Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 Dual-GPU Video Card is a Speed Demon (but Pricey)

By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 30, 2012 01:10 PM EDT

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Speaking at the GeForce LAN/Nvidia Game Festival in Shanghai, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced Nvidia's new graphics card, the GeForce GTX 690. The GTX 690 is Nvidia's first dual-chip Kepler graphics card, utilizing the new 28-nanometer Kepler architecture the company introduced last month on the GTX 680.

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The GTX 690 has been "designed from the ground up to deliver the highest performance of any graphics card in history," said Huang. "This particular graphics card we paid special attention to every single detail so that we could deliver the highest thermals, the highest acoustics, and the highest electrical performance with this particular design."

Speaking of design, the new GTX 690 will feature an exterior frame of trivalent chromium-plated aluminum, magnesium alloy fan housing, nickel-plated fins, dual vapor chambers, and an axial fan that spins at 3,000rpm.

When it comes to specs, the GTX 690's 3,072 CUDA parallel processing cores are the most impressive. The 3,072 Nvidia CUDA cores can handle both graphics and non-graphics processing tasks, allowing the card to deliver nearly double the frame rates of the GTX 680, which has a single Kepler graphics chip. The GTX 690 essentially offers the performance of two GTX 680s running in SLI configuration, and according to Nvidia, it is more power efficient and runs quieter. The GTX 690 card will sport 4GB of 6GHz GDDR5 RAM, and support all of the other features the GTX 680 supports, including GPU Boost.

The new GeForce GTX 690 card will be available in limited quantities on May 3, but a wider availability is slated for May 7. Nvidia's add-in partners include ASUS, Gainward, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, Inno3D, Palit, and Zotac.

Nvidia's new graphics card may bring PC-gaming experience to a whole new level, but it doesn't come cheap. The new GTX 690 will come with a $999 price tag, but for passionate gamers it will likely be worth every cent. "At a MSRP of $999, it's not a graphics card for everyone," reckons Nvidia. But for enthusiasts who demand the very best and gamers who want a graphics card that will last for years, the GeForce GTX 690 represents the ultimate in gaming from NVIDIA.

"In gaming performance, the GeForce GTX 690 is truly amazing, playing almost all of today's games at maximum settings with little effort," wrote Nvidia. "To really stretch its legs, you want to hook up three monitors and play your favorite games at 5760 x 1080, in NVIDIA Surround mode or, better still, in NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround." Intrigued?

(reported by Alexandra Burlacu, edited by Dave Clark)


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