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Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB Review

Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB Review

Manufacturer: Nvidia
UK price (as reviewed): £879.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $1050.99 (ex tax)

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We knew this would happen. Every year Nvidia and AMD queue up to release their latest high-end GPUs and, just as tick follows tock, they're swiftly followed up by a card that makes all but the richest of gamers weep: the dual-GPU monster.

This time around it's Nvidia's turn and, as the firm's naming convention dictates, it's the GeForce GTX 690. Let's get this out of the way immediately: the GTX 690 costs £880.

There's no sign of the economies of scale potentially caused by using one heatsink, enclosure or PCB to contain two Kepler cores, and Nvidia has been upfront about the cost of one GTX 690 mirroring that of two GTX 680s.

It's not quite as simple as slapping two of those GTX 680 cores on one PCB, though. As usual with dual-GPU cards, the top-end specification has been trimmed back slightly for the dual-core version.

The GK104 core, for instance, was launched at a headline grabbing 1,006MHz - just 6MHz more than the 1,000MHz which AMD unveiled with its first current-generation card, the Radeon HD 7870. Here, it's dialled down to a still-superb 915MHz. Nvidia's GPU Boost technology is still here, so the card will reach the heady heights of a guaranteed 1,019MHz if any game demands that level of power - a step down from the 1,058MHz of a single GTX 680, but a still a deeply impressive figure.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB Review
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There's no option of having four gigabytes of RAM attached to each core, either, as is possible with the most expensive GTX 680 cards. The GTX 690 still includes 4GB of GDDR5 RAM across the whole board, and it's still clocked at 6,008MHz.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB Review
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The fundamental Kepler architecture is still in place. There's no deactivation of streaming multiprocessors or CUDA cores: the GTX 690 boasts a mighty 3,072 stream processors across the card. They’re divided into eight of Nvidia’s Graphics Processing Clusters, each of which contains two of its Streaming Multiprocessors. There’s the small matter of seven billion transistors included – the most we’ve ever seen on a graphics card.

Its price of around £880 is a little more than twice the price of the GTX 680, and that puts the GTX 690 on another level compared to every current generation product - at least, we assume, until AMD releases a dual-core Radeon HD 7000-series card.

Specifications
  • Graphics processor Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB, 915MHz
  • Pipeline 2 x 1,566 stream processors, 32 ROPs
  • Memory 4GB GDDR5, 6GHz effective
  • Bandwidth 2 x 192GB/sec, 256-bit interface
  • Compatibility DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.1
  • Outputs/Inputs 3 x DVI, mini DisplayPort
  • Power connections Two 8-pin
  • Size 279mm long, dual-slot