NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Review: Kepler Debuts - HotHardware

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Review: Kepler Debuts

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On the surface, the new GeForce GTX 680, looks much like it’s brethren in the GeForce GTX 400 and 500 series, but there are many changes introduced at the board level as well. The GeForce GTX 680’s cooler sports a number of new features too.


The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Graphic Card - Front and Back

Let’s get the specifications covered first. Reference GeForce GTX 680 cards will have a base GPU clock speed of 1006MHz, with a Boost clock of 1058MHz. If you’re asking yourself what a “Boost clock” is, don’t fret, we’ll cover that on the next page—for now, just think of it as Turbo Boost for GPUs. GeForce GTX 680 cards will have 2GB of GDDR5 memory, linked to the GPU over a 256-bit interface, with an impressive 6008MHz effective data rate. The result is a peak of 192.26GB/s of memory bandwidth. And the GeForce GTX 680’s peak texture fillrate is 128.8GT/s.

Based on NVIDIA’s track record the last few years, you may think that a card that’s seemingly as powerful as the GeForce GTX 680 requires a ton of power, but that’s not the case. Reference GeForce GTX 680s have a TDP of “only” 195 watts and require a pair of 6-pin PCI Express power connectors. For reference, the GeForce GTX 580 has a TDP of 244 watts.


The GeForce GTX 680's Cooler and GPU Exposed

Despite having lower power requirements, NVIDIA still put significant resources into keeping the GeForce GTX 680 cool and quiet. The fan on the GeForce GTX 680’s cooler reportedly features acoustic dampening material which lowers its pitch and minimizes whine. The heatsink itself features a densely packed array of aluminum fins with a high-efficiency embedded heatpipe and heavy copper base to more efficiently wick heat from the GPU. And the heatsink is cut at an angle and pushed back from the case bracket to allow air to more easily pass through the heatsink and escape through the vents in the bracket. The end result is a card that’s quieter than the GeForce GTX 580, which we found to run relatively cool as well.


The GeForce GTX 680's Case Bracket and Outputs

In terms of its output configuration, the GeForce GTX 680 has two DL-DVI outputs, a single HDMI 1.4a output (with 4K monitor support), and a single DisplayPort 1.2 output. But more importantly, the cards support up for four active displays—previous GeForces could only run two displays simultaneous. Being able to power four displays means the GeForce GTX 680 can power multi-monitor 3D Vision Surround setups from a single card.
 

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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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