updated 11:55 pm EDT, Sat April 28, 2012
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 becomes fastest dual GPU
NVIDIA at its Gaming Festival in Shanghai unveiled the expected GeForce GTX 690. The dual-chip board is billed as the fastest on offer and combines two partly downscaled GTX 680 units for a major leap in speed over the GTX 590. With 3,072 processing cores, it in many cases runs games twice as fast as the GTX 680.
The design itself is also unique: a plated aluminum shell helps air flow smoothly, and an axial fan with a magnesium housing can fully cool the board's two vapor chambers while spinning at a quiet 3,000RPM. Polycarbonate windows help vent heat out, and a 10-phase power supply helps maximize the potential for overclocking. An additional touch for windowed cases is the include of a light-up "GeForce GTX" logo and chime when the board powers on.
All of the visual processing effects of the GTX 680 carry over, including adaptive VSync to improve frame rates without artifacts, new FXAA and TXAA antialiasing modes, and GPU Boost to dynamically overclock each of the cores when a game allows.
GTX 690 boards will be available in "limited quantities" on May 3 from companies like ASUS, EVGA, and MSI, with better supply anticipated for May 7. The dual chips will make it one of the most expensive gaming video cards ever, at $999.
Also being introduced is GeForce Experience, an attempt to improve the quality for those who don't want to customize settings for each game. A cloud database of graphics cards, processors, and other components automatically matches up with the user and tunes the game detail to make sure it runs at the right balance of detail and speed on a given system. In some cases, it can not only run faster but get more visual effects in the process.
The aim is to get the simplicity of a game console with the speed of a PC, NVIDIA said. A beta version will be ready on June 6.
- Jon Fingas