Nvidia’s $1,000 graphics card is beginning to trickle into India and ZOTAC are amongst the first to get this card into the retail channel. The ZOTAC GTX 690 is based on Nvidia’s flagship design, which combines two GTX 680 GPUs onto a single PCB. Similar to the GTX 590, the GTX 690 is Nvidia’s latest dual-GPU graphics card that builds upon the latest Kepler architecture. This is easily the most expensive graphics card we’ve seen in a really long time, but is it really worth the money? Let’s find out.
Design and Build
Rather than just slapping a sticker onto Nvidia’s reference design, ZOTAC haven’t done anything to the card and left it as is, and that’s a very good thing. This is by far the best looking and built reference card we’ve come across by Nvidia or even AMD for that matter. The materials used and attention to detail is simply amazing and it’s a crying shame that you’ll never get to see it all its glory once it’s inside your chassis. This is a massive card, so make sure you have a good mid-tower or full-tower chassis to accommodate it.
Extremely well built
The rear connectors include three DVI ports and a display port. Since the card is closed off from all sides, hot air is channeled through the rear itself, directly outside the case. There’s even support for SLI, should you be mad enough to get two of them. The “Geforce GTX” logo on the sides is the only thing you’ll get to see in a windowed case and the best part is that it lights up! The two GPU cores are connected to each other via a PLX bridge and cooled with vapor chambers. This has allowed Nvidia to use just a single fan in the center, which is enough to cool the card. Since it relies on vapor chamber and not air cooling, the fan doesn’t have to spin very fast either, which means it’s quiet. Nvidia recommend a 650W power supply as a bare minimum, so make sure you have the necessary components before going for it.
Make sure you have enough juice to power this pup
The bundle includes two 8-pin to Molex power adapters, DVI-to-VGA adapter, driver disk and Assassins Creed 3-game pack.
The specifications are more or less the same as we saw on the GTX 680, except that everything is doubled. Think of the GTX 690 as two GTX 680s in your system, so the shader count is now 3072, amount of memory is 4GB and we have two 256-bit memory bus lanes. Nvidia have had to scale down the core speed from 1GHz to 915MHz, while the memory speed has remained the same.
Loaded with features
Along with this, we also have the new features that come with the Kepler architecture like GPU Boost, Adaptive V-Sync and some new Anti-Aliasing (AA) models. GPU Boost is similar to Turbo Boost, in the sense; the card will dynamically increase the clock speeds and voltages in a game, if and only if, it does not go beyond the set TDP. For instance, if there is an intense battle scene in the game, which demands more shader power, the built-in algorithms will automatically check the current power draw, temperature, voltage, etc of the card and accordingly increase only those parameters that can be pushed. This keeps changing as you play the game and is built into Kepler itself, so it kicks in by default. Adaptive V-Sync can now be found in the Nvidia Control Panel and what it does is, dynamically toggle the V-Sync state depending on the frame rate. For instance, if you’re getting more than 60fps, then V-Sync will be on to avoid screen tearing and if it dips below 60fps, then it switches it off to avoid stuttering. The two new AA modes (FXAA and TXAA) are said to offer similar quality levels as MSAA, but without the huge performance hit.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40 GHz
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE P67A-UD3R
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (4GB x 2) @1600MHz
- Hard drive: Intel SSD 520 240GB (Boot Drive), WD Velociraptor 300GB (Secondary Drive)
- GPU: ZOTAC GTX 690
- PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000W
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit