NVIDIA Geforce GTX 680 Review Roundup: Faster, Cooler and Quieter

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I’m not sure what even those of you with giant-sized monitors would need it for given the PC performance curve these days, but NVIDIA’s Geforce GTX 680 is here and preliminary reviews are calling it a barn-burner. “Burner” only figuratively speaking this time of course: Those same reviews report NVIDIA’s latest graphics card is not only the fastest single-chip GPU on the planet, but it’s significantly cooler and quieter than the competition as well as its immediate predecessor, the GTX 580.

Let’s start with AnandTech, my personal favorite (arguably the most thorough of the deep-dive tech portals). The site writes:

…this has ended up being a launch not quite like any other. With GTX 280, GTX 480, and GTX 580 we discussed how thanks to NVIDIA’s big die strategy they had superior performance, but also higher power consumption and a higher cost. To that extent this is a very different launch –the GTX 680 is faster, cooler, and quieter than the Radeon HD 7970. NVIDIA has landed the technical trifecta, and to top it off they’ve priced it comfortably below the competition.

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Maximum PC says the GTX 680 “offers superb graphics horsepower, but requires only two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors,” concluding:

The GTX 680 looks to regain Nvidia the performance crown briefly held by AMD, and is priced lower, to boot. What’s most intriguing, however, is that Kepler likely has some headroom for even greater power consumption, which may allow Nvidia to ship an even higher-end GPU when needed.

X-bit labs, also no slouch in the details department, calls the GTX 680 “quite a success” and writes:

…with the new Kepler architecture, the GeForce GTX 680 graphics card has proved to be somewhat faster than the AMD Radeon HD 7970 across all the tests. It is also considerably quieter, more energy-efficient, smaller and lighter … Most importantly, the recommended price of the new card is set at $499, which is $50 cheaper than the recommended price of the AMD Radeon HD 7970.

Tom’s Hardware weighs in, describing the GTX 680 as a “hunter” that “scores a kill” and writing:

GeForce GTX 680 is now the fastest single-GPU graphics card, and not by a margin that leaves room to hem or haw … Make no mistake—AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 serves up better frame rates than Nvidia’s outgoing flagship at lower power. That’s a recipe for superior performance per watt, and our index demonstrates AMD’s success versus GeForce GTX 580. But then GeForce GTX 680 steps up with enough speed to outpace every other single-GPU card out there. And it only requires a pair of six-pin auxiliary power connectors. We can’t quite corroborate Nvidia’s claim that it improved on Fermi’s performance per watt by 2x. But real data does suggest it gets 72% of the way there, which is still pretty crazy.

As noted at the top, I can’t imagine anyone who actually needs one of these for single-monitor gaming, even if you’re an enthusiast with a ginormous screen who likes to play at the highest detail levels and resolutions. There’s simply not enough available on the PC, game-wise, that’ll take advantage of the card at this point (there’s still little that does NVIDIA’s outgoing flagship, the GTX 580, frankly). But as my colleague Jared Newman reminded me recently, some of you are multi-monitor fiends, in which case the GTX 680 sounds like a dream — albeit an expensive one at $499 — come true.

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