GK104 takes a step down
While the graphics power found in the new GeForce GTX 690, the GeForce GTX 680 and even the Radeon HD 7970 are incredibly impressive, if we are really honest with ourselves the real meat of the GPU market buys options much lower than $999. Today's not-so-well-kept-secret release of the GeForce GTX 670 attempts to bring the price to entry of the NVIDIA Kepler architecture down to a more attainable level while also resetting the performance per dollar metrics of the GPU world once again.
The GeForce GTX 670 is in fact a very close cousin to the GeForce GTX 680 with only a single SMX unit disabled and a more compelling $399 price tag.
The GTX 670 GPU - Nearly as fast as the GTX 680
The secret is out - GK104 finds its way onto a third graphics card in just two months - but in this iteration the hardware has been reduced slightly.
The GTX 670 block diagram we hacked together above is really just a GTX 680 diagram with a single SMX unit disabled. While the GTX 680 sported a total of 1536 CUDA cores broken up into eight 192 core SMX units, the new GTX 670 will include 1344 cores. This will also drop the texture units to 112 (from 128 on the GTX 680) though the ROP count stays at 32 thanks to the continued use of a 256-bit memory interface.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 3, 2012 - 08:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, nvidia, kepler, GTX 690, GK104, geforce
A PC Perspective Live Review Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live. If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!
On the launch day of the new GeForce GTX 690 graphics card, NVIDIA's Tom Petersen once again returned to the PC Perspective offices to talk about this impressive new $999 gaming solution. Based on a pair of GK104 GPUs, we already posted our full review of the GeForce GTX 690 today but this information and discussion with Tom is worth seeing again.
I want to thank Tom for stopping by and speaking with us and I want to thank the thousands of viewers that tuned in to the live stream to make the event a success!
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 3, 2012 - 01:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, GTX 690, GK104, geforce
The GTX690 is certainly the fastest single PCB card on the planet and this generation of NVIDIA's dual GPU card shows great improvements from previous dual GPU cards, but at $1000 MSRP it is essentially the same price as a pair of GTX680s. [H]ard|OCP's testing shows that the GTX690 performs at 95-98% of a pair of SLI'd GTX680s so there really is no noticeable performance difference. This begs the question as to why one might prefer the GTX690 to a pair of GTX680s; to which there are several answers. The most obvious is the size difference, with a GTX690 taking up one PCIe 16x slot and taking 2 slots on the back of the PC, where an SLI setup requires two PCIe 16x slots and takes up 4 slots on the back. Not only will the GTX690 leave you more room in your case it will provide better airflow as you will not have two cards sandwiched against each other as will be the case with many motherboards you would also have a much easier time setting up quad SLI. As well there is the power consumption to consider, in Ryan's testing the GTX690 needed 30W less than the SLI rig and over 100W less than a pair of HD7970s. That also resulted in the GTX690 operating at a slightly cooler temperature as well as being quieter, which is almost as important as the performance. The GTX690 is a beast and if you can afford it ... and find it for sale ... it makes more sense that buying a pair of GTX680s.
"Is the GeForce GTX 690 the best dual-GPU video card ever built? We'll compare performance to GeForce GTX 680 SLI and Radeon HD 7970 CFX to see where the new beast from NVIDIA stands. We overclock the dual GPUs and push these as far as we can. Surely this is the best performance ever experienced from a single video card."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690: The Dual-GPU Beast Arrived! @ Bjorn3D
- NVIDIA GTX 690 Review @ OCC
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Launch Review @ Neoseeker
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Review: Ultra Expensive, Ultra Rare, Ultra Fast @ AnandTech
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Benchmark Performance @ Benchmark Reviews
- VIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Video Card Features @ Benchmark Reviews
- "All Inclusive": Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 2x2 GB @ X-bit Labs
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4 GB @ techPowerU
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Dual-GPU Graphics Card Launch Review @ HardwareHeaven
- NVIDIA Geforce GTX 690 DirectX 11 Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 @ Guru of 3D
- PowerColor PCS+ HD7970 vs Gainward GTX 680 Phantom Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Gainward GeForce GTX 680 Phantom @ Techspot
- 1 GHz with Passive Cooling: Arctic Accelero S1 PLUS and Turbo Module @ X-bit Labs
- Sapphire HD 7870 Review @ OCC
- MSI Radeon HD 7870 HAWK @ Guru of 3D
- HIS Radeon HD 7870 @ FunkyKit
- MSI Radeon HD 7870 HAWK 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- How Does Intel’s HD 4000 Compare on the IQ Scale? @ Kitguru
- DirectX 11.1 Specifications Released @ NGOHQ
GTX 690 Specifications
On Thursday May the 3rd at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT, stop by the PC Perspective Live page for an NVIDIA and PC Perspective hosted event surrounding the GeForce GTX 690 graphics card. Ryan Shrout and Tom Petersen will be on hand to talk about the technology, the performance characteristics as well as answer questions from the community from the chat room, twitter, etc. Be sure to catch it all at http://pcper.com/live
Okay, so it's not a surprise to you at all, or if it is, you haven't been paying attention. Today is the first on-sale date and review release for the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4GB dual-GPU Kepler graphics card that we first announced in late April. This is the dream card any PC gamer out there combining a pair of GTX 680 GK104 GPUs on a single PCB and running them in a single slot SLI configuration and is easily the fastest single card we have ever tested. It also the most expensive reference card we have ever seen with a hefty $999 price tag.
So how does it perform? How about efficiency and power consumption - does the GTX 690 suffer the same problems the GTX 590 did? Can AMD hope to compete with a dual-GPU HD 7990 card in the future? All that and more in our review!
Kepler Architecture Overview
For those of you that may have missed the boat on the GTX 680 launch, the first card to use NVIDIA's new Kepler GPU architecture, you should definitely head over and read my review and analysis of that before heading into the deep-dive on the GTX 690 here today.
Kepler is a 3.54 billion transistor GPU with 1536 CUDA cores / stream processors contained within and even in a single GPU configuration is able produce some impressive PC gaming performance results. The new SMX-based design has some modest differences from Fermi the most dramatic of which is the removal of the "hot clock" - the factor that ran the shaders and twice the clock speed of the rest of the GPU. Now, the entire chip runs at one speed, higher than 1 GHz on the GTX 680.
Each SMX on Kepler now includes 192 CUDA cores as opposed to the 32 cores found in each SM on Fermi - a change that has increased efficiency and performance per watt quite dramatically.
As I said above, there are lot more details on the changes in our GeForce GTX 680 review.
The GeForce GTX 690 Specifications
Many of the details surrounding the GTX 690 have already been revealed by NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during a GeForce LAN event in China last week. The card is going to be fast, expensive and is built out of components and materials we haven't seen any graphics card utilize before.
Depsite the high performance level of the card, the GTX 690 isn't much heavier and isn't much longer than the reference GTX 680 card. We'll go over the details surrounding the materials, cooler and output configuration on the next page, but let's take some time just to look and debate the performance specifications.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 2, 2012 - 02:37 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, nvidia, live review, live, kepler, GTX 690, geforce
Yes, we realize it's actually a "flat bar" but that's nearly as cool to say. Either way, wouldn't you like to win one of these?
Tomorrow at 1pm EDT / 10am PDT we are going to be streaming a LIVE talk between myself and Tom Petersen centered around the GeForce GTX 690 dual-Kepler graphics card at http://pcper.com/live. We will talk about performance, power consumption, features, show demos and of course take user questions through our live chat room, twitter accounts and more.
But we also want to get your questions TODAY to help prepare for the event. If you have a burning question about the GTX 690 or the Kepler architecture and its features, leave us a comment below! (No registartion required.) Both NVIDIA's Tom Petersen and I will give you our feedback. The best question will take home an NVIDIA crowbar so you too can be prepared for the coming apocalypse!
Hurry though, we want them in tonight so we can sort and pick our favorites for the live event tomorrow. For all the details on tomorrow's show, make sure you check our post right here!!
Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | April 30, 2012 - 09:55 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, video, geforce, GTX 690, live, live review
We all know the reviews are coming soon - the GeForce GTX 690 is set to be launched this Thursday. The dual-GK104 Kepler solution with the $999 price tag will likely be the highest performing graphics card on the market (and by a lot) and we are going to be discussing the launch, the technology and a lot more in our PC Perspective Live Review.
Starting Thursday, May 3rd at 1pm EDT / 10am PDT, NVIDIA's Tom Petersen will join me at our live page (http://pcper.com/live) to talk about the new graphics card, the performance and feature characteristics that go into building a high-end solution like this and take questions from the viewers.
You might have seen our original GTX 680 Live Review where Tom and I hosted a similar event - this is definitely something you won't want to miss out on!
Be sure to set your calendars and join us Thursday afternoon for the event! You can use the chat room at http://pcper.com/live to interact and ask questions or follow me on Twitter and reply to me during the show.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 30, 2012 - 03:17 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, GTX 690, geforce
There has been a lot of excitement building about the GeForce GTX 690 dual-GPU graphics card, with the apex during CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's keynote that released all kinds of details this weekend. We go our review sample of the new graphics beast this morning and needless to say NVIDIA felt the need to give this $999 video card a special ride.
With the imprint of "Caution: Weapons Grade Gaming Power" on the outside of the crate, NVIDIA obviously wanted to give us a chance to use the pry bar sent last week. And use it we did.
There isn't much more we can say about the card itself but I can tell you that the fit and finish of the design is just impressive to see in person.
I have included quite a few more photos of the unboxing and the card itself if you continue to the full post right here!!
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 29, 2012 - 01:25 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, geforce experience, geforce
After spilling the beans about the new GeForce GTX 690 card at the GeForce LAN in Shanghai, NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang also let loose on the GeForce Experience, a cloud-based service that promises to simplify the configuration of game settings based on your hardware.
The is incredibly simple but equally impressive in its scope: based on your particular hardware configuration including the processor, memory capacity, storage speed and of course the graphics card, the NVIDIA tool will set the optimal in-game settings and resolution. The breadth of being able to cover ALL the available hardware in the enthusiast market and even the mobile field is enormous but NVIDIA is confident that they have the personnel and testing systems in place to cover it all.
The process is pretty straight forward - when a user opens a game for the first time they will be presented with a screen that shows the default or current game settings side by side with the settings recommended by NVIDIA's GeForce Experience. You can simply hit apply and the configuration files will be updated to the new settings and you are ready to start gaming. Of course, users can simply use that GFE settings as a "base" and then modify them as they see fit.
This will be particularly useful for the mobile market that is usually never addressed by the in-game auto configurations from companies like Valve, resulting in incredibly low frame rates or a horrible 800x600-style experience. Now users will with machines running the somewhat unknown GT 540M will have the option to get some more modern, and hopefully realistic, settings easily applied.
Obviously the goal is make gaming on the PC as simple as gaming on consoles and this type of service will definitely move the industry in the right direction. With the beta supposedly starting in June, this is going to demand a long-term vision and constant and vigilant updates as new games, new driver revisions and user upgrades will constantly change what the "optimal" settings will be. We wish NVIDIA the best of luck to be sure and we will be testing out the service in the not too distant future.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 28, 2012 - 11:55 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, jen-hsun huang, hd 7990, GTX 690, gtx 680, geforce, 7990
During a keynote presentation at GeForce LAN 2012 being held in Shanghai, NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled what many of us have been theorizing would be coming soon; the dual-GPU variant of the Kepler architecture, the GeForce GTX 690 graphics card.
Though reviews aren't going to be released yet, Huang unveiled pretty much all of the information we need to figure it out. With the full specifications listed as well as details about the stunning new design of the card and cooler, the GTX 690 is without a doubt going to be the fastest graphics card on the market when it goes on sale next month.
The GeForce GTX 690 4GB card is based on a pair of GK104 chips, each sporting 1536 CUDA cores, basically identical to the ones used in the GeForce GTX 680 2GB cards released in March. The base clock speed of these parts is slightly lower at 915 MHz but the "typical" Boost clock is set as high as 1019 MHz, pushing it pretty close to the performance of the single GPU solutions. With a total of 3072 processing cores, the GTX 690 will have insane amounts of compute horsepower.
Each GPU will have access to 2GB of independent frame buffer still running at 6 Gbps, for a grand total of 4GB on the card.
Sitting between the two GPUs will be a PCI Express 3.0 capable bridge chip from PLX supporting full x16 lanes to each GPU and a full x16 back to the host system.
In terms of power requirements, the GTX 690 will use a pair of 8-pin connectors and will have a TDP of 300 watts - actually not that high consider the TDP of the GTX 680 is 195 watts on its own. It is obvious that NVIDIA is going to be pulling the very best chips for this card, those that can run at clock speeds over 1 GHz with minimal leakage.
When the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 launched in March we were incredibly impressed with the performance and technology that the GPU was able to offer while also being power efficient. Fast forward nearly a month and we are still having problems finding the card in stock - a HUGE negative towards the perception of the card and the company at this point.
Still, we are promised by NVIDIA and its partners that they will soon have more on shelves, so we continue to look at the performance configurations and prepare articles and reviews for you. Today we are taking a look at the Galaxy GeForce GTX 680 2GB card - their most basic model that is based on the reference design.
If you haven't done all the proper reading about the GeForce GTX 680 and the Kepler GPU, you should definitely check out my article from March that goes into a lot more detail on that subject before diving into our review of the Galaxy card.
The Card, In Pictures
The Galaxy GTX 680 is essentially identical to the reference design with the addition of some branding along the front and top of the card. The card is still a dual-slot design, still requires a pair of 6-pin power connections and uses a very quiet fan in relation to the competition from AMD.