What to get: 690 or 2 x 680 ?

StormClaw

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What's better to get: a single 690 or 680 SLI ?

I looking for:

- stability (I hate crashes)
- performance
- cooling (low temps better ofc)
- noise

I play at 2560x1600
 
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Tsumi

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Depends on your motherboard and resolution.

As far as performance is concerned, they're identical if you get the 2gb 680s. 4gb 680 SLI will outdo the 690 in high resolutions. Not sure if there's a 8gb 690.

As for cooling and noise... if your motherboard does not have room for an extra space between the cards, the 680 SLI will likely be noisier and worse cooling. If it does have extra space, and you get ones with aftermarket cooling like the MSI Twin Frozrs, they'll be quieter and cooler.
 

RadXge

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Unless your motherboard does not support SLI, go with 680 SLI.
Simply because 680 SLI is cheaper and a bit faster than the 690.
That being said the 690 is a very sexy card.
 

StormClaw

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I got ASUS ROG IV Rampage Extreme mobo. It has a lot of PCI slots as well as space.

So i guess 680 SLI is the way to go? Would the noise be too bad?
 

Tsumi

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Which ROG IV Extreme? There's the Rampage, Crosshair, and Maximus.

As I said, aftermarket cooling is generally a lot quieter than the stock reference version.
 

StormClaw

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Which ROG IV Extreme? There's the Rampage, Crosshair, and Maximus.

As I said, aftermarket cooling is generally a lot quieter than the stock reference version.

ASUS ROG IV Rampage Extreme

What aftermarket cooling do you mean? The air ones with 3 fans setup?
My concern is that it won't be expelling the hot air out of the case, but rather dissipate it inside.
 

CompMage

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SLI 680 will win over the 690 in most setups.

If you're running a single display at 1080 res.. it's going to be hard to impossible to tell the difference. If you're like me and love 5760x1080 res, the two dedicated cards are going to serve you better.

That said the 690 is going to be quieter and use less power then the pair of 680s so if you have anything less then a 850+ PSU you might consider the 690.

I just upgraded to my second 680 and trolled the HF for weeks before I made the choice since I was deciding the same thing. For me the SLI 680 won.

As for your motherboard I know for a fact that it will accept the cards and ask for some more! Mine did! Just make sure you read the manual and put it in the right slots.

And as sexy as a 690 is.... dual 680s is much sexier looking in your case! Bragging rights!
 

sk3tch

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If you're going to SLI two cards, I'd say get a couple nice GTX 670s. Save some coin, get similar performance. If you want performance - get two MSI Lightning 680s.

If it's vanilla reference GTX 680s in SLI versus the GTX 690 - I say get the GTX 690. More upgrade potential down the road for most setups (uses less juice, takes up less PCI slots in cases) - quad-SLI in the same form factor as SLI 680s. :)
 

xnikx

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i have two 4gb 680s and i would say go with the 690.

my 680s in sli have had nothing but issues.
 

spaceman

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What's better to get: a single 690 or 680 SLI ?

I looking for:

- stability (I hate crashes)
- performance
- cooling (low temps better ofc)
- noise

I play at 2560x1600

Single 690 per first comment. It is going to be more stable than sli.

I have to say that while sli is generally good, it can be a head banging unsolvable wtf? at times too. I just have a single 670 and it runs everything that I play max at 1920x1440 just fine. BL2 with Smaa looks tits.
 

schoenda

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Why would a 690 be more stable than SLI? Is this true? Either way I assume you are willing to take the somewhat higher risk of frustration with a multi card/gpu setup.

In any case I am extremely happy with my two 680's and I game at your same rez. (It floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.) I only wish I had held out for two copper extreme confidentials so I could dress up in my x-men costume and crank the black lights and feel even cooler. ;)

I like the option of running one card or SLI or one for video and one for physx...I don't have a 690 but you probably have the same options with that. Yes/No?

The comment about the 670's is probably true, and I feel the pair of 680's may be overkill at this rez, but hey...that wasn't your question. Besides, who doesn't occ. think about running 3 monitors?

As for upgrade potential...by the time you may want two 690's you will likely be better off with whatever is current gen. at that time....this is how it usually works out, so I don't buy the dual 690's as an attractive future upgrade path.

-Dave
 
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RadXge

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Note sure that the experience of one individual is enough to conclude that a 690 would be more stable than SLI...
In my books, 690 SLI is not a viable upgrade path due to the inherent issues of such exotic setups.
Also, being less exotic, the 680 is likely to be easier to sell in the future.
 

Blacklash

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According to a German website the 690 delivers the most "smooth" FPS of any MGPU solution available. You don't need to be able to read German in order to understand that chart.

http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/...dia-geforce-gtx-690/8/#abschnitt_mikroruckler

They say it goes; single GPU, 690, regular SLi then Crossfire. So something like HD 7970 Crossfire might deliver higher frames however it would likely be more "uneven" or rough. It's possible this is due to nVidia's frame metering. They indicate that chart represents a worst case scenario. The Tech Report has touched on this issue before as well.

Personally, I think you'd be happy with either; 690 or 680 SLi.
 
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Blackstone

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I get the 690 for the noise issue alone. The dual GPU cards are really quiet.

I don't believe in overkill at any rez. Get the best you can afford. In BF3 my GTX 590 is great, MOST of time, but there are a dips depending on what is on the screen. A lot of people said the 590 was overkill and the 580/680 was enough. It is but 690 IS better. Every little bit counts to eliminate those dips, even into the low 50s and 40s FPS which breaks some of the immersion. It is a subjective. The best is when you are just locked at 60fps when those frame rates are bouncing around depending on how many trees are on the screen it just is not the same experience.
 
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CyberJunk

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i would go for one 690 over multiple cards. then you don;t have to deal with driver issues and iam pretty sure the 690 is enough to run games at max at that resolution.
 

Mega666

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680 x 2

Just to elaborate, SLI is way more than mature.. It's downright old tech and stable for years.
 

RadXge

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i would go for one 690 over multiple cards. then you don;t have to deal with driver issues

:confused:
690 is SLI.
Therefore, a game that is having issues with 680 SLI will face the same issue with a single 690.
 

xoleras

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On this whole issue of 690 being somehow magically smoother than 680 sli - Having owned and used 3 setups (7970CF, 690, 680 sli) I think anyone stating this is full of shit. I even see it in reviews here that Brent has posted, and I think its hilarious.. 680 sli is definitely faster than 690, but people smoking the good stuff will probably say nonsense about the 690 being magically "smoother". Whatever.

It's a good thing that there's no objective data to validate such claims, as they say you see what you want to see. Having done a comparison of 680 sli and 690, I can say for sure the 680 sli is faster and anyone stating 690 is "smoother" is crazy. In fact, the 690 is WAY more prone to throttling and temperature issues so it is a sketchy claim at best from people A) smoking the good shit or B) seeing what they want to see.

I can't stress enough how much more prone the 690 is to temperature/power throttling than 680 sli. Reviews here don't even mention this, funnily enough - apparently kepler throttle doesn't exist. The 70C throttle that everyone else gets, doesn't happen here. Yet 690 is somehow "smoother". Yeah, pass me some of that shit you're smoking.
 
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Mega666

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SLI on a single card is slightly different than SLI with two separate cards. Space.. less heat shared between the gpus for one... Microstutter more likely to happen on a double GPU board than SLI with two separate boards. ATI has avoided some of this with excellent hardware. Too bad the drivers always fall short.
 
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sk3tch

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SLI on a single card is slightly different than SLI with two separate cards. Space.. less heat shared between the gpus for one... Microstutter more likely to happen on a double GPU board than SLI with two separate boards. ATI has avoided some of this with excellent hardware. Too bad the drivers always fall short.

It's actually the opposite - less micro stutter on a dual GPU card than two separate cards. It's minimal. But it's there. More bandwidth between two GPUs on a card versus two separate cards.
 
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schoenda

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It's actually the opposite - less micro stutter on a dual GPU card than two separate cards. It's minimal. But it's there. More bandwidth between two GPUs on a card versus two separate cards.

Is the bandwidth issue relevant? I never knew the issue was bandwidth between the two cards, I assumed it was bandwidth between the card(s) and the rest of the system...maybe both? Sorry, don't know much about whats INSIDE the "black box". (Presumably gnomes.) I would love to know though since it came up.
 

RadXge

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I would like to see numbers backing that the 690 has materially less micro stuttering than a GTX 680 SLI.
My understanding is that micro stuttering results from the alternate frame rendering configuration that is used in SLI configuration (including the 690).
 

sk3tch

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The previous page has a link (German website). It's negligible, I'm sure...and micro-stutter is largely based on personal experience.

Bandwidth may not be the right term - perhaps "less latency" due to the mGPU on a card configuration versus two separate cards.

I haven't had my 690 for long. But it isn't like I can tell a huge difference at all. I am only saying that, if anything, it'd be smoother on 690 versus 680 SLI. Even if by a small amount.
 

RadXge

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So, assuming that the 690 has negligibly less micro stutter, it is still more expensive and slower (lower clocks) than a 680 SLI setup.
 

xoleras

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Oh jesus christ, unless your motherboard is really terrible with x4 SLI - the 690 is NOT smoother than 680 sli - I have used both.. In fact, the 690 is more prone to thermal and temp throttling which will inherently make it consistently worse in terms of smoothness. The temps in a cosmos 2 case (which is one of the best cases on the market ) nearly always hit 80c+ with vsync turned off at 100% GPU load. That means it always throttles.

Let's make one thing clear: The 690 will do fantastic in 3 minute benchmark runs. However, beyond that if you are at 100% gpu load you will always run into throttle issues because the card does get hot even with manual fan. That makes the 690 worse than 680 sli in every way except space and possibly noise. Do a search for the throttle mechanisms on the 690.
Lets review:

The 690 has a PLX chip on it to enable SLI. Motherboards use the CPU pci express lanes for PCI express. The CPU, in fact, has less latency and is faster than the PLX chip used on the GTX 690. It does nothing different than having 2 GTX 680s in different pci express slots, assuming your motherboard allows for full pci-e 3.0 x8 with direct CPU lanes. This combined with the fact that the 690 is more susceptible to kepler throttle makes any claim of "less microstutter" hilarious - anyone saying that is absolutely, positively full of shit. I look forward to the day when objective data can be provided to prove any such microstutter claims - I know in my experience that the 690 was definitely LESS smooth than 680 sli, very easily noticeable. The day when objective tests can prove any nebulous claims of microstutter will be good indeed to show that some people are so full of shit with such claims, probably living in a freakin' fantasy land and seeing what they want to see. I know some reviewers that this could easily apply to (cough)
 
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sk3tch

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The hate is strong in you, xoleras. :) I get it and respect your opinion and experience. However, I'm just not seeing that. Does that mean I'd say get a GTX 690 over GTX 680 SLI? No. But it has its advantages for some folks - i.e. those that do not have a mobo to support 4-way SLI and want to take advantage of SLI today and perhaps do quad-SLI in the future.

The throttling issue is there and certainly it is more likely to affect the GTX 690 but this is something people should recognize when coming to the table with two GPUs on one card versus two separate ones. You just need to plan your airflow as the GTX 690 needs great airflow or water.

The built-in PLX chip on the GTX 690 can (arguably) allow for faster bandwidth/connectivity than some systems running native PCIe 2.0/3.0 via the CPUs lanes. It's built-into the GTX 690 and dedicated for GPU to GPU communication. It doesn't need to use the CPU's PCIe lanes at all - it's native to the card.

Micro-stutter is always going to be a personal issue. I can only tell people to get what they want and try it themselves. If a GTX 690 is really what you want - buy it from a reputable seller that offers a good return policy. Often times people buy things expecting miracles. If you have a case that is littered with cables and covered in dust (aka bad airflow) it is likely you will have poor GTX 690 performance. However, if you plan your build and allow for excellent airflow you will get great performance with a GTX 690. 95% or so of what a GTX 680 SLI can give you.

My recommendations on the previous page stand:

1) GTX 670 SLI: bang/buck
2) MSI Lightning GTX 680 SLI: performance
3) GTX 690: for users with mobo constraints and interest in quad-SLI in the future.
 
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xoleras

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Sorry sketch, it wasn't directed to you at all. If it sounded that way, my bad. I'm just annoyed by all of the ridiculous microstutter talk when i've used the various products in question and personally I find it highly ridiculous. The reviewer that seems to talk about it a lot, I find it completely hilarious. I used a 690 for a couple of months, and honestly while its a good card - it runs into throttle territory a LOT. So seeing people state that "690 is smoother" No. Just no. I've used both, not a fucking chance. The kepler throttle simply makes it worse in terms of smoothness in every possible scenario compared to 670 sli or 680 sli, always. Yes, the 690 gets hot, yes it goes past 80C a lot even in great air cooled cases. I'm sure you know what i'm speaking of since you also own kepler cards.

Also, as I mentioned -there is nothing different in terms of SLI bandwidth between 680 sli and the 690. The PLX chip still adds higher latency, thats why motherboards using the PLX chip for quad sli have worse benchmark scores for dual GPU configurations. The CPU lanes are faster.

So basically what i'm saying is, from a performance perspective I feel like the 670 sli or 680 sli would be a way better choice based on my experience. I would not get the 690 unless I really wanted to save a slot -- I ended up selling the one I had. It certainly is not smoother than 680 sli, especially because it throttles a LOT in demanding games when vsync is turned off.
 
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Stoly

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You really can't go wrong either way.

But I guess a 690 gives you a bigger e-penis
 

sk3tch

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Sorry sketch, it wasn't directed to you at all. If it sounded that way, my bad. I'm just annoyed by all of the ridiculous microstutter talk when i've used the various products in question and personally I find it highly ridiculous. The reviewer that seems to talk about it a lot, I find it completely hilarious. I used a 690 for a couple of months, and honestly while its a good card - it runs into throttle territory a LOT. So seeing people state that "690 is smoother" No. Just no. I've used both, not a fucking chance. The kepler throttle simply makes it worse in terms of smoothness in every possible scenario compared to 670 sli or 680 sli, always. Yes, the 690 gets hot, yes it goes past 80C a lot even in great air cooled cases. I'm sure you know what i'm speaking of since you also own kepler cards.

Also, as I mentioned -there is nothing different in terms of SLI bandwidth between 680 sli and the 690. The PLX chip still adds higher latency, thats why motherboards using the PLX chip for quad sli have worse benchmark scores for dual GPU configurations. The CPU lanes are faster.

I think you're confusing the PLX chip on motherboards with the one that is on the GTX 690. Motherboards actually split the CPU PCIe lanes due to the PLX to provide the illusion of faster PCIe 3.0. However, the GTX 690 has two GPUs in it communicating to eachother only via PLX. The only communication the card has to the motherboard/CPU is via the PCIe slot you installed your GTX 690. Therefore, my hypothesis is that the GTX 690 would be less prone to microstutter.

I don't understand the throttling issues you experienced. I guess it may be related to your system. My GTX 690, so far, boosts to 1150 MHz with a healthy GPU clock OC and memory OC. It's killer. Performance in imperceptible between my GTX 690 and MSI Lightnings...other than the obvious benefit in the Lightnings faster clocks/headroom.
 
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I'd listen to xoleras, the man speaks sense, and is probably correct about the increased latency caused by the PLX bridge.

SLI is performed on the video card via the means of a PLX bridge chip that provides independent PCI Express 3.0 x16 access to both GPUs.

Source: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/05/03/nvidia_geforce_gtx_690_dual_gpu_video_card_review/


I don't think mother boards have 32x PCI express slots to feed both kelpers on the 690 with completely independant non-blocking bus access. So archetecture wise, 2 independant 680s in independant slots, each with their own indpendant 16x lane PCI express bus access is going to be faster, than trying to Y split 1 slot's worth 16x lanes to feed the 2 GPUs on the 690.
 
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sk3tch

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I'd listen to xoleras, the man speaks sense, and is probably correct about the increased latency caused by the PLX bridge.



Source: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/05/03/nvidia_geforce_gtx_690_dual_gpu_video_card_review/


I don't think mother boards have 32x PCI express slots to feed both kelpers on the 690 with completely independant non-blocking bus access. So archetecture wise, 2 independant 680s in independant slots, each with their own indpendant 16x lane PCI express bus access is going to be faster, than trying to Y split 1 slot's worth 16x lanes to feed the 2 GPUs on the 690.

Latency:
http://techreport.com/review/22890/nvidia-geforce-gtx-690-graphics-card/5

Minor favor goes to the 690. That's all I was saying - MINOR. Very, very small. That's it. Why would there be latency? It's GPU to GPU within the exact same solution with it's own PLX between them - then communication out of the entire solution via PCIe.

The only argument left is feel. xoleras feels the 690 was worse than 680 SLI. I do not. That's just opinion. That's cool.
 
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DDuckMan

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If you are planning to run 3+ monitors then SLI 4GB cards would be the way to go. Otherwise I'd get the 690. I don't have GTX680 experience, but I just remove a pair of GTX580s to swap in a 690 (on water). There may be slight measurable performance differences between 680 SLI and a 690, but they are close enough that they won't be tangable in most rigs. However, a 690 uses significantly less power and space, it leaves you more upgrade options, and it generates less heat and noise. Those may not be very compelling reasons to some, but a noisy hot rig gets old fast.
 

fl0w3n

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I would personally vote for 2x680 because it looks badass to see two beast cards in SLI :p
 

CthulhuDreams

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Im currently using 680 SLI. Problems you may face are crashing during BF3 and it run louder than 690. Im currently using dual 680 Lightning which comes with pretty good cooler, so heat is least of my concern.

aesthetically wise, i find 2 cards look better than 1.
 

-Dragon-

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I got a 690 because my crap MB only has 2 16x slots and 3 1x slot and my network card needs a 4x so I only effectively have one 16x slot since I'd rather deal with a slightly slower 690 and a real dual port intel NIC than a slightly faster 680 sli set and a craptastic integrated realtek NIC. The 690 also gets style points for the whole metal cooler shroud thing and being almost as good as 2 of the top cards at the time while being even more power efficient and as noted less noise.

SLI'd 680's give you more performance with better OC and memory options, and while they technically have more power and noise, it's not like 480 power/noise, just a few more W and dB.

So pick which category you fall under and buy that card or cards.
 

mlambert890

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Both are great setups, but I really don't see how any conclusions can be drawn around the 690 being somehow more efficient from a latency perspective.

Certain communication in SLI goes via the the SLI bridge and the bulk of the data moves via the PCI-E bus. In PCI-E 3 an x16 slot is giving you 16GB/s of bandwidth so that is more than enough to feed two GPUs on one card IMO. I'd call PCI-E bandwidth equal.

Access to that bandwidth, however, is multiplexed on the dual GPU cards via the PLX chip. I can see how it could be argued that this is *latency neutral* (maybe), but *lower* latency? No way. It doesnt make engineering sense.

In both cases each GPU needs to pull massive amounts of texture data from main RAM via PCI-E. In the 2 x 680 scenario each has its own lanes to pull through. In the dual GPU card scenario the PLX has to pull some sleight of hand to allow both GPUs to share those lanes. Since there is bandwidth to spare, this isnt a problem, but it certainly isn't an *advantage*. That's why the 2 x GTXx80 *always* comes out a touch quicker than the single card dual GPU solution. It has been that way since the days of the GTX280.

As a general rule, two ICs with multiplexed access to one bus is never going to provide *lower latency* than each IC having it's own dedicated path to that bus assuming the bus can efficiently scale. Both X58 and X79 provide plenty of lanes so PCI-E scales just fine. Multiplexing access is a *disadvantage* in this case, albeit a minor one (which is why ATI and NVidia are able to make the dual GPU cards)
 
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metallicaband

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I could be wrong, but I remember reading something about how the 690 has a built in feature that will make SLI run smoother so you'd get less micro stutter (it's a hardware thing IIRC), if that's the case then DEFINITELY get the 690, it also runs cooler/lower power consumption and allows for more space and even quad SLI option in the future.
 
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