GeForce GTX 680 announced, powerful enough for Samaritan

The GeForce GTX 680 represents the beginning of Nvidia's next generation GPU architecture. "With Kepler we wanted not only to build the world's fastest GPU, but also the world's most power efficient," Nvidia said in the announcement.

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At GDC earlier this month, we saw Unreal Engine's impressive Samaritan tech demo running on a single GPU for the first time. Epic Games' Mark Rein told us that the demo was being powered by a new Nvidia card, simply codenamed Kepler. While we were able to see the hardware, the graphics card manufacturer was keeping quiet about the card's specs.

Well, until today. The GeForce GTX 680 represents the beginning of Nvidia's next generation GPU architecture. "With Kepler we wanted not only to build the world's fastest GPU, but also the world's most power efficient," Nvidia said in the announcement.

According to Nvidia, the GTX 680 introduces two changes that improve the GPU's energy efficiency. The first is the new streaming multiprocessor, described as "the most important building block" of the GPU, designed for "optimal performance per watt."

The increased power efficiency will result in a quieter and cooler gaming experience. However, it serves a practical purpose as well. The Samaritan demo, which previously required three GTX 580 cards, would draw a total of 732 watts to run. A power supply of that nature just isn't practical for PC gaming purposes. The GTX 680, in contrast, draws at most 195 watts of power, making it an upgrade your computer won't explode from using.

A new feature called "GPU Boost" will also dynamically fluctuate clock speed. The card has a base clock of 1006 MHz and a boost clock of 1058 MHz. Nvidia promises that "GPU Boost doesn't take away from overclocking." They argue that "with GPU Boost, you now have more than one way to overclock your GPU. You can still increase the base clock just like before and the boost clock will increase correspondingly. Alternatively, you can increase the power target. This is most useful for games that are consuming near 100% of this power target."

The card will be available to purchase starting today for about $500 at select retailers. With it, you'll be able to boast about your ability to run Samaritan--in spite of not actually being able to play anything that looks like it yet.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 22, 2012 7:15 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, GeForce GTX 680 announced, powerful enough for Samaritan.

    The GeForce GTX 480 represents the beginning of Nvidia's next generation GPU architecture. "With Kepler we wanted not only to build the world's fastest GPU, but also the world's most power efficient," Nvidia said in the announcement.

    • reply
      March 22, 2012 7:18 AM

      (GTX 480 should be 680 in the first line)

    • reply
      March 22, 2012 7:49 AM

      Why the emphasis on Samaritan in this article? yes it has some nice underlying tech, but this new version of unreal is far from being a "killer app" for this card. Is the samaritan demo really that impressive to people?.

      Almost everything made with unreal has this overly chunky/specular/glowing/fake look to it. It may just be an artstyle coincidence, but its so common it almost feels like a side effect of the engine. Unreal is a great engine from a digital content creation and level/resource editor perspective but the games made using it often feel templated/underwhelming.

      Some older games like Metro 2033 look way better and crisper. I know its a demo, but drowning out a scene by compositing heaps of post effects doesn't automatically make a scene more visually impressive - it usually does the opposite (especially if it is interactive).

      All I see in this demo is lens flare, glow, fog, depth of field and way too many dynamic lights. There is very little fidelity in the textures, geometry, or the animation. Looks like some just went shader crazy. The tech is impressive but the demo is shit.

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 7:59 AM

        It is being developed for consoles, my expectations for this engine are pretty close to shit.

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 10:59 AM

        The emphasis is because last year at GDC, Samaritan required 3 GTX 580s to run. Now it runs on a single 680.

        I don't really like this comparison, btw, but I probably can't say anymore about it than just that--I don't like this comparison.

        • reply
          March 22, 2012 11:18 AM

          Make control panel overrides override, please. :)

        • reply
          March 22, 2012 3:45 PM

          I don't even understand this comparison. In benchmarks I've seen, the 680 is about the same speed as a 590, which is 2 580s, not 3...is the Samaritan demo really coded in a way that over taxes 580s but not 680s or is this marketing nonsense?

          • reply
            March 22, 2012 5:22 PM

            680 dominates everything in tessellation, but all other improvements are marginal.

            I wouldnt be surprised if they used a different/newer build of the engine or they had some shady agreement with nvidia to say how awesome the 680 is.

        • reply
          March 22, 2012 5:26 PM

          It runs on the 680 because they ditched proper AA! They never bothered to make the correct comparison. You'd never read that in any articles ofcourse because gaming journalism lmao.

    • reply
      March 22, 2012 7:55 AM

      GTX 680 is here!!!! Will buy when I can afford it!

    • reply
      March 22, 2012 7:55 AM

      Typos galore. GTX 480 was 2 years ago. So basically this wasn't proof-read whatsoever.

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 7:58 AM

        No, NVIDIA started going backwards with their model numbers now. GTX480>GTX680

    • reply
      March 22, 2012 8:14 AM

      Hmm. A new iPad or a new graphics card? These must be the hard choices in life everyone keeps telling me about.

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 8:28 AM

        Seems like a no-brainer. IPad for sure. Current cards are already destroying everything out there. And given the market domination of consoles, I doubt many games (my assumption is most games will be ports of console games) are going to be built to a spec that requires anything like whatever this new card is capable of.

        • reply
          March 22, 2012 9:16 AM

          If you're buying this card it's because you're a gaming enthusiast. If you have a monitor running at 2560x1600, then you'll find that games like skyrim don't run maxed out. I am running skyrim somwehere between high and ultra with a 6970, a card like this would hopefully allow me to completely max it.

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          March 22, 2012 9:24 AM

          Mostly true, but current cards at the "all-powerful destroyer" tier are also loud and power-hungry. For those of us who have been hanging back with the cards around the knee of the power/performance curve this one is kinda tempting.

          My 560 Ti is great, but at 1080p it's still not uncommon that I can't max out the video settings for a game. Being able to always crank everything and zoom along at 60+ FPS would be awesome.

          (Although perhaps not $500 awesome.)

          • reply
            March 22, 2012 8:32 PM

            All of these are exactly my thoughts.

        • reply
          March 22, 2012 10:50 AM

          "Current cards are already destroying everything out there"

          Bullshit. Not even close.

    • reply
      March 22, 2012 8:57 AM

      195 watts sounds good; I was worried that my next gaming PC would need an 850 watt power supply to have a decent video card.

      Samaritan is not a PC tech demo; it's a love letter to Microsoft, begging them to put this video chipset and more RAM in the next XBox before it tapes out this year, prior to its rumored 2013 launch. The last time Epic released a truly great PC game was eight years ago.

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 9:05 AM

        195W is incredible, especially if that's actually the max. I think that's between the idle and max power consumption of the 560 Ti I currently have... so, wow.

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 9:42 AM

        i miss UT2004. that was a badass game. i would jump on a shackbattle of that bitch

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 11:21 AM

        this is why i get a chuckle out of people insisting you need eleventy billion gigawatt PSUs when people ask about build advise here. no doubt a quality PSU is integral to a stable system, but i'd hazard a guess that if anyone kill-a-watt'd their recently built gaming machines they'd be at 50-70% utilization. and stuff is generally getting more energy efficient, not less.

    • reply
      March 22, 2012 10:45 AM

      GPU boost? Is this actually new? I could swear when I checked my GPUs via CPU-Z or similar it would fluctuate based on the work performed?

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 10:50 AM

        They clock down when idle. GPU Boost actually overclocks when demand is high.

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 10:59 AM

        Downclocking (or clockgating) has always been a thing. Upclocking is new-ish.

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 11:02 AM

        It strangely holds back now unless demanded, which I guess is a good thing.

        • reply
          March 27, 2012 11:36 AM

          The relay delay between loading the resources and the increase in performance does lead to some wonky-ass gameplay if done poorly. I can notice a leap from 60-40 subtle but its enough to make me happy. 60 down to 30, I am unhappy camper looking to tweak his shit or make that GPU produce 105% all the damn time.

    • reply
      March 22, 2012 11:13 AM

      I think i'll wait to see some actual reviews on it. I need to upgrade my SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X HD5870 1GB OC. I've just been waiting for something that is quieter, and less power hungry than the current cards out.

    • reply
      March 22, 2012 11:24 AM

      Will it run Cysis? Oh nvm, these cards are getting sick! I just wish the size and power usage could be toned down a bit, I thought with better tech things would get smaller but it appears it's going in the other direction. :P

      • reply
        March 22, 2012 11:48 AM

        This card is smaller and more power efficient...

        • reply
          March 22, 2012 12:01 PM

          but it wont fit in my nettop :(

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