Back in June of 2012 I purchased an EVGA Nvidia GTX 690 4GB Hydro Copper for a staggering sum of $1200 USD. To be perfectly honest, dropping that kind of coin on a single component was completely absurd. I will never foget just how incredibly uncomfortable I was when I clicked on that purchase button, but looking back it was a good decision... it was the right decision.
Happy Birthday to my GTX 690!
A little history
I used to purchase a new $200-$300 video card roughly every 18 months just to play keep up with the hottest titles like Half-Life 2, Crysis, Bad Company 2, and even World of Warcraft. Since 2004 I’ve had eight video cards in total, spanning the lifetime of four different custom rigs.
In 2012, I bought a GTX 690 because I wanted to run games close to 120FPS so that I could take advantage of a 1440p 120Hz display. I also needed a powerhouse that would work on an ITX motherboard, y’know... to keep the case size small but still incredibly powerful.
What was/is particularly unique about Nvidia's GTX 690 is that it's a graphics card with two GTX680 cores placed on a single PCB. The Hydro Copper variant came with a full-length copper waterblock made by Swiftech. The stock GPU clocks where a little higher and back then it was an overclockers dream.
For exactly a year, the GTX 690 maintained graphical superiority until AMD released the 6GB 7990 (2x7970 cores) in April of 2013. If a gamer wanted to frag at lan parties with an extremely portable case the size of a shoe box, a dual GPU solution was the only solution!
Here we are in 2016, a full 4 years after I received this card so let’s see how this now “ancient” GTX 690 compares to the best of the best.
So what was the point of this?
To be perfectly honest this was really meant as a fluff piece. A simple thought had crossed my mind and I was curious to see how well my GTX 690 would stack up next to today's hardware. If anything it also shows that making a single big investment could provide you with a GPU that will last a long time.
With HBM2-based cards right around the corner (AMD with the Vega, Nvidia with the upcoming Titan P) I think I am about due for my next graphics card upgrade, be it this year or sometime in 2017.
What’s really impressive to note is just how powerful single GPU solutions have become over the last 4 years. A GTX 690’s performance is quite similar to the GTX 980 that came out in September of 2014. Any performance advantages that the GTX 690 might have, depends quite heavily on proper SLI scaling. As a result, the GTX 690 is stuck in a performance deficit in a few modern titles like Doom/ Witcher 3 that don’t offer SLI or Crossfire support.
When I eventually get a new card, I will be sure to write up a proper comparison review to celebrate.
Thank you for reading!
Owner of Virtus Gaming
Benchmarks sourced from: Guru3D, TechpowerUP, GameStop.