NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Review: Kepler Debuts - HotHardware

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Review: Kepler Debuts

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We’ve been hearing about NVIDIA’s Kepler architecture since about September 2010. It was back at that years’ NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference, that company CEO Jen-Hsun Huang first publically disclosed that Kepler would offer massive performance per watt improvements over Fermi and previous-gen architectures and that GPUs based on Kepler would arrive in 2011. Well, the launch date has obviously slipped. How Kepler’s power efficiency looks, we’ll get to a little later.

The rumor mill kicked into high gear over the last few months, and has been consistently churning out more and more Kepler scuttlebutt (whether true or false) coincident with Radeon HD 7000 series launches. Today though, we can put the rumors to rest. We’ve had a new Kepler-based GeForce GTX 680 in hand for a couple of weeks now and can finally reveal all of the juicy details.

First up, we have some specifications and a little back story. And on the pages ahead, we’ll dive a little deeper and give you all the full scoop on Kepler, its new features and capabilities, and of course the GeForce GTX 680’s features and performance.


The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, GK104 "Kepler" Based Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeFoce GTX 680
Specifications & Features


The GeForce GTX 680’s main features and specifications are listed in the table above. Before we get into the specifics of the card and it’s GPU, however, we want to direct your attention to a few past HotHardware articles that lay the foundation for what we’ll be showing you here.


GK104 "Kepler" GPU Die Shot

Although the GeForce GTX 680 is built around a new GPU that is based on a new architecture, the Kepler-based GK104 at the heart of the card leverages technologies first introduced on previous-generation NVIDIA products. As such, we’d recommend checking out these articles for more detailed coverage of many of NVIDIA’s existing technologies that carry over to the new GeForce GTX 680:

In our Fermi and GF100 architecture previews we discuss Fermi’s architecture and detail Fermi’s CUDA cores and Polymorph and Raster engines, among other features. In our GeForce GTX 480 coverage, we dig a little deeper into Fermi, and discuss the first graphics card based on the technology. Our GeForce GTX 580 coverage details the GF110, the more-refined re-spin of the GF100 GPU. And in our 3D Vision Surround and 3D Vision 2 articles, we cover NVIDIA’s multi-monitor and stereoscopic 3D technologies, which are both very much a part of the GeForce GTX 680.
 

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I was looking to do an upgrade to this but the price and the fact I need a mobo upgrade (actually whole system) as well pulled me away. I would of done it if I wasn't heading to college next year and I'm going to get a laptop.

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Great performance from this card. I have been looking forward to the benchmarks and I am not surprised. Metro 2033 is going to be a tough cookie for some time; but everything looks really solid. Great review Marco :)

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Thanks, man. Killer card for sure.

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Yeah the Nvidia prices especially on debut are very high. I was a member at this website last year that did these great give aways pretty often. I was hoping to see them do more give away contest's but they quit I guess as I have not seen any more since last year. The point is I was looking forward to trying to win a system (I could really use one for work and home) with one of these as I cannot really afford it right now. Oh well maybe some other great site will do a contest like that I sure hope so!

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Off to peruse this review :)

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Great Review Marco, this card is a beast. I have to agree with @LBowen, the benchmarks aren't that surprising and neither is the price. You have to pay to play and Nvidia knows it! I'm happy to see the power consumption and temp results, they are heading in the right direction! No cooking eggs on this card! Looking forward to seeing it in full production and oc'd to the max.

Just out of curiosity I would love to see how this card performed with video and 3d rendering, and yes I understand it's a gaming card not a workstation card.

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Thanks for that hella nice review. Big Green just gave AMD a slap in the face with lower prices and more performance. I can't wait to get my hands on one of these beautiful cards. It will be really interesting to see what the manufacturers come out with for non-reference cards.

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Yikes...great job NVIDIA. AMD could afford to launch their cards at the exorbitant $599 precisely because NVIDIA hadn't struck yet. Now that Kepler's in town, watch those prices drop.

Gee, AMD can't catch a break, can they? Well it was a fun 3 months or so...

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Looks like the Green machine is back on top,huh? Well I guess they deserve a turn, since it's been awhile.

Let the price wars commence!

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