|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Video Card Features|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 02 May 2012|
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NVIDIA Kepler Dual-GPU Details
On prior dual-GPU video cards, compromises had to be made in order to produce a final product that performed well while still delivering excellent acoustics. In the past, GPU power has been the largest gating factor. For instance, clock speeds had to be lowered dramatically for GeForce GTX 295 and GTX 590. However, thanks to the GTX 690's robust board design and Kepler's tremendous power efficiency, the GeForce GTX 690 largely overcomes this issue.
To best deliver optimal cooling performance in the smallest footprint possible, each GPU has its own dedicated cooling unit consisting of a self-contained copper vapor chamber and a dual-slot heatsink. These two heatsink rest atop an aluminum baseplate, which provides additional cooling for the PCB and board components. Channeling cool air through the GPU coolers is a center-mounted 80mm axial fan, which NVIDIA optimized to use the most ideal fin pitch and fan angle at which air from the fan hits the fin stack to maximize air movement while minimizing noise output.
Low-profile airflow channels are molded into the aluminum baseplate section directly below the 80mm cooling fan, which encourage smooth airflow all the way to outer edges. All of the components located under the cooling fan are made low-profile, so that they won't cause turbulence or obstruct airflow. NVIDIA acoustic engineers fine-tuned the GeForce GTX 690 fan control software so that changes in fan speed would occur gradually, rather than in noticeable and annoying audible steps.
With both heatsinks removed, two NVIDIA graphics processors are exposed as illustrated below. Armed with 3072 CUDA Cores and 4GB of GDDR5 memory, the GeForce GTX 690 offers performance similar to that of two GeForce GTX 680 cards running in SLI. However, the GeForce GTX 690 boasts a number of key advantages over GeForce GTX 680 SLI: the GTX 690 only needs one PCI Express graphics slot, and the GeForce GTX 690 board runs cooler and quieter than GeForce GTX 680 SLI while also consuming less power. Finally, two GeForce GTX 690 cards can be combined together to support Quad SLI.
An onboard PLX bridge chip provides independent PCI Express 3.0 x16 access to both processors for maximum multi-GPU throughput. Two independent 28nm NVIDIA Kepler GPUs combine to offer 16 SMX units, equal to twice the amount available with GeForce GTX 680. The memory subsystem on GeForce GTX 690 remains similar to the GTX 680, consisting of four 64-bit memory controllers (256-bit) with 2GB of GDDR5 memory per GPU operating at 6008 MHz data rate. The base clock speed of the GeForce GTX 690 is 915 MHz with a typical Boost Clock speed of 1019MHz, which is only 3.9% below the GeForce GTX 680's 1058 MHz Boost Clock.
NVIDIA engineers have used the top-quality electronic components across the entire board, which has been designed for maximum efficiency in order to properly power and cool the twin GPUs at the heart of GeForce GTX 690. Featuring a 10-phase power supply with a ten-layer 2-ounce copper PCB provides the GeForce GTX 690 video card with high-efficiency power delivery with less internal resistance, lower power consumption, and less heat generation.
Lower power and less heat also enhances the board's longevity, while the added PCB layers provide maximum signal integrity. The result of these efforts is not only lower noise output, but also a less-perceptible noise. By eliminating board clutter, high-frequency sounds are removed. When you listen to the fan alone, it's clean and smooth.
Examining the outer-exposed printed circuit board (PCB) on the underside of the video card reveals a few small differences compared to GeForce GTX 590, namely the absence of aluminum heatsink plates covering the backside of each GPU, and the inclusion of a Richtek Technology Corporation RT8802A multi-phase synchronous PWM advanced digital power controller with over-volting capability.
Now that you've seen what this video card offers for hardware features, make sure to read our NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Benchmark Performance Test Results (available 03 May 2012).
So what do you think of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Kepler graphics card, and are you planning to buy one?