Nvidia announces twin-Kepler, 4GB GeForce GTX 690 GPU

By Lee Kaelin on April 30, 2012, 8:30 AM

Nvidia has announced its latest graphics card, the range-topping twin Kepler-based dual GPU monster GeForce GTX 690. The combination of two GTX 680 GPU cores onto one board makes this the fastest graphics solution on the market, for the moment at least.

It also oozes the visual quality and performance the namesake suggests, with its trivalent chromium-plated aluminum frame, thixomolded magnesium alloy fan housing, and dual vapor chamber with nickel-plated fins. It's certainly different, but a refreshing move from the usual cosmetic finishes of more traditional graphics cards that clearly sets it apart as something rather special.

"The GTX 690 is truly a work of art - gorgeous on the outside with amazing performance on the inside," claimed Brian Kelleher, senior vice president of GPU engineering at Nvidia. "Gamers will love playing on multiple screens at high resolutions with all the eye candy turned on. And they'll relish showing their friends how beautiful the cards look inside their systems."

Under the hood is just as purposeful, with the two Kepler GPU's providing a total of 3,072 CUDA cores for more than double the framerates of its single core cousin, the GTX 680. It also includes 4GB of GDDR5 RAM at 6.0Gbps running on a 512-bit bus and a base clock of 915MHz, although it can be boosted to 1019MHz in "select" scenarios -- quite what qualifies as that is a little unclear right now, however.

Video output is provided by three dual-link DVI ports and a single Mini-DisplayPort 1.2 output. Power is provided by two 8-pin connectors using a new 10-phase heavy duty power supply which is connected to a ten layer two-ounce copper PCB. Nvidia also claim the dual-GPU card is more power efficient and quieter than running a pair of GTX 680's in SLI.

The new GTX 690 will be available in limited quantities from May 3, with full store availability from May 7 onwards. As many already suspect just by looking at the finish of it, it's not going to be cheap. Pricing is set at just a dollar under $1000.




User Comments: 24

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amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Can't wait to see real benchmarks of this GPU against SLi GTX 570's, 580's and 680's.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Really makes me wish I had a few extra thousand dollars just lying around. Two of these on an X79 with all the enthusiast trimmings... I could play some serious Tetris. Alas, I'll have to wait for the benchmarks and settle for the dream.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Last I looked Quad GPU setups had many issues and only a select few games support Quad GPU setups properly. I did see a list of 12 or so games that did support a 4th GPU but the 4th GPU scaling was so awful it wasn't worth the time or money. Isn't the sweet spot still 3 GPU's?

Are things better with 4 GPU's now?

Cmon techspot do a 3 GPU vs 4 GPU test, factor in money and 4th GPU performance!!

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Cmon techspot do a 3 GPU vs 4 GPU test, factor in money and 4th GPU performance!!

The petition starts now.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Cmon techspot do a 3 GPU vs 4 GPU test, factor in money and 4th GPU performance!!

+1

BMfan BMfan said:

Cmon techspot do a 3 GPU vs 4 GPU test, factor in money and 4th GPU performance!!

+1

$lamscaper said:

Cmon techspot do a 3 GPU vs 4 GPU test, factor in money and 4th GPU performance!!

+1

How could you not want to do this test? Please Techspot, the people have spoken!

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

Cmon techspot do a 3 GPU vs 4 GPU test, factor in money and 4th GPU performance!!

+1

Guest said:

Probably the best dual-GPU card ever made, in terms of overall balance of performance, material construction quality, noise levels and power consumption. Having said that it should have had 4GB of VRAM per GPU since such a card is perfect for multi-monitor gaming or higher resolutions.

Still, looking at what happened to driver scaling with HD4870X2, HD5970 and is now starting to happen more often with GTX590/HD6990, it seems once NV and AMD move on to the next generation, the SLI/CF scaling falls off a cliff for older cards, until it's basically permanently broken. In 2014 when Maxwell/HD9000 series are out a $500 card will be better than this. Kinda hard to drop $1K to max out console ports. But sure, for people who make $1k a day, this is a reasonable card.

SCJake said:

Cmon techspot do a 3 GPU vs 4 GPU test, factor in money and 4th GPU performance!!

+1

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Am I the only one concerned about the size of them? I don't know if it is the perspective or not, but they look longer than the mother board. and with that second GPU, it looks like you can't do anything with those bottom connections.

Guest said:

The card isn't too big really, look here:

http://www.techpowerup.com/img/12-04-30/16.jpg

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Am I the only one concerned about the size of them? I don't know if it is the perspective or not, but they look longer than the mother board. and with that second GPU, it looks like you can't do anything with those bottom connections.

A lot of the people who will be jumping on these things at and shortly after release will likely have extra large ATX cases that can accomodate the ridiculous size of the card. This has been a frequent complaint with some of the newer top-tier components recently (such as Corsair's 2400Mhz memory modules causing fitting problems for CPU coolers on the X79) , so I imagine that future iterations of the card will be modified for a bit more spacial practicality.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

A lot of the people who will be jumping on these things

At the likely availability and $999 price tag....no they wont. There is light year difference between dreaming of owning one and actually owning one

at and shortly after release will likely have extra large ATX cases that can accomodate the ridiculous size of the card

Chances of someone dropping 1k on a card and not having a chassis able to fit it....?

Chances of someone dropping 1k on a card and not being able to buy a chassis that could fit it ?

You do realise that the card is 11" long....that is to say, the same length as an HD 4870X2 -a card that was launched four years ago, and the HD 5870...and is a full inch shorter than the HD 5970 ( launched Nov. 2009) and the HD 6990. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that anyone seriously looking at the card probably 1. Has a standard sized enthusiast card to start with (10.5" or longer), and/or 2. Already knows the internal dimensions of their chassis.

This has been a frequent complaint with some of the newer top-tier components recently (such as Corsair's 2400Mhz memory modules causing fitting problems for CPU coolers on the X79)

Immaterial. All tall RAM heatspreaders have the ability to be problematic for large air coolers on X79. It's also a well known fact-as is the proximity of the DIMMS-to-socket distance for LGA2011

Imagine that future iterations of the card will be modified for a bit more spacial practicality.

Nope. Nvidia are already on record as saying that the reference version of the card will be the only version of the card made available. You ever see a non-reference pcb GTX 590 ? (and no, slapping a waterblock on a reference card doesn't count).

I sincerely doubt that a non-reference version (unless it was 2 x 4GB VRAM) could eclipse the reference design. Dual vapor chambers and a Magnesium/Aluminium/Plexi construction is more indicative of what would be a top-of-the-line limited edition vendor card (I.e. Mars III) in any case.

venomblade said:

Even though it's 2gb per GPU, I really really wish they wouldn't advertise it as a 4gb card. It's tricked many with the "3gb" and "4gb" 590 and 6990 respectively, and now this "4gb" 690 with only 2gb usable overall...I wouldn't drop $1,000 on such a powerful GPU with only 2gb vram.

killeriii said:

Cmon techspot do a 3 GPU vs 4 GPU test, factor in money and 4th GPU performance!!

+1

Alpha Gamer Alpha Gamer said:

Cmon techspot do a 3 GPU vs 4 GPU test, factor in money and 4th GPU performance!!

+1

+1

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

@ amstech, Burty117 et al with the +1's

How do you propose to test Tri SLI with a GTX 690 ? The GTX 680* can't be SLI'ed with the dual card.

Since the dawn of multi-GPU it has been a fact that 2 and 3 GPU's are the effective limit of scaling- either due to drivers, CPU or RAM limitation.

If you're all that keen on multi scaling of enthusiast cards (hands up all those actually looking at purchasing 3 enthusiast level cards-be truthful now), I'd suggest the Dutch Hardware.info Quad/Tri SLI and CrossfireX review and the Vortez review covering the same ground...albeit the latter with a very odd conclusion based on weighting no-AA benchmarks equally with 4 & 8 x AA - why you would run quad-GPU on a single screen with no antialiasing seems like trying to achieve a manufactured result:

A quick look at 2560x1600 benches with antialiasing applied shows:

Crossfire scaling: 64% (CFX over single GPU), 41.8% (3CFX over CFX), 29.5% (4CFX over 3CFX)

SLI scaling : 72.7% (SLI over single GPU), 32.6% (Tri SLI over SLI), 42.8% (quad SLI over tri SLI)

*Those with longer memories might even realize that Techspot hasn't done a GTX 680 review since Steve hasn't received a review sample....so I'm not too sure how he's supposed to run tri-SLI through a benchmark suite- even if he was lucky enough to score two GTX 690 review samples. By my count there are ten of you wanting this to happen -that's only $US200 apiece (for the 680/690's) and another $130 or so for the 7970's.

Guest said:

(fascinated) ..oooohhhh...mmmmm....

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

A quick links dump of GTX 690 reviews.

Hardware Canucks

Hardware Heaven

Techpowerup

Anandtech

PC Perspective

Hi Tech Legion

Bjorn3D

HardOCP

Guru of 3D

Xbit

Tom's Hardware

Overclockersclub

Hardware France ( use your preferred translator if you don't read French)

An exceptional card. Seems to match GTX 680 SLI while running as cool, using less power and quieter than the single card. The fact that it also trade blows with HD 7970 CrossfireX in overall performance, while beating it in temps, noise and power usage means AMD might be burning the midnight oil speccing out the HD 7990.

With that kind of scaling, I'd like to see the 670 and 660Ti get the same duallie treatment. Pity it won't happen.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Seriously think I would trade my 680s in for one of these babies... if I could feel completely safe about the trade. The 690 looks like an amazing card and it addresses one of my peeves about the high end card - why does the casing always feel so cheap?

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I'd think you would get the retail price back (and possibly more) on the 680's judging by the lack of supply. Your Asus cards' warranty is valid worldwide based on serial # -so nothing stopping you making out like a bandit on eBay! The only problem might be sourcing the 690 -looks like the scalpers are out in force

[link]

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Yep - that's my biggest fear. I'm fairly certain I can sell my 680s individually for at least what I paid, but I will probably have a pretty difficult time getting a 690.

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