Articles: Graphics

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Design and Functionality

At 295x120x64 millimeters, the graphics card looks truly monumental, resembling an ironclad:

We can see no fans on the face side of the card. There is just a metallic casing with decorative cutouts, manufacturer name and Super OverClock captions. The reverse side of the card is covered with a perforated metallic plate, too.

There is a row of five small fans at the top of the device, partially covered with a metallic bar. A massive heatsink with heat pipes can be seen at the bottom.

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 SOC WindForce 5X is equipped with two DVI outputs (one of them is dual-link), one HDMI 1.4a, and one DisplayPort version 1.2.


At the opposite end of the PCB we can see as many as three fan connectors and some mysterious interface plug.

Two MIO connectors for building SLI configurations can be found in their standard location: in the top part of the PCB, near the video outputs.


Instead of the reference sample's 6- and 8-pin power connectors, the Gigabyte version has two 8-pin ones to ensure that it gets enough power to work at increased clock rates. A 650-watt PSU is recommended for a computer with one such graphics card, which is 100 watts higher than the PSU requirements of the reference Nvidia GeForce GTX 680.

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 SOC WindForce 5X features a custom PCB design with enhanced voltage regulator circuitry:

There are as many as eight power phases for the GPU and three more for the memory chips and PLL.


The graphics card belongs to the Super Overclock series which features high-quality durable components, Japan-made capacitors, and low-ESR film capacitors Proadlizer NEC/TOKIN installed on the reverse side of the PCB.

The GPU voltage regulator is based on an 8-phase PWM controller CHiL CHL8318:

The J13 pins can be found in the top part of the PCB which can be used to measure voltages (V-PLL, V-MEM and V-GPU). Not as handy as, for example, with MSI cards, yet there are not so many products that offer this feature.

The Gigabyte card offers dual BIOS which can be switched by means of the square highlighted button located near the video outputs. The ordinary BIOS version (blue highlighting) defines increased frequencies whereas the extreme BIOS version (red highlighting) removes any current limitations, boosting the GPU’s power limit by 300%. The extreme BIOS is meant for hardcore overclocking at extremely low temperatures.

GPUs for Gigabyte's Super Overclock series undergo the GPU Gauntlet procedure which consists of a number of stress tests. Therefore, such graphics cards only come with high-quality chips that sport high overclocking potential. The GK104 GPU of our sample was manufactured in Taiwan on the 25th week of 2012 (mid-June) and is revision A2:

Its base clock rate is increased from 1006 to 1137 MHz (by 13%) and its boost clock rate can get as high as 1202 MHz. Otherwise, it is a typical Kepler, working at voltages of 1.175 volts in 3D mode and 0.988 volts in 2D mode. The GPU clock rate is dropped to 324 MHz in 2D applications.

The graphics card is equipped with 2 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory. These are Samsung K4G20325FD-FC03 chips:

The memory clock rate is increased from 6008 to 6200 MHz (or by 3.2%) by default, which is not much. Anyway, this makes the Gigabyte version a little bit faster. This parameter is dropped to 648 MHz in 2D applications.

Here is a summary of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 SOC WindForce 5X specs:

Now we can take a closer look at its cooler.

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