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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: May 2, 2012
Product Name: GTX 690
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Diving Under the Heatsink



Popping off the GTX 690ís shroud, weíre greeted by a relatively straightforward design consisting of two vapor chamber heatsinks topped with large fin arrays. These fins are designed so they funnel and accelerate the fanís airflow while also eliminating noise-causing areas of turbulence. NVIDIA has added a specially formed secondary heatsink that covers the memory modules, VRM and other components.

The heatsink layout does tend to throw half of its hot exhaust air into your case but we canít see this being too much of an issue for enthusiasts with high end enclosures.


Below the heatsinks is the pair of GK104 cores which are surrounded by metal stiffening plates for added durability. Each of these is coupled up with eight 265MB GDDR5 memory modules and a 5-phase high efficiency, high output PWM.

The real star of this show is the PLX chip sitting between the two GPUs. On past dual GPU cards, NVIDIA used their own NF200 bridge but it was only compatible with a PCI-E 2.0 interface. The PLX PEX 8747 meanwhile is equipped with 48 PCI-E 3.0 lanes, making it a perfect way for NVIDIA to squeeze every last drop of performance out of this design. Of those 48 lanes, 36 are split between the two graphics cores while the remaining 18 are used for the primary interconnect between the GTX 690 and the motherboardís PCI-E bus. Naturally, the bridge chip is fully compatible with previous PCI-E certifications as well so you wonít have any problem using the GTX 690 on a PCI-E 2.0 or -heaven forbid- a Gen 1.1 compatible motherboard.

One of the most important aspects of this bridge chip is its speed. Since it takes the place of the sometimes inefficient, latency-laden bus / CPU handoff process when dual individual cards are installed, the GTX 690ís internal SLI connection is able to benefit from a substantially quicker interconnect speed. This is why NVIDIA claims the underclocked card can match up almost evenly against two GTX 680s.


The GTX 690ís underside doesnít show us anything out of the ordinary since all of the memory modules and primary componentry is on the cardís other side. There are however sixteen secondary VRM modules installed directly over the VRM modules.
 
 
 

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