With the launch of the GTX680 just last week, manufacturers are clamouring to get their versions out of the gate and into the minds and hearts of early adopters. While a lot of the cards are based offt he reference cooler, it’s worth a look to see what’s going to be out there when general availability improves in a month’s time.
PNY is a Nvidia specialist company, and provides more value-orientated cards than their competitors in the US and neighboring countries.While not usually sold in South Africa, buyers may be able to import the card using Takealot or Amazon’s import options online. The XLR8 edition is a reference model and comes with standard clocks of 1006Mhz core with a boost to 1056Mhz and memory clocks of 1.5Ghz. Of note is that the card also comes with a bundled DisplayPort to HDMI adapter in white.
EVGA is the only manufacturer to launch more than one model so far. They have five based on the GTX680 – the baseline reference Intro, the slightly more speedy Superclocked Edition with an altered backplate, the GTX680 FTW with a custom copper cooler, higher clock speeds and kickass design, and finally the Hydro Copper Edition, which features even higher clock speeds and a custom water-cooling block for use in a water-cooling loop. There’s no details on the final edition, the GTX680 Classified. The Classified versions are often kept a secret, and EVGA may have discovered a way to allow gamers to access that super-high 1842Mhz clock they recently achieved under LN2 with other cooling methods.
The reference cooler from Nvidia says it all – reference clocks, reference speed, reference price. About the only thing different is the sticker and the bundle that the card will come with which hasn’t yet been detailed.
Gainward is owned by Palit, but is more the kind of company that gets a very long leash and near unlimited R&D budget. Gainward is famous for their Goes Like Hell line of high-end cards, and no doublt the GTX680 will be treated to that very soon. In the meantime well, it’s a stock version that’s up for grabs to customers with enough money and time to sit and F5 their pages to grab stock as it comes in. Their other signature line, the Phantom, is also pictured below (last on right).
Galaxy…where do I start? The company almost never creates something boring to look at. They’re out the gate revealing a 4GB overclocked version of the GTX680, featuring a redesigned PCB, different memory chips, redesigned power circuit and possible PRM software-controlled dual 90mm fans. Like I said, never boring. The Hall of Fame edition is even more intriguing. Right off the bat the white PCB is something to behold, as is the custom triple 90mm fans on the in-house designed cooler. The last HOF card based off the GTX580 featured the ability to put more than two monitors on the same card (proving, once again, that Fermi was held back very far in terms of what it could achieve), sort of like an Eyefinity 6 Radeon card.
So, you ZOTAC fans wanted something? Well…you can’t have it. Because they haven’t said nary a word about their lineup. There was a conversation with the General Manager of ZOTAC China, Mr Kwai (no, not even Google knows his first name) has stated that ZOTAC is working on a 2Ghz GTX680 card, no doubt bothered because EVGA stepped on everyone’s toes early on in the race for supremacy.
MSI trails behind everyone for now with another reference design, this time overclocked to 1100Mhz core. Accompanying it should be a 24-month warranty and not much of a bundle to look at. Club3D likewise joins the bandwagon and puts out a stock-standard version. But the good stuff is always saved for last right? Scroll down further…
Yes, it’s Galaxy again, but this time the card deserves special mention all on its own. Why? It’s a single-slot card with a custom cooler and redesigned PCB to fit within the lower TDP imposed by the cooler. Working off similar technology to laptops, air is channeled by the fan through copper heatpipes within the card’s shroud. The air is drawn in through the grille in the middle, circulated over the PCB and exhausted by the fan. This should be interesting for the inevitable 8-way hacked SLI rig designed for CUDA-intensive applications and folding@home.
Other manufacturers may out their offerings in the coming months, but it’s a given that most will be slightly altered stock versions. For more information, visit the following links below:
Nvidia GTX680 Analysis, Part Two: Performance
Nvidia GTX680 Analysis, Part Three: Other Tidbits