Like the rest of Nvidia’s partners, EVGA first launched the reference GTX 690. Later on, Nvidia gave selected partners a green light to come up with non-reference coolers, so EVGA made a water-block for its GTX 690 Hydro Copper. Since Hydro Copper is still not available on the market, we got a GTX 690 based on the reference design.
That EVGA’s GTX 690 is based on the reference design is definitely not a downside this time around. Namely, Nvidia did a really good job and the GTX 690 came out better than many expected.
When compared to two GTX 680 cards in SLI, thermals and power consumption on GTX 690 are definitely better. The GTX 690’s cooler is quieter and power consumption is lower.
In the past we’ve had scenarios where dual-GPU cards ran slower than two single-GPU cards in SLI. However, GTX 690’s performance is breathing down GTX 680 SLI’s neck. GTX 690’s Base clock is 91MHz lower than the GTX 680’s (9% difference). Thanks to the superior thermals however, Boost clock is only 39MHz lower than the GTX 680’s (4% difference).
GTX 690 is currently the fastest graphics card around and Nvidia decided to cash in. The card launched at $999, which pretty much broke all the previous price records. Nvidia justifies the price by saying that it didn’t skimp on quality of components, which enabled them to squeeze out the maximum from two GK104 chips on a single PCB.
EVGA GTX 690 graphics card goes for about €1000 in EU, which is about the price you’ll pay for two EVGA GTX 680 cards.
If you have the cash to buy two GTX 680 cards, you may want to consider getting a GTX 690. One thing is for certain, GTX 690 is the best high-end card we’ve had on our test, which makes our award a no-brainer, really.