On the heels of the release of the GTX 680, NVIDIA unveils a monster dual GPU graphics card in the GTX 690. This is no normal dual GPU offering, either. With a price tag of $999(MSRP) you are going to have to dig deep in your pockets to get this thing in your system. There has been, as there always is, griping and complaining about this super high price point, but if we look into the specifications of this card, we begin to see where NVIDIA is coming from.
Typically you would see a dual GPU graphics card, whether it be from AMD or NVIDIA, priced at two to three hundred dollars more than its single GPU sibling. You would also see a significant decrease in clock speeds, sometimes core count, memory speeds, etc., in order to keep the behemoth cards within a certain TDP. Although these dual chip offerings use the same GPUs, they are almost always crippled in some form or another. The difference with the GTX 690 is that this card uses untouched, as far as hardware is concerned, GK104 chips. The only difference between this card’s GPUs and those found in a GTX 680 SLI setup is the slightly reduced clock speeds.
What this boils down to is that you are getting 90-95% of the performance from an SLI GTX 680 setup in one dual GPU, dual slot graphics card. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is what about TDP? Well, a typical reference GTX 680 is rated at 195W. Combine two of them and you are looking at 390W. The GTX 690 is rated at 300W. A slight decrease in base clock and boost clock results in a graphics card that gives you 90-95% of the performance at 90W less power. The GTX 690 also runs much quieter as a result of the beautifully designed dual GPU cooler. How much? We will have to wait until tomorrow to find out.
Since we are getting 90-95% of the performance of an SLI GTX 680 setup along with an average of 75% performance increase in games(compared to a single GTX 680), and AMD still has no competitive product to pit against the GTX 690, we end up with the highest price tag for a reference designed, dual slot graphics card in the history of graphics cards. The GTX 690 price tag of $999 beats out the bloated price of the 8800 Ultra, the former record holder. As the count down continues to tomorrow, we eagerly await reviews of this monster card and we will continue to wait for an answer from the only other competitor in the PC graphics consumer industry, AMD.
The big question now is: Are you getting one?