In late March Nvidia introduced its latest flagship graphics card, the GeForce GTX 680. By now a number of cards have been released that are based on Nvidia's reference design.
In our original review of the GTX 680 we were quite impressed by Nvidia latest graphics card. The GK104 chip, once seen as a mid-range model, appeared to be so powerful that it had enough juice for even a high-end graphics card. It was generally 10 per cent faster than AMD's flagship Radeon HD 7970, and Nvidia also managed to make it very energy-efficient. The introduction of the GTX 680 caused AMD to significantly lower its prices too. At the moment, you get more bang for your buck from AMD, but there are plenty of reasons to choose Nvidia, including 3D Vision, CUDA and so on.
Nvidia's reference design of the GTX 680 has the GPU running at 1,006MHz with a boost clock frequency of 1,058MHz. The card has 2GB GDDR5 memory running at 1,502MHz. It has two dual-link DVI outputs, one HDMI and one DisplayPort. Up to four monitors can be connected at a time. Due to the conservative power needs of the GK104 chip, the GTX 680 reference card only requires two 6-pin power connectors.
The card uses a wind tunnel cooler with radial fan on the back, and it's very quiet. We registered an average of 40.5 dB(A) from a 10cm distance. It's not inaudible, but not loud either, and the cooling performance is sufficient. After two benchmark rounds of Metro 2033 we measured 74 degrees. It also means that the card has limited overclocking potential.
We already reviewed two cards based on Nvidia's reference design in March, the ASUS GTX680-2GD5 and the Zotac GeForce GTX 680 2GB, which are identical. You can read the rest of Seven Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 round-up on Hardware.info.