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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Video Card Features
First Look: GeForce GTX 690
NVIDIA Kepler Dual-GPU Details

First Look: GeForce GTX 690

NVIDIA has built the GeForce GTX 690 for the ultra-performance hardware enthusiast and hard-core gamer wanting to play PC video games at their maximum graphics quality settings with the highest screen resolution possible. It's a small niche market that few can claim, but also one that every PC gamer dreams of enjoying.

The outer dimensions for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 give this 1.5" tall double-bay, 3.9" wide, 11.0" long graphics card a similar profile to their last generation GeForce GTX 590 dual-GPU graphics solution, yet offers a more compatible length compared to the AMD Radeon HD 6990 that reaches 12.0" long.


NVIDIA engineers went overboard tweaking the design on GeForce GTX 690, such as the cast aluminum shroud frame that is protected with (Chem-101 alert!) trivalent chromium plating. This special highly-bonded trivalent chromium plating gives the GeForce GTX 690 a sleek look while also being highly durable. The fan housing on GeForce GTX 690 is made from injection molded magnesium alloy, which takes advantage of magnesium's light weight, superior heat dissipation, and improved acoustic dampening properties. By positioning a clear polycarbonate window above each cooling unit, NVIDIA gives this video card an added design dimension.


Specified for 300W Thermal Design Power output, the GeForce GTX 690 dramatically outperforms NVIDIA's previous generation dual-GPU solution. Because TDP demands have been reduced from 365W TDP for the GeForce GTX 590 to 300W TDP, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 690 runs cooler and has move power available for overclocking. NVIDIA has added a "GeForce GTX" logo along the exposed side video card, and the LED backlit letters glow green when the system is powered on. GeForce GTX 690 requires two eight-pin PCI-E connections, and NVIDIA recommends a 650W power supply for computer systems equipped with one of these video cards.


The standard GTX 690 reference design offers four simultaneously-functional connections: three dual-link DVI (DL-DVI) ports and a mini-DisplayPort 1.2 connection. Add-in partners may elect to remove or possibly further extend any of these video interfaces, but most will likely retain the original engineering. Only one of these video cards is necessary to drive triple-display NVIDIA 3D-Vision Surround functionality. Each of these video interfaces consume exhaust-vent real estate, but this has only a minor impact on cooling performance because each 28nm Kepler GPU generates less heat than past GeForce processors, and also because NVIDIA intentionally positions the heatsink far enough from these vents to equalize exhaust pressure.


A slightly reward 80mm (3.15") cooling fan mounted with a small above-surface offset takes advantage of the chamfered depression to draw cool air into the angled fan shroud, allowing more air to reach the intake whenever two or more video cards are combined in close-proximity SLI configurations. To create the intricate geometries required for the fan housing, NVIDIA used a form of injection molding called thixomolding, in which liquid magnesium alloy is injected into a mold. It's unlikely that add-in card partners will offer cooling solutions that surpass the benchmark of this reference design.


As with past-generation dual-GPU GeForce GTX series graphics cards, the GTX 690 is capable of a two-card "Quad-SLI" configuration. Because GeForce GTX 690 is PCI-Express 3.0 compliant device, the added bandwidth could potentially come into demand as future games and applications make use of these resources. Most games will be capable of using the highest graphics quality settings available using only a single GeForce GTX 690 graphics card, but multi-card Quad-SLI configurations are perfect for gamers wanting to experience high-performance video games played at their highest quality settings with all the bells and whistles enabled across multiple monitors.


In our next section, we disassemble the GeForce GTX 690 for a more detailed look and inspect the internal component technology that NVIDIA used to build this dual-GPU video card...



# builderDB62 2012-05-01 22:45
Just another awesome nVidia card!
I'd love to buy one, but just can't justify it when I already have a GTX580 lightning, and it does everything I need, and does it well!
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# GTX690Hu1tik 2012-05-01 22:47
its a nice card with excellent design but the cost of getting one. no way am I paying from one of them. I'm happy with my 590 :P
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# Nicealfresc0 2012-05-02 00:44
Nice write up. King of cards.
Can't wait for this tech to trickle down to the gtx660.

Does it take two six-pin PCI-E connections because they look like 8 pin to me (page 2 para 3).
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# RE: NiceOlin Coles 2012-05-02 08:21
Thanks- I've fixed the typo.
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Video Card Featuresx3ckid 2012-05-02 06:29
In 3 or 4 years they will realease the 900 series then the 600 series will be very cheap . So lets say if we wait 30 years we will have such a powerful video card that all the cards in the present will be considered toys .
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Video Card Featuresclaydough 2012-05-02 08:06
Between the fast release of the x90 version and the initial suspicions of a gtx 780 in the works...
I am more hesitant knowing that even if another incremental kepler release exposing true Kepler power initially touted ( 700 series )
That maxwell is at worst a year and a half away.

Everything depends on the power given to the new consoles. And since that is supposedly southern Islands. I would be mistaken to wait for cards that would be ablt to handle development in a new console generation. Sadly at best, I do not see anything that woul lead me to beleive that consoles have anything to look forward to ( our best PC experience today is not all that revolutionary compared to a console experience )
Unles Metro 2033 is better than my first impressions.

It's just to confusing...
And not knowing how things are going to develop when as much is critical at the pricepoint of 2 x90 card SLI.
But knowing that the 2013 date of Maxwell was supposed to mean production and not release...
That news now does not mean as much with 2013 a half a year away.
And if console games for the next 8 years will be as boring as southern Islands. I would rather not develop for consoles at all!
( at least last cycle consoles had some punch where the 7800 gtx tech in ps3 had longer legs than my actual gtx 7800! Hopefully, the southern island tech hold big surprises that make me eat my words )
And even if I wait another 6months and there is not a gtx 580 styled gtx 780 release...
Then by that time a maxwell release would only a single year away...
And for the performance and easy wait.

Considering every benchmark I see.
Everything sandy ivy and kepler seem very depressing for the price...
That Haswell and Maxwell will be about the same time I am hoping for a nice surprise then. ( and if consoles are underpowered compared to haswell and maxwell which will be released at the same time... I imagine a glorious future for PC gameing making a comeback )
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# RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Video Card Featuresclaydough 2012-05-02 08:21
If Nvidia's own charts are correct
And two 680 chips scale that nicely! ( big congratulations ovr the improvement compared to the 590s )
And even if they did release 780's in the near future...
I imagine these cards could still be attractive considering that there was no rumors of a 790 card? In which case the 690 could still be attractive even if there was a gtx780 release depending on the price drops after a new version release.
I would not be so supicious if Kepler released with anything close to the kind of power originally being touted. ( 2x the power of fermi? maybe 400 series in SLI to come anywhere close to those claims )
In which case a rurmor of a series that explains the discrepency is more gentle for an nvidia zealot than markey lies.
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# IS this not beast?ssuamw 2012-05-03 03:50
HOLY #!!!!!!!!
this card is going to kick all ATI's and all Nvidia's for sure .
man this card ,OH no im over surprised ,
damn great card.
cant wait until I see the bench's .
I bet this card will score more than 90 fps in metro 2033 on ultra.
this is what a real beast is and should be.
ATI fan boys, this is a total loss. im also an ati fan boy to be honest.
I cant imagine. from the moment I saw this , I fell in love with nvidia .
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# NicePersojet 2012-05-03 05:35
the GeForce GTX 690 has both GPUs overclocked beyond 1200GHz(
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