With the GTX 770’s launch, NVIDIA’s board partners saw an opportunity to create a wide number of variations since a reference design never officially created per se. Instead, the market has turned into something resembling the Wild West, with everyone clambering for a piece of the pie. The main reason for this is simple: the GTX 770 resides in a “sweet spot” and perfectly combines raw power and efficiency without costing a fortune. This benefits you and me since it has bred competition on a number of fronts and has brought highly appealing, overclocked solutions to within spitting distance of the GTX 770’s $399 price point.
So here we are covering yet another custom GTX 770, this time the Galaxy GTX 770 GC, which is particularly unique due to its 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Naturally, this comes tied to the hip with higher clock speeds, upgraded components and a high end cooling solution but that’s par for the course these days.
Galaxy’s GTX 770 GC 4GB does have higher-than-reference base and Boost speeds but, from our perspective they won’t amount to a noticeable performance difference. Nearly every other pre-overclocked GTX 770 makes use of higher speeds, particularly when it comes to sustained Boost clocks where the GC trails behind the WindForce OC and Lightning. With that being said, this card’s selling point is its 4GB of memory and an ability to excel in frame buffer limited situations rather than blazing fast core frequencies.
At $459.99 this is by far the most expensive GTX 770 we’ve reviewed to date. Well, that extra 2GB of high-clocked GDDR5 does cost a pretty penny so this budget-demolishing price shouldn’t come as a surprise.
So, for those who keep thinking that GPU processing capabilities of non-flagship cards won’t somehow limit the benefits offered by an obscene amount of memory, this card may be for you. Just remember: increasing the memory footprint doesn’t do a thing to bandwidth specifications so despite its 4GB of GDDR5, the GTX 770 GC 4GB retains the NVIDIA’s default 224.3GB/s of theoretical throughput.
The Galaxy GTX 770 GC 4GB is one sexy looking card. Its combination of an anodized black fan shroud, black decals and a few touches of blue is nothing short of stunning. One of the most important aspects of this design is its size. At just 10.5” it is compact and will fit into most cases without a problem.
The GC 4GB’s heatsink isn’t as extensive as other competing solutions like the Twin Frozr, WindForce and DirectCU’s of this world but then again, it isn’t meant to drastically lower temperatures. Rather, Galaxy wanted it to feature ultra low acoustics above all else which is accomplished with a pair of large 80mm fans that have slight striations to decrease cavitations.
As you might expect, all of the other highlights of high end heatsinks are present: large nickel-plated heatpipes, a copper contact plate and a high density fin array round out the cooling features. Galaxy also claims their shroud design helps direct airflow and hot exhaust air toward the card’s I/O plate instead of into the chassis but we didn’t see any evidence of this.
Since the extra 2GB of GDDR5 memory does consume a significant amount of power, Galaxy thought it prudent to include a 6+8 pin power connector layout. However, the backplate’s dual DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI layout has remained the same as on other cards, ensuring the GTX 770 GC 4GB retains its compatibility with NVIDIA’s Surround multi monitor feature.
Galaxy has added an EVGA-esque high airflow area to this bracket with larger than usual openings which is supposed to promote optimal exhaust performance.
The PCB has received some extensive modifications with the most evident being the additional eight 256MB Hynix SK-series GDDR5 memory modules. Galaxy has also added additional capacitors below the GPU’s core to deliver cleaner, more constant power. The black color scheme has been carried over here, giving the whole card a rather sinister look.
Moving a bit further down the custom PCB we come to six unique venting slots which are placed next to the card’s primary MOSFETS to help speed up their cooling. The GC 4GB’s PWM has been expanded to a 5+2 layout which consists of IR DirectFET MOSFETS that reduce EMI and supposedly run cooler, thus significantly enhancing their lifespans.
While the GC series may not be geared directly towards extreme overclockers, Galaxy has added PLL, memory and core voltage read points in case software solutions aren’t accurate enough for you.