Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4 GB: Dual GK104, Announced

Did you spend some time this week wondering what Nvidia was planning for today's announcement? Everyone who guessed GeForce GTX 690, you're right. Powered by two GK104 graphics processors, we have the scoop on Nvidia's soon-to-be flagship.

Update (5/3/2012): Nvidia's GeForce GTX 690 just launched. You can read all about the card and its performance in GeForce GTX 690 Review: Testing Nvidia's Sexiest Graphics Card.

I had my head so thoroughly buried in the Ivy Bridge launch that I completely missed Nvidia’s “Something is Coming” tease last week.

Well, now we know that “Something” is actually the company’s GeForce GTX 690. It’s not here yet; you’ll have to wait until next week for a comprehensive look at the card and its performance. But we do have all of the speeds and feeds thanks to tonight’s webcast from the Nvidia's GeForce LAN 2012 in Shanghai, China.

Inside of GeForce GTX 690

GeForce GTX 690 is a dual GK104 part. Its GPUs aren’t neutered in any way, so you end up with 3072 cumulative CUDA cores (1536 * 2), 256 combined texture units (128 * 2), and 64 full-color ROPs (32 * 2).

Gone is the NF200 bridge that previously linked GF110 GPUs on Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 590. That component was limited to PCI Express 2.0, and these new graphics processors beg for a third-gen-capable connection. Rather than engineering its own solution, though, Nvidia looked to PLX for one of its PEX 874x switches. The PCIe 3.0-capable switches accommodate 48 lanes (that’s 16 from each GPU and 16 to the bus interface) and operate at low latencies (down to 126 ns). What of NF200’s features incorporated to augment the performance of multi-GPU applications, Broadcast and PW Short? According to Nvidia, those capabilities were wrapped up into the PCIe 3.0 specification, so GeForce GTX 690 gets them through the PLX component.

Each graphics processor has its own aggregate 256-bit memory bus, on which Nvidia drops 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. The company says it’s using the same 6 GT/s memory found on its GeForce GTX 680, able to push more than 192 GB/s of bandwidth per graphics processor. Core clocks on the GK104s drop just a little, though, from a 1006 MHz base down to 915 MHz. Setting a lower guaranteed ceiling is a concession needed to duck in under a 300 W TDP. However, in cases where that power limit isn’t being hit, Nvidia rates GPU Boost up to 1019 MHz—just slightly lower than a GeForce GTX 680’s 1058 MHz spec.

Power is actually an important part of the GeForce GTX 690’s story. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 590 bore a maximum board power of 365 W. One 75 W slot and two 150 W eight-pin plugs pushed the 590 mighty close to its ceiling. But because the Kepler architecture takes such a profound step forward in efficiency, Nvidia is able to tag its GTX 690 with a 300 W TDP. And yet it still includes two eight-pin inputs able to deliver up to 375 W, including the slot.

Consequently, representatives are claiming that there’s significant headroom to push the GeForce GTX 690 beyond the performance of twin GeForce GTX 680s. At its stock power and clock settings, though, we’re expecting it to be a little slower than two single-GPU boards on their own. The good news is that one GeForce GTX 690 should use markedly less power and operate more quietly than a pair of GTX 680s in SLI. Nvidia says it is deliberately binning low-leakage parts to minimize heat, and its own measurements put a GeForce GTX 690 at 47 dB(A) under load compared to 51 dB(A) for the 680s.

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    Top Comments
  • Anonymous
    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.
    27
  • bee144
    $1,000? :/
    26
  • rambostyrer
    So in times of 28nm chip shortage, nvidia announce a card that requires two??
    26
  • Other Comments
  • aviral
    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
    -6
  • fb39ca4
    Yay a dual GPU card that does not break the power supply bank. :D
    24
  • rockycrrab
    Wow this is impressive!
    20
  • nieur
    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
    25
  • J_E_D_70
    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.
    18
  • dragonsqrrl
    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.
    22
  • bee144
    $1,000? :/
    26
  • dragonsqrrl
    bee144$1,000?

    Most expensive GeForce ever...
    24
  • bee144
    dragonsqrrlMost expensive GeForce ever...


    I know! They're getting greedy!
    15
  • Hazbot
    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.
    22
  • aznshinobi
    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.
    23
  • semitope
    who gives a rats buttocks about a new GPU? I was hoping they would announce cheaper tegra 3 tablets to be released TODAY. I can't even afford or power this crap. Which games would use it? I don't have a 100" monitor with 5000X3000000 res. sheesh. They made it out to be such a big announcement...

    or was I the one who made it out to be a big announcement? lol

    Unfortunately this is what competition brings. New hardware too soon and too costly to even matter. Yet games aren't even taking full advantage of what's been released long ago.
    -24
  • boju
    Let the skidmarks begin :D
    13
  • runswindows95
    Three DVI's and one mini-DP port? For that kind of money, I would hope for better input selections than that.
    5
  • englandr753
    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
    16
  • thehidecheck
    bojuLet the skidmarks begin

    Oh no you aint, your gonna play POLE POSITION!
    8
  • Anonymous
    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.
    27
  • rambostyrer
    So in times of 28nm chip shortage, nvidia announce a card that requires two??
    26
  • schnitter
    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.
    10
  • bystander
    How is the supply going to be? The 680's are already somewhat mythical.
    23