Nvidia and its multitudinous hardware partners have announced the first mainstream-oriented Kepler graphics family, the GeForce GT 640 2GB.
A cut-down member of the GeForce 600 series, the first GeForce GT 640 card out of the gate - a fairly stock model from Zotac - boasts a Kepler GPU with 384 CUDA cores running at 900MHz, 2GB of DDR3 memory running at 1,782MHz effective on a 128-bit bus, and includes all the functionality you would expect from a 600-series card.
Most of the boards announced include a pair of dual-link DVI-D ports and a single HDMI output, with some adding in VGA either through a dedicated port or a DVI-to-VGA adapter bundled in the box. Fans of DisplayPort, sadly, will have to look elsewhere.
Thanks to its trimmed down GPU and cheaper DDR3 memory, Nvidia is positioning the GeForce GT 640 2GB as being for mainstream consumers who do a bit of gaming and are looking for an affordable upgrade away from integrated graphics systems. Accordingly, the company has focused heavily on the board's multimedia functionality including its hardware-accelerated Full HD video playback, Blu-ray 3D support and lossless audio bitstream capabilities.
That's not to say that Nvidia isn't hoping gamers will be interested in the board: like its bigger brothers, the GeForce GT 640 2GB includes support for multi-monitor gaming through Nvidia Surround and the company's Adaptive Vertical Sync technology, along with the same streaming multiprocessor (SMX) technology as other Kepler boards. Nvidia 3D Vision is also supported, when paired with a certified monitor and a pair of active shutter glasses.
As well as retail boards from its hardware partners, Nvidia has confirmed that it is producing an own-brand board of its own for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers. This more than anything indicates Nvidia's desire to convince system builders that an affordable discrete graphics board is a sensible investment, instead of relying on the on-board capabilities of Intel and AMD processors.
The boards have yet to show up in the UK retail channel in significant quantities, but a pre-order page from KSN
offers a clue as to pricing at £87.29 including VAT.