After testing the GeForce GTX 680 last month, it was practically a foregone conclusion that a dual-GPU powered graphics card based on the same GK104 GPU was coming down the pipeline.
By sporting a pair of GK104 cores and more rendering power than any other card, one thing was abundantly clear: this is how NVIDIA will take back the crown from AMD after more than two years of playing second fiddle.
Granted, the GTX 590 offered great framerates and blazed a new, quieter, more refined approach for dual GPU cards but it couldn’t consistently beat the HD 6990, a graphics card that has been the world’s fastest for thirteen months.
The GTX 690 has benefited from NVIDIA’s new engineering approach since the Kepler-based GK104 core uses a fraction of the power and produces significantly less heat than its predecessor.
As a result, the GTX 690 plays host to a pair of fully enabled GK104 cores, each with 1536 CUDA cores, 128 Texture Units, 32 ROPs and is topped off by 4GB of GDDR5 (2GB per GPU) operating at 6Gbps through two 256-bit wide interfaces.
Power saving measures on the GTX 690 may not be all that extreme but when added to the card’s 10 phase all digital PWM and copper-infused PCB, they have a significant impact upon overall power consumption and heat production.
Instead of doubling up the GTX 680’s TDP of 192W –a number that’s already quite low in today’s high end GPU market- a GTX 690 boasts a TDP of just 300W.
Magnesium alloy, a complete lack of plastic, an LED illuminated logo and other details give the GTX 690 a build quality that befits an ultra high end product.
At a stratospheric $999 the GTX 690 certainly isn’t an impulse buy and yet, once you see its performance, you may think twice about dismissing it based upon price alone.