On NVIDIA Game Festival 2012 in Shanghai, China, Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder , CEO and President of NVIDIA introduced GeForce GTX 690 4GB graphics card... in front of underwhelmed audience.
The audience consisted out of couple hundred, if not couple thousand young gamers were trying to follow Jen-Hsun during his keynote, where a completely new game service was announced - GeForce Experience is the name of service which will attach to the GeForce driver and seek for optimal game settings for your configuration. If you are a hard core gamer - you won't need these settings. If you aren't... then this service might be quite useful.
The star of the event was a $999 card, the GeForce GTX 690. The board is consisted out of two GK104 GPUs, 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The interesting bit is the thermal limitation, i.e. keeping the power limit at the same level of its predecessor, the GeForce GTX 590.GeForce GTX 690 - aluminum backplate, magnesium fan housing, polycarbonate windows (to keep the weight down).
If you are wondering how did NVIDIA made two GTX 680s fit and increased the power consumption by just 50% (from 195W for GTX 680 to 300W for 690), the answer is simple: reduced the clocks. In theory, the board can pull up to 375W and GPU Boost will have plenty of room to work with correct voltages.3072 cores per card for your gaming pleasure. Yes, that is a Quad SLI setup.
While a single GeForce GTX 680 operates at 1006MHz for the GPU and 1002MHz QDR for the memory, GTX 690 has two GPUs clocked at 915MHz. The memory clock remained the same, meaning that a single card now has joint-video memory bandwidth of astounding 375.5GB/s.
Do not expect good performance in computational tests, as Kepler is still limited to 1/24 FP32 when FP64 is used. However, this card is for gaming, not for computation.
The card will officially launch on next Thursday (May 3rd), but do not expect widespread availability. According to our sources, there is a very limited amount of supply of GeForce GTX 680 boards, yet alone availability of boards which will require two pieces of precious 28nm silicon by TSMC. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 GPU will be available in limited quantities starting May 3, 2012, with wider availability by May 7, 2012 from NVIDIA’s add-in card partners, including ASUS, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Inno3D, MSI, Palit and Zotac. Expected pricing is $999.
While we aren't too sure that releasing the GTX 690 so soon after the GTX 680, there is no doubt that this card will make it tougher for AMD to compete with NVIDIA on performance. There is a good chance, though, that AMD may end up delivering a value proposition since this card will go for around $999 which is easily one of the most expensive cards we've ever seen as a reference card. There's no denying the awesomeness of this card as a reference design and we're looking forward to being able to test this card against the GTX 590 as well as the GTX 680. We will address our concerns about the GTX 590 in a later article, perhaps a bit during the review of the card itself.
As always, we are excited to see yet another flagship card come out but are eagerly awaiting to see the more affordable cards based on the Kepler architecture as well as understand why NVIDIA would launch two flagship cards so closely together. It simply does not sound like a sound business decision unless they are trying to beat AMD to releasing a new flagship card.
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