Nvidia did a great job and Kepler has proven its dominance over Fermi generation, both in power consumption and thermals. These two advantages in particular are what made it possible to build a dual-GPU card that’s quieter than all the earlier dual-GPU cards, while being faster at the same time.
Gainward could have perhaps personalized the cooler, but we won’t pick hairs and besides – if it ain’t broken, it don’t need fixing. The reference cooling is, dare we say it, sexy and offers good performance at decent noise levels. In fact, considering that this is a dual GPU card, the thermals-to-noise ratio is quite nice. Additionally, the GTX 690 is quieter than two GTX 680 cards in SLI mode.
As far as performance goes, the GTX 690 is slightly behind two GTX 680 in SLI, mostly due to lower GPU clocks. In fact, the GTX 690’s GPUs run 9 percent slower that the ones on GTX 680 cards, which is practically the only difference between these GPUs.
Overclocking potential isn’t as good as the GTX 680’s, but we managed to squeeze out up to 16 percent better performance with very little effort. When it comes to consumption, the GTX 690 beats a GTX 680 SLI system by almost 90W.
The GTX 690’s performance is mouth watering and although some may say it’s an overkill for gaming, remember that 1920x1080 is a joke for what this card can do. If you want to play at 2560x1600 or are planning for some surround gaming, then you’ll want only the best. Two overclocked GTX 670 cards may be more affordable, and the same goes for two GTX 680s in SLI, but the GTX 690 offers a serious punch in a single package.
Gainward GTX 690 currently goes for about €900, which is a big plus as it cost €1000 only a few months ago. Not your average pocket money for sure, but not your average budget card either. Besides, we’re talking about the fastest graphics card on the market and that sort of performance never came cheap. In conclusion, if you’re looking for the leanest and meanest card on the market, Gainward GTX 690 has your name written all over it.