NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Review: Ultra Expensive, Ultra Rare, Ultra Fastby Ryan Smith on May 3, 2012 9:00 AM EST
GeForce Experience & The Test
Before jumping into our test results, there’s one last thing we wanted to touch upon quickly. Along with announcing the GTX 690 at the NVIDIA Gaming Festival 2012, NVIDIA also used the occasion to announce a new software utility called GeForce Experience.
For some time now NVIDIA has offered a feature they call Optimal Playable Settings through GeForce.com, which are a series of game setting configurations that NVIDIA has tested and is recommending for various GeForce video cards. It’s a genuinely useful service, but it’s also not well known and only covers desktop GPUs.
With GeForce Experience NVIDIA is going to be taking that concept one step further and offering an application that interfaces with both the game and the successor to NVIDIA’s OPS service. The key difference being that rather than having the settings on a website and requiring the user to punch in those settings by hand, GeForce Experience can fetch those settings from NVIDIA and make the settings changes on its own. This would make the process much more accessible, as not only do users not need to know anything about how to access their settings or what they do, but the moment NVIDIA includes this with their drivers it will be far more widespread than OPS ever was.
The other change is that NVIDIA is going to be moving away from manual testing in favor of automated testing. OPS are generated by hand, whereas GeForce Experience settings are going to be based on automated testing, allowing NVIDIA to cover a wider range of games and video cards, most importantly by including mobile video cards. NVIDIA already has GPU farms for driver regression testing, so this is a logical extension of that concept to use those farms to generate and test game settings.
GeForce Experience will be launching in beta form on June 6th.
The press drivers for the GTX 690 are 301.33, though it sounds like NVIDIA will actually launch with a slightly newer version today. As the GTX 690 is launching so soon after the GTX 680 these drivers are virtually identical to the GTX 680 launch drivers. Meanwhile for the GeForce 500 series we’re using 301.24, and for the AMD Radeon cards Catalyst 12.4
We’d also like to give a shout-out to Asus, who sent us one of their wonderful PA246Q 24” P-IPS monitors to allow us to complete our monitor set for multi-monitor testing. From here on we’ll be able to offer multi-monitor results for our high-end cards, and a number of cards have already had that data added in Bench.
Next, based on an informal poll on our forums we’re going to be continuing our existing SLI/CF testing methodology. All of our test results will be with both cards directly next to each other as opposed to spaced apart in order to test the worst case scenario. Users with such a configuration are a minority based on our data, but there are still enough of them that we believe it should be covered.
Finally, we’d like to note that since we don’t have a matching pair of 7970 reference cards, we’re using our one reference card along with XFX’s R7970 BEDD. For gaming performance, power consumption, and temperatures this doesn’t have a material impact, but it means we don’t have meaningful noise performance for the 7970.
|CPU:||Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4.3GHz|
|Motherboard:||EVGA X79 SLI|
|Chipset Drivers:||Intel 126.96.36.1992|
|Power Supply:||Antec True Power Quattro 1200|
|Hard Disk:||Samsung 470 (256GB)|
|Memory:||G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1867 4 x 4GB (8-10-9-26)|
|Case:||Thermaltake Spedo Advance|
AMD Radeon HD 7970
AMD Radeon HD 6990
AMD Radeon HD 6970
AMD Radeon HD 5970
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580
NVIDIA ForceWare 301.24
NVIDIA ForceWare 301.33
AMD Catalyst 12.4
|OS:||Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit|