A few weeks back, we highlighted Nvidia's supercomputer-powered "GeForce Experience" initiative, which wants to use the power of the cloud to scan your hardware and offer one-click graphics setting optimization for PC games. Nvidia announced another cloud-based graphics platform at the same time: the GeForce Grid, a Kepler-based GPU that gaming services can use to power games at a remote location, then stream them to you over an Internet connection. (Think OnLive, but powered by Nvidia.) Nvidia boss Jen-Hsun Huang says he thinks Grid's potential for cross-platform ubiquity could break down barriers and create legions of new gamers.
Good news for early GeForce/Verde 600 series adopters: Nvidia's just released a set of WHQL-certified drivers for desktop and notebook gamers alike, one welcomes all the new entries to the Nvidia graphics family with open arms and gives them a big ol' group hug. GeForce 400 and 500 series owners will feel the love, too, thanks to a performance boost of up to 20 percent in a host of top-tier games.
According to the old Internet rumor mill, Nvidia's GTX 670 graphics card is set to launch this Friday. Pictures of alleged retail boxes have been popping up for a while, even before the massive dual-GPU GTX 690 hit the streets a week ago. Now, one reviewer claims that a unit fell into his hands courtesy of an unnamed manufacturer, and he's benchmarked the leaked card and slapped the results up on the web for all to see.
We knew this day would come, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. After all, we’ve been waiting since Saturday. Today Nvidia launches the just-announced GeForce GTX 690, which packs two full GK104 Kepler GPUs onto one video card—and what a card it is. (For an in-depth look at the GTX 680, the GK104 GPU, and the Kepler architecture, check out the feature story from our June issue!)
With premium magnesium-alloy casing, polycarbonate windows, and an LED-backlit logo, the $1,000 GeForce GTX 690 reference card looks as expensive as it is.
Two. Two GPUs.
The GTX 690 is 11 inches long—big for an Nvidia card, but still smaller than the 12.2-inch high water mark established by the AMD Radeon 5970 a few generations ago. As you’d expect, the GTX 690 contains two of the same GPU found in the GTX 680, with a slightly lower base clock—915MHz with a boost clock of 985MHz, compared to the 1,006MHz base and 1,058MHz boost clock for a reference GTX 680. Nvidia says they’ve built in substantial room for overclocking, too, saying that you can get over 1,100MHz clocks from the stock cooler.
Aside from the slightly lower clocks, the rest of the board’s specs are exactly what you’d expect from a true dual-680 configuration: 3,072 CUDA cores, 16 SMX units, 256 texture units, and 64 ROPs. Each GK104 GPU has 2GB of GDDR5 with four 64-bit memory channels per GPU, for a total of 4GB GDDR5 frame buffer for the whole card.
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While the new Radeon 7000 video cards seem to be launching and garnering headlines on an almost daily basis, it would be foolish to forget that AMD is far from the only 800 lb. gorilla in the discrete graphics room. As regular reader JohnP regularly reminds us, several signs point to Nvidia releasing the Kepler-based GeForce GTX 680 on March 22nd. That's just a couple of days away, so we thought we'd do a quick round-up of the various GTX 680 rumors floating around the web.
Nvidia this week made available new GeForce 296.10 drivers, the first to officially support the GeForce GTX 560 SE GPU. Other changes are fairly minor and include an updated version of the PhysX System Software, 3D Vision support for Dear Esther and Deep Black: Reloaded, and improved SLI performance for half a dozen games, including up to a 1.8x performance increase in Blacklight: Retribution.
Good news if you're the proud owner of a Nvidia GeForce graphics card: after a flood of beta drivers, the first WHQL-certified drivers from the Release 295 family are ready to roll. Nvidia promises that the 295.73 WHQL drivers pack in all the upgrades found in the recent beta drivers, "plus a few other treats." Every GeForce card ever released looks to be supported.
AMD's already released high-end and low-end versions of its new Radeon 7000 lineup, but we've barely heard anything about Nvidia's upcoming Kepler GPUs. When will the first 6xx products launch? Heck, what season will Kepler launch in? Your guess is as good as ours. (At least there are spec rumors floating around.) We know one thing for certain, however; the yields of the 28nm wafers used to make Kepler GPUs have been horrible, and it's going to cost Nvidia big in the upcoming months.
With a minimum of fuss and fanfare, AMD and NVidia have made some changes to their mobile lineup over the past few days. First off, AMD quietly released seven new Llano A-series APUs to its lineup, but that’s overshadowed by the launch of the new Radeon HD 7000M graphics chips. Actually, the Radeon HD 7000M series only sort of launched. Rather than unveiling new, awesome 28nm GPUs, the HD 7000M models announced yesterday are basically just rebranded 40nm HD 6000M chips. Nvidia's new GeForce 600M series is likewise pretty much rebranded 500M chips.
Fancy yourself an adventurous gamer? We're not talking about would-be Zak McKrackens or former knights of Daventry (King's Quest fans will get the latter reference), but those gamers who aren't afraid to install beta drivers and potentially buggy code, all in the pursuit of better framerates and improved performance all around. If that sounds like you, and you own an Nvidia graphics card, you should check this out.