NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: May 2, 2012
Product Name: GTX 690
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A Closer Look at the GeForce GTX 690

When we posted our preview of the GTX 690, the general feedback on the HWC forums was straightforward: this is one sexy card. The combination of silver and matte black along with a centrally mounted fan and a few subtle touches of NVIDIA green seems to have struck a chord with enthusiasts. But the care and subtle craftsmanship thatís gone into this card have to be seen firsthand to be believed.

The exterior shroud above the two heatsinks is made out of cast aluminum and plated with a matte silver trivalent chromium finish which allows self-healing of minor scratches to prevent oxidation. Since the cast aluminum is quite thick, it can effectively act as a secondary heatsink without causing a potentially dangerous spike in exterior casing temperatures.

Since NVIDIA wanted to kick cheap, vibration prone plastic to the curb, the GTX 690ís fan housing has been fabricated out of injection molded magnesium alloy. This not only allows for a high amount of durability but the blackened alloy also acts as an acoustical dampening material, further reducing fan noise.

To top off an already impressive design, a pair of heat resistant polycarbonate shrouds has been installed to give you a picture window view into the inner workings of the internal heatsinks. In addition, NVIDIA and GTX 690 logos have been laser etched into the cardís topmost cast aluminum pieces.

NVIDIA claims their design for the GTX 690 is groundbreaking and meticulous in its approach. We have to agree. The material gaps are surgically thin, minor rattles normally associated with plastic shrouds are completely absent and the whole design feels like it was engineered by a group of scientists in a dark, secret room in Lockheed Martinís Skunk Works. The GTX 690 costs a grand and with this kind of design, itís hard not to see why.

NVIDIA has also incorporated a glowing logo into the GXT 690ís side which has been laser cut into the fan housing and uses an LED backlight for illumination. Supposedly, software like EVGAís Precision and MSIís AfterBurner will be able to control this LED and how it behaves. One way or another, it looks great and should be the centerpiece of any windowed case.

The GTX 690 is equipped with two 8-pin connectors, providing more than enough current without drawing excess power through the PCI-E slot. This layout should also allow for some overhead just in case the end user wants to overclock their card for even more performance.

With two GPU cores already sitting at the heart of this card, a single SLI connector has been included, enabling Quad SLI should you feel a burning need to burn two grand.

The rear panel connectors are a departure from the GTX 680ís layout since this card natively supports three primary dual link DVI-equipped displays. There is also a mini DisplayPort connector for a fourth accessory display if need be. Something not discussed in NVIDIAís documentation is the possibility of this card running up to SIX displays (this technically isnít supported through the drivers at this point but could be included sometime in the future) via the combination of a DisplayPort hub coupled with the three DVI outputs.

With a length of about 11Ē, the GTX 690 should have no issue fitting in any ATX case currently on the market. This does make it longer than the GTX 680 but it still looks downright tiny when placed next to a HD 6990.

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