Graphics Cards Guide
Manli GeForce GTX770 Ultimate - All That Glitters is Not Gold
Manli GeForce GTX770 Ultimate - Mundane and Muted?
The brand name of Manli may not be familiar to many readers; however, to some, they may recall that Ban Leong used to distribute Manli graphics cards locally, just a couple of years ago in 2010. The company behind them is Manli Technology Group Limited, a Hong Kong-based manufacturer and supplier of a wide range of products from NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards to USB 3.0 portable drives. They even have boards based on both Intel and AMD chipsets; however, the boards support previous generation processors like the Intel Core 2 and AMD Athlon II processors.
On the contrary, its graphics offerings are definitely more up to date, with the Manli GeForce GTX770 Ultimate 4GB GDDR5 graphics card featuring an overclocked GK104 core.
It is rated to operate at 1150MHz, an increment of about 10% over the default clock speed of 1046MHz. Its 4GB of video memory remains at the default of 7012MHz. Speaking of which, the last round of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 cards that we have tested only feature half the video memory buffer of the Manli GeForce GTX770 Ultimate. A check at Manli's site revealed that they do offer a 2GB variant of the same card. In any case, it would make for a nice case study if the extra memory on our 4GB test card is of any benefit.
For a short recap, the Kepler GK104 graphics chip of the GeForce GTX 770 is the same one found on the older GeForce GTX 680. However, on the GTX 770, the GK104 core has its clock speeds tweaked; its base operating clock speed has been boosted to 1046MHz, up from 1006MHz.. But the GTX 770's boost clock has been reduced to 1085MHz from the original 1110MHz. Its memory modules have been increased to 7012MHz DDR, compared to the 6008MHz DDR of the older GTX 680. The GTX 770 also features the GPU Boost 2.0 technology that utilizes the temperature threshold of the GPU to ascertain the feasibility of boosting the GPU's clock speeds. For more information, do refer to our original review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 card.
Back to the Manli GeForce GTX770 Ultimate, the card is two slots thick and measures about 10.5 inches in length, which is typical in size to most performance class graphics cards. There isn't a backplate attached to the rear of the card and you can notice the Samsung GDDR5 memory chips that are marked below with red frames.
For video connectivity options, the card has the standard outputs:- two dual-link DVI ports, one HDMI port and one DisplayPort. The rear metal bracket has a light gold color.
These are the specifications of our graphics testbed:
- Intel Core i7-3960X (3.3GHz)
- ASUS P9X79 Pro (Intel X79 chipset) Motherboard
- 4 x 2GB DDR3-1600 G.Skill Ripjaws Memory
- Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (OS)
- Western Digital Caviar Black 7200 RPM 1TB SATA hard drive (Benchmarks + Games)
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
We fielded one of the top-end GeForce GTX 770 graphics cards, which is the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 Windforce 3X OC 2GB GDDR5, to see how the extra video memory of the Manli card will give it an edge over the top-end 2GB variant. For its AMD rivals, we rounded up two top-performing AMD R9 280X cards for comparison. They are the ASUS ROG R9 280X Platinum 3GB GDDR5 and the MSI R9 280X Gaming 3G.
- Manli GeForce GTX 770 Ultimate 4GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 332.21, ForceWare 331.40 Beta)
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 Windforce 3X OC 2GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 331.40 Beta)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 331.40 Beta)
- ASUS ROG Radeon R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 (AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.2)
- MSI R9 280X Gaming 3G 3GB GDDR5 (AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.2)
We also tested the Manli card with the most current GeForce drivers, version 332.21, in order to determine the performance gains over the older 331.40 Beta drivers. As we shall see below, there weren't any discernible performance gains. As such, our comparison results from the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 Windforce 3X OC are still valid.
We chose to use a subset of our usual benchmarks to determine the gaming performance of the Manli GeForce GTX770 Ultimate card since we already have prior experience with GTX 770 cards and that we've reviewed the reference card's capabilities in detail. The two benchmarks used are as follows:-
- Futuremark 3DMark 2013
- Crysis 3
In addition, the card's temperature performance, power consumption and overclocking capabilities were also examined. For our temperature and power consumption tests, 3DMark 2011 was used.
From its gaming performance, we can see that the latest graphics drivers didn't make a significant impact on improving the card's performance. Neither did the extra 2GB of GDDR5 video memory help much. Despite the higher clock speed of the its graphics core, the Manli GTX 770 Ultimate card failed to beat the Gigabyte card in 3DMark. Against the R9 280X cards, the difference was more obvious, the Manli GTX770 Ultimate trailed by an average of 3%.
Fortunately in Crysis 3 benchmarking, the extra 2GB of video memory of the Manli card made it pull ahead by a thin margin against the comparative GTX 770 cards. Against the AMD competitors, the Manli card's performance was much better for the most part.
The overclocked Manli card failed to outperform Gigabyte GTX 770 card. It was the AMD R9 280X cards that shone in this section of our tests.
Temperature and Power Consumption
Comparatively speaking, the custom cooling system of the card wasn't good enough as it was only marginally better than a reference cooler. The card's temperature was the second highest as even the two AMD R9 280X cards' operating temperatures were below 65 degrees Celsius. For power consumption, the Manli card was the highest. We understand that the NVIDIA cards have their NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0 technology to boost their performances by using the GPU temperature threshold, and power consumption as factors. Even if you factor these aspects, despite operating warmer and drawing the most power, the Manli GTX770 Ultimate card failed to turn in a performance lead as seen earlier.
The Manli GeForce GTX770 Ultimate card did make a good first impression as it is the first GTX 770 with 4GB of video memory buffer that we've tested. It did give the card a slight advantage as we measured the average frame rates churned out by the card during the Crysis 3 benchmark. However, its operating temperatures were not much better than a reference cooler and it had the highest power draw of any other card in our comparison. Further to that, our overclocking experience was only average and it didn't best our current leader of the GeForce GTX 770 group.
We found the card to retail for 5,904,000 rupiahs, which comes out to be about S$612 when converted to our local currency. This makes the card more expensive than the average price tag of S$560 of most add-in card partners' GeForce GTX 770 4GB editions.
In comparison against the AMD R9 280x-based rivals, the Manli GeForce GTX 770 Ultimate failed to outperform them during our testing. Price-wise, the Manli card is about 30% expensive more than a typical AMD R9 280X-based graphics card, which has an average retail of S$470. For gamers looking to build a mid-range system, the AMD R9 280X graphics card is an ideal choice that is also easier on the pocket. In short, despite its good first impression, the Manli card failed to outperform its competitors. Even with a three-year manufacturer's guarantee, it's quite hard to make a case for the Manli card.