GeForce GTX 690 Review: Testing Nvidia's Sexiest Graphics Card

Power Consumption

That the latest-generation cards are at the top of this chart speaks volumes about the technologies used by both AMD and Nvidia to reduce the power use of even their highest-end hardware.

Although Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 690 doesn’t fare particularly well overall, it is the second-most power-friendly solution amongst the dual-GPU configurations, just behind two GeForce GTX 680s in SLI.

AMD really struts its stuff when your displays go to sleep. Its ZeroCore technology allows two Radeon HD 7970s to use as much power as one GeForce GTX 680 at idle. And whereas the dual-GPU AMD setup sheds 20 W right off the bat, GeForce GTX 690 is only able to drop 3 W in the same situation.

Each GeForce GTX 680 is rated with a 195 W maximum board power. Each Radeon HD 7970 is rated for 250 W. The GeForce GTX 690’s board power is set at 300 W.

It makes sense, then, that it’d use less power under load compared to twin GeForce GTX 680s. Two Radeons in CrossFire are noticeably more egregious power consumers. Even the GeForce GTX 590 averages higher use than the new GeForce GTX 690.

Truly, this is where the Kepler architecture’s emphasis on performance/watt shines. It would have been nice to see Nvidia spend more time cutting power at idle, like AMD, given the majority of time we spend not gaming. However, the savings under load are certainly impressive.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • robwright
    I wonder, given the price of the 690, just how limited the quanitities will be. Which brings up another question, one that Nvidia (and AMD as well) would probably be reluctant to answer: are they making and shipping fewer of the top-shelf Halo cards today than they did 5 or six years ago?
  • milkshakez7z
    Looks very nice. Pity I'll never own one.
  • guzami77
    im waiting for the 680 3gb sli
  • Luscious
    Ah, the Bugatti Veyron of video cards... I'll take three, thanks!!!
  • chumly
    It CAN play Crysis.
  • rebel1280
    ....... Lamborghini’s Reventón ...... +infinity for mentioning that work of art T_T didn't even read the article until after I got my fix for the Lamborghini’s Reventón on the net haha. That car may be the only proof left to us of the old gods, in particular Mercury (god of transport) lol
  • lahawzel
    680s are already nearly nonexistent, so I expect these 690s to be just as mythical and hard-to-find as the Radeon 6990.
  • phamhlam
    LaHawzel680s are already nearly nonexistent, so I expect these 690s to be just as mythical and hard-to-find as the Radeon 6990.
    6990 aren't that hard to find. Back in January before the 7000 series came out, you could easily pick one or two up. I am pretty sure in 6 month, the 690 will be easy to grab.
  • Marcus52
    That pair of 690s with the matching bridge looks so sweet, I want 2!

  • frombehind
    I wonder if someone will come out with a version that has a stock water-cooler built in? Then it really would the card to get ^^