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The Exterior, Pricing, And Availability

Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4 GB: Dual GK104, Announced
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Performance that’s comparable to two GeForce GTX 680s, a significantly lower combined thermal ceiling, less noise—what’s the catch?

According to Nvidia, it over-engineered the GeForce GTX 690, giving it extra rigidity, addressing acoustics, and increasing cooling headroom.

The exterior frame is built of chromium-plated aluminum, rather than the plastic materials covering most other cards (including the GeForce GTX 680).

The fan housing itself is a magnesium alloy, which purportedly aids heat dissipation and logically improves vibration dampening compared to plastic shrouds.

Dual vapor chambers cover each of the GPUs, similar to what we’ve seen from both Nvidia and AMD in the past. This time, however, a polycarbonate window over each fin stack allows curious enthusiasts to peer “under the hood.” An LED up top can actually be controlled through a new API Nvidia is making available to partners. So, it might respond to load, getting lighter and darker, as an example.

As with dual-GPU boards from the past, Nvidia is using a center-mounted axial fan, which it claims is optimized for moving air without generating a lot of noise. The trouble with axial fans in this configuration is that they exhaust the heat from one GPU out the rear I/O panel, while the second chip’s thermal energy is jettisoned back into your chassis. Both AMD and Nvidia went the axial route last generation, so we have to surmise that it’s logistically the only approach that makes sense. At least the TDP on GeForce GTX 690 is lower than 590, indicating less maximum heat to dissipate.

The 690’s rear I/O panel plays host to three dual-link DVI outputs and a mini-DisplayPort connector, accommodating four screens total. A single SLI connector up top links the GeForce GTX 690 to one other card, enabling quad-SLI arrays.

Pricing And Availability

When I first heard about the GeForce GTX 690, it was suggested to me that the card would cost more than two GeForce GTX 680s—already $500 boards. It turns out that it’ll be priced right at $1000, though. Providing it does everything Nvidia says it does, a thousand-dollar price tag makes it an option for two kinds of people.

  1. For anyone who was ready to go the 2 x GeForce GTX 680 route right off the bat, this should come close to similar performance, is supposedly quieter, and crams all of the same hardware into a dual-slot form factor. You pay just as much, this card looks cooler, so why not, right?
  2. If quad-SLI was ever a serious consideration, this is probably the easiest way to achieve it without sweating your motherboard’s capabilities. With that said, if you’re down to spend two grand on graphics, the thought of X79 and Sandy Bridge-E probably doesn’t bother you much anyway.

Nvidia claims that GeForce GTX 690 will be available starting May 3rd in limited quantities, with more cards showing up on May 7th. We gave the company some latitude with its GeForce GTX 680 launch, but availability of that single-GPU board is still downright inconsistent. We’ve seen a number of email notifications from Newegg, so we know cards are out there, but the boards never last longer than a couple of hours. Thus, we’re approaching GeForce GTX 690 more cynically.

And what about reviews? We haven’t received a GeForce GTX 690 yet, but we’re expecting it soon. The final word on GeForce GTX 690 will go live shortly thereafter.

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    Anonymous , April 29, 2012 5:33 AM
    Not suggesting any bias, but I do hope that since GTX 690 got an article just for preview, without having any real performance figures, HD7990 gets one as well.
  • 26 Hide
    rambostyrer , April 29, 2012 5:44 AM
    So in times of 28nm chip shortage, nvidia announce a card that requires two??

  • 26 Hide
    bee144 , April 29, 2012 4:55 AM
    $1,000? :/ 
Other Comments
  • -6 Hide
    aviral , April 29, 2012 4:24 AM
    I was also thinking that may be they are Going to launch GTX 690 but I was more sure that they will launch a lower model of 680 but they launced a top end model before lower models.Really :) 

    But it is really nice to know that 690 a beast of cards is launced. :D 
  • 24 Hide
    fb39ca4 , April 29, 2012 4:36 AM
    Yay a dual GPU card that does not break the power supply bank. :D 
  • 20 Hide
    rockycrrab , April 29, 2012 4:43 AM
    Wow this is impressive!
  • 25 Hide
    nieur , April 29, 2012 4:44 AM
    I think they have launched GTX690 before lower versions GTX680 because of yield issue for 28nm at TSMC
    it would be hard to satisfy the requirements of medium budget cards due to their sheer number
    anyway I liked the card but can only dream of having it
  • 18 Hide
    J_E_D_70 , April 29, 2012 4:46 AM
    Great that they're cannibalizing chips needed to get 680s out the door to paying customers so they can produce this monstrosity. Grrrr... At least wait til AMD comes out with a card that needs to be trumped. My nerd rage against nVidia is growing.
  • 22 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , April 29, 2012 4:53 AM
    Ouch... great looking card, but wasn't expecting the $1000 price tag. Love the design and construction of the shroud, using metal instead of plastic. It certainly looks like a beast of a card, no doubt with specs and performance to match. It'll probably end up within 10% of GTX680 SLI performance.
  • 26 Hide
    bee144 , April 29, 2012 4:55 AM
    $1,000? :/ 
  • 24 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , April 29, 2012 4:57 AM
    bee144$1,000?

    Most expensive GeForce ever...
  • 15 Hide
    bee144 , April 29, 2012 4:58 AM
    dragonsqrrlMost expensive GeForce ever...


    I know! They're getting greedy!
  • 22 Hide
    Hazbot , April 29, 2012 5:09 AM
    bee144I know! They're getting greedy!


    Just because they priced it high doesn't necessarily mean they're greedy, maybe they went overkill with the technology.
  • 23 Hide
    aznshinobi , April 29, 2012 5:10 AM
    Was hoping for a mid-range 6xx card. Should be interesting to see how they keep up supply when they can't even maintain a steady supply of GTX 680s at the moment.
  • 13 Hide
    boju , April 29, 2012 5:19 AM
    Let the skidmarks begin :D 
  • 5 Hide
    runswindows95 , April 29, 2012 5:21 AM
    Three DVI's and one mini-DP port? For that kind of money, I would hope for better input selections than that.
  • 16 Hide
    englandr753 , April 29, 2012 5:30 AM
    I guess I'll continue with my 3x 6950's flashed to 6970's. Honestly, I don't see a game in the near future that warrants an upgrade for a while. EVERYTHING I've thrown at my system is butter smooth, just the way daddy likes it!! I'll wait and see what is available 3 years down the road. =P
  • 8 Hide
    thehidecheck , April 29, 2012 5:32 AM
    bojuLet the skidmarks begin

    Oh no you aint, your gonna play POLE POSITION!
  • 27 Hide
    Anonymous , April 29, 2012 5:33 AM
    Not suggesting any bias, but I do hope that since GTX 690 got an article just for preview, without having any real performance figures, HD7990 gets one as well.
  • 26 Hide
    rambostyrer , April 29, 2012 5:44 AM
    So in times of 28nm chip shortage, nvidia announce a card that requires two??

  • 10 Hide
    schnitter , April 29, 2012 6:01 AM
    It is fair to assume anyone willing to drop $1000 in graphics card has a water cooled PC and will overclock. How, then, isnt SLI 680 GTX with water blocks overclocked not better in every way? More performance and less noise.
  • 23 Hide
    bystander , April 29, 2012 6:04 AM
    How is the supply going to be? The 680's are already somewhat mythical.
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