which is the most notable improvement. Although Gainward showcased its phantom cooler on some GTX 600 series cards, the GTX 770 is the first to launch the company's third generation solution.

The new phantom provides better thermals with a lower noise level and a more stable construction. It's unlike any triple-slot cooler we've come across before. It has five 8 mm heat pipes that extract heat from the base and distribute it evenly on the heat sink.

The most unusual part of the cooler design is the fans or their location. The fans are usually attached to the top of the heat sink. Instead, Gainward has embedded three quiet, brushless 80mm PWM fans in the heat sink. The fans are also removable and have a tool-free design. Similar to hot-swappable hard drive bays, the fans pull out as soon as a single thumbscrew is removed, no cables, no hassle.

The heat sink is 257 mm long, 65 mm wide and 45 mm high. It has a black fan shroud that forces the 80mm fans to suck in air through the ribs above them while pushing it over the card under them. A black aluminum heat spreader moves past the heat sink, which surrounds the top of the card and cools the eight 256 MB GDDR5 memory chips together with the 8-phase PWM.

By using an 8-phase design, Gainward includes two additional phases to power the GPU, which are designed to improve performance under heavy loads and improve the card's overclocking capabilities. Speaking of overclocking, Gainward did a little of the heavy lifting by increasing the core clock from 1046 MHz to 1150 MHz, which is a neat 10% increase, while increasing the boost clock from 1085 MHz to 1202 MHz which corresponds to an increase of 11%. The GDDR5 operating frequency was left at 7 GHz, which means the memory bandwidth remains at 224.3 GB / s.

As already mentioned, the specifications of the GeForce GTX 770 are identical to those of the GTX 680 beyond the clock rates. This means that there are 4 graphics processing clusters, 8 streaming multiprocessors, 1536 CUDA cores, 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs. The rest of the Gainward card remains standard, including a pair of SLI connectors, 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and an I / O panel configuration consisting of HDMI, DisplayPort, and two DVI connectors .