Most of the computer enthusiasts that are my age have a lot in common. Growing up, we didn’t have the plethora of technology that is available today. We spent most of our free time outdoors playing with the other children in the neighborhood or watched television when the weather wouldn’t permit us to go outside. By the time computers were introduced into the mainstream, we were well into our first or second year of high school and computer technology was nowhere near being a required curriculum. My generation (Generation X) is part of the many whom you would consider self-taught.
Back in grammar school is when I became interested in science fiction. Twice a year, a local television station that actually played movies at 4:30 PM, featured “Monster Week”. A far cry from the three plus hours of news we have become familiar with. It was these two weeks of the school year that I made sure I went straight home. My two favorite Monsters were Gamera (The Giant Turtle) and Godzilla. When it comes to Science Fiction and Monsters, there is one undisputed champion and that is Godzilla, the “King of the Monsters”. This is something we cannot say when we speak computer graphics, it has been years since one graphics board has risen above the rest to stake its claim as the undisputed “King of Computer Graphics Performance”.
Over the last few years, there have been many contenders, unfortunately none has had the absolute prowess to take the crown. They all battled well in the trenches but after the battle was said and done, at best it was a split decision. Other than price performance, the contenders lacked power efficiency, had issues with increased fan noise and ran much warmer than their baby brothers. A new contender has come forward with the promise of not only being the most powerful but the most efficient. This contender is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 houses two (Kepler GK104) GPUs on the same PCB. The GTX 690 is 11” in length and utilizes a 10 phase power supply and an onboard PLX chip. The onboard PLX allows the GeForce GTX 690 to run in a single PCIe 3.0, X16 slot with the benefits of SLI. NVIDIA has also added an all-aluminum casing (shroud), as well as a magnesium injection fan housing. Combined, these elements produce less noise, decrease overall weight and produce less heat. Dual copper vapor chambers (nickel plated fins) surround the center injected fan and cool each GPU. There are also two clear polycarbonate windows over each heatsink and an LED backlit logo. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 boasts 3072 CUDA cores, a base clock of 915 MHz (per GPU), a memory clock of 6008 MHz and 4GB of GDDR5 memory (2048 per GPU).