NVidia’s GTX 690. The Kepler Twins, A Tale Of The Über Video Card Times Two…

NVidia has this week introduced the world to The Kepler Twins. Sounding like a new duo of Adult Entertainment superstars the Kepler Twins are instead the foundation of the world’s fastest video card, the new King of the Über video cards.

Some say everything is better in pairs. NVIDIA must agree as the GTX 690 sees NVidia pairing two GTX 680 Kepler GPU’s into a single video card. Available May 7 for $999 USD. Expect a plethora of full reviews once released. NVidia have a firm hold on the dual and single GPU performance crowns.

The GTX 690 is a spectacular piece of hardware, with its chromium-plated aluminium frame, molded magnesium alloy fan housing, and dual vapour chamber with nickel-plated fins the card resembles a piece of industrial artwork. At the rear are three dual link DVI ports and a mini Display port, with an adaptor for HDMI, the GTX 690 is able to drive a wall of 6 monitors for that fully immersive experience.

“The GTX 690 is truly a work of art – gorgeous on the outside with amazing performance on the inside,” claimed Brian Kelleher, senior vice president of GPU engineering at NVidia. “Gamers will love playing on multiple screens at high resolutions with all the eye candy turned on. And they’ll relish showing their friends how beautiful the cards look inside their systems.”

GTX 690 back-plate

The specifications on paper do indeed suggest things are better in pairs. The combined pixel pushing power of two GPUs includes 4GB of DD5 RAM at 915Mhz, 3,072 CUDA stream processors and a combined 512bit memory interface.

With blistering performance the GTX 690 is the real deal. Crysis 2 at the extreme resolution of 2560×1600 with all options cranked to 11 the GTX 690 is capable of a silky smooth 60 frames per second. StarCraft 2 with similar settings yields an extreme 160 fps.

The Dual GPU solutions – both AMD and NVIDIA – are still as slightly different proposition to running two GTX 680’s in SLI. This is due to the PCI bridging chip used to allow both chips to communicate and work together. Providing better performance in demanding workloads that run both GPU’s at close to 100%. When both GPU’s are screaming through these demanding workloads, over multiple monitors, the GPU’s of the GTX 690 communicate over the local high speed bus, much faster than the PCI-x bus used by two cards in SLI.

This is offset by the slightly lower clock speeds of the GPU’s in the GTX 690 when compare to the GTX 680, which generally makes two GTX 680 single GPU cards running in SLI just slightly faster than a GTX 690. For the truly insane two GTX 690’s in SLI will always be the winning hand, full house.

There are also power savings to be had through dual GPU integration, two GTX 680’s in SLI will draw 2×195 Watts, while the GTX 690 will draw 300 Watts. Mind you running a pair of GTX 690’s in SLI will require an almost nuclear 600 Watts of power, undoubtedly providing stratospheric performance levels. 8GB of RAM, 6,144 processing cores and up to 12 monitors. The stuff of Noid dreams and deep pockets.

No ordinary PC can contain such a card, the sheer size – 30cm long – requires an especially large enclosure while the 300watt power requirement demands a high end power supply.

Far more than just numbers on a page though, the GTX 690 is the fastest single video card in the world, the new Über King Of the video card world. 7 billion transistors giving AMD a stun inducing open handed slap to the face. This is the card windows are built into the sides of PC’s for.

Reference: NVidia’s Blog