Two of the more prominent graphics card manufacturers have launched their slightly altered GTX680 cards with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM. While Leadtek’s offering is aimed at being the lowest-prices 4GB version available, MSI has chosen to have their 4GB model as part of their Twin Frozr family with overclocked speeds and a custom curcuit board.
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Leadtek’s 4GB GTX680 starts off with little fanfare. Its a reference design with the reference cooler and that ridiculous stacked dual 6-pin PCI-Express connector arrangement. There are no changes to the PCB that improve performance sans the upgraded RAM. Currently the OC versions of the GTX680 available from third-party manufacturers top out at 3GB, being enough for most configurations including triple-display support. Clock speeds are set at 1006Mhz for the core with a boost to 1058Mhz with the RAM sitting at the default 6Ghz.
The launch of the reference GTX680 sent waves throughout the industry and set tongues wagging with its lower power consumption and superior performance in comparison to the AMD Radeon HD7970. Leadtek expects the card to be available worldwide starting from August 1st, with some areas receiving their shipments later than others. The RRP is set at $765 (approx RR6300).
MSI’s Twin Frozr version of the 4GB GTX680 is completely different and features the Twin Frozr cooler included on overclocked cards and the Lightning series. The card features a customised circuit board that doesn’t stray too far from the reference design, although it does away with the stacked power connectors.
The card is available in two variants as a standard and OC model. The standard one sticks to reference speeds of 1006Mhz core and 1058Mhz boost and the OC version ups that to 1058Mhz core and 1124Mhz boost. MSI hasn’t commented on availability or pricing but you can expect it to try match Leadtek’s August release by shipping the card to suppliers later next month. Price-wise you should expect the cards to turn in at around the R7500 mark, putting the card at a higher entry point than the GTX680 2GB Lightning from MSI.
Most of you would wonder why these cards are being released but I’m betting that Nvidia’s partners see a need for buyers who don’t want to rely on a single GTX690 being crippled once extremely high levels of AA or a multi-display setup are used with the card. Having two GTX680s with double the RAM available would make high-end builds perform better and, with the extra RAM, would ensure that performance remains playable for the next few years while games constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible to hardware.
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