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Nvidia Launches GTX 680
Nvidia has just launched the GTX 680, its newest powerhouse graphics card. The GTX 680 features the brand new Kepler architecture. This is the first time Nvidia has released a GPU with a new architecture since 2010.
Nvidia GTX 680 Specs
Let's start this review out by taking a look at some of the specs of the GTX 680. The GPU has the ability to self-adjust its own speed between a stock speed and a "boost" speed. This boost speed default is set at 1058 MHz. The memory frequency in the GTX 680 has been pushed up to 1500 MHz. At 1500 MHz, the GTX 680 is able to achieve a bandwidth rating of 192 GB/s. This is all quite impressive. However, one thing to keep in mind is that this is a brand new high-end card. The general consensus is that this card will be initially priced at $499.
The Kepler GPU consists of four such GPCs (graphics processing clusters), eight Streaming Multiprocessors (SMX), and four memory controllers. The memory system of the Kepler architecture has been redesigned to support higher clock speeds than its predecessors. The Kepler architecture has also been very well optimized for power consumption. The new Kepler architecture allows for double the performance per watt when compared to the Fermi architecture. This means better performance at lower energy costs.
The boost clock feature is probably the biggest change in this new architecture. This boost clock feature allows the video card to adjust clock speeds at real-time. This boost clock feature is automatically built into the card and requires no interaction from the user to enable.
Nvidia GTX 680 VS AMD Radeon HD 7970
The biggest competitor to the GTX 680 is the Radeon HD 7970. This card has been out on the market for a little bit of time now. Using 3dmark11, Battlefield 3, Dirt 3, and Crysis 2, the GTX 680 outperformed the Radeon HD 7970 by about 10%. The HD 7970 actually performed a bit better in Crysis 2. However, the GTX 680 won all other tests.
Overall, this is a very solid card. It can easily be seen as one of the best or even the best card on the market right now. However, the awesome performance from the GTX 680 will set you back a pretty penny. If you have the money, you won't go wrong with the Nvidia GTX 680. However, the best bang for the buck video card will probably be in the $150-$300 range.
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