Table of Contents:
Here we see a breakdown of the cooling system and what makes it run. Once removed we can see that under the cover we have dual vapor chamber coolers (1 per GPU) which help sap heat away from the GPU and exhaust it to the passing airflow. The center mounted fan is similar to the style we have seen on the GTX590 and is mounted to a baseplate which also works as a heatspreader for the VRM, memory and other critical components. The baseplate has special grooves or “channels” as NVIDIA references them which helps the cooling airflow dissipate the heat away from the cooling plate. One thing to note is that since the fan is a center mounted axial design were going to see some heat put into the case by the inward GPU as the airflow is exhausted from the end of the card, this in most systems will make a menial difference but in some cases or under extreme stress for a long time the heat exhausted could buildup so the need for chassis airflow definitely exists.
After passing the cooling components we get to a render of the board components. Needless to say this is where things get interesting and definitely what we've been waiting for. These are the parts that make the magic happen and keep games churning along. This card has dual full spec Kepler GPUs to do the grunt work being fed by a 10 phase hi performance VRM. Bridging the dual GPUs is handled by a PLX Bridge chip which we will look at in more detail soon. All of this is mounted to a super stout 10 layer PCB sporting 2oz copper content to make sure there should be no signaling or performance issues no matter the load or stress placed on it.
Here is the previously mentioned PLX chip which is what interconnects the dual GPUs and allows the SLI magic to happen. Most are likely familiar with the NF200 of previous generations which were used on dual GPU cards to bridge the GPUs but due to the PCIe 3.0 spec of the new Kepler cards something new was needed and the PLX chip fit the bill perfectly to fit in the tight PCB real estate and still meet the performance demands for the application.
GPU boost is one of the new technologies we have already seen on the GTX680. This is NVIDIA’s way of modulating clock speeds to allow for higher “boost clocks” when TDP and thermals is still within limit and there is headroom to allow for even more performance from the card. The GTX 680 had a mild boost clock maximum of 52MHz which is enough for a nice little boost in gameplay but the GTX 690 really surprised us as it offers a boost clock of 104MHz over the base clock putting it within grabbing distance of the GTX680 boost clocks. The Kepler GPU is designed around a new generation of stream multiprocessing which in essence is NVIDIA's way of refining the way it makes the cards work by removing the previously seen “processor clock” which was double the speed of the GPU clock and instead taking the GPU and completely revamping it to add more CUDA cores at the lower speed to allow a much better performance per watt ratio than could have been done with the previous implementation.
FXAA is a new AA technology and a way to improve Anti Aliasing while also lessening the impact on framerates that traditional AA would see. As seen above the performance impact is dramatically reduced while the image quality is still very high. The new FXAA technology is implemented and accomplished via usage of the high CUDA core count to process each render to reduce visible Aliasing and smooth edges while not excessively affecting performance. Another cool feature is NVIDIA Adaptive VSync which is similar to what is offered by standard VSync but better. The frame rate is still capped at the active 60Hz rate but as games drop below 60FPS as so many games do from time to time in heavy loading scenarios or highly textured scenes the card will actively disable VSync instantly to avoid the tearing we see at the lower framerates and as soon as the frames move above 60 FPS VSync is back on without the user being any the wiser as the transition is doen seamlessly and from our testing it works very well as we observed no screen tearing when testing in some of our most demanding games where framerates can easily jump above 60 and drop below 60 like a stone at a moments notice.