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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.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 measures just 11", the GeForce GTX 590 boasts 8 Graphic Processing Clusters, 32 Streaming Multiprocessors, and 1024 CUDA cores. There are also 96 ROP (Raster Operations) units and 128 TAU (Texture Addressing Units). The GeForce GTX 590 is paired with two banks of 1536MB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1707MHz (3414MHz DDR) for a total memory capacity of 3072MB.
The AMD ATI Radeon HD 6990 is a massive graphics card measuring in at 12 inches long (30cm) and weighing a little over 1kg. The heatsinks are separated by a blower fan which is positioned in-between them rather than at the end of the card. The Radeon HD 6990 has an impressively low 37-watt idle consumption. The GDDR5 memory works at 5000MHz (1.25GHz x 4) on this particular model and features a 4GB capacity.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 contains four GPCs with a total of eight SMXs, 1536 CUDA cores, eight geometry units, four raster units, 128 texture units, and 32 ROP units. The base clock is 1006MHz, the GTX 680 also carries 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM running at 6008MHz with a 256-bit interface providing 6.0Gb/s of throughput. Dual six-pin power connectors feed the card's TDP of 195W.
The AMD ATI Radeon HD 7970 measures 27 cm long (10.6 in), the GPU core is clocked at 925MHz, and the GDDR5 memory operates at the same frequency of 1375MHz (5.5GHz DDR). Still, pairing that frequency with a 384-bit memory bus gives the HD 7970 264GB/s of theoretical bandwidth. The HD 7970 carries 2048 SPUs, 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs, up 33% from 1536 SPUs and 96 TAUs, it's also the first PCI Express 3.0-compatible card.
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