Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 review

The top-end Kepler GPU is here for you, Mr Gamer

Nvidia GeForce GTX 680
Slower shaders, lower power, more speed? Really?

TechRadar Verdict

It's not the power-crazed GPU behemoths we're used to from Nvidia, but it's still got the performance chops and some neat extra tricks.


  • +

    Speedy 1GHz+ GPU

  • +

    Relatively low-powered

  • +

    Impressive OC headroom

  • +

    Neat software extras


  • -

    Pricey, pricey, pricey

  • -

    Is it really a top-end GPU?

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It may have been a long while coming but the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 is on the way to balance up the next-generation graphics market.

AMD launched its Radeon HD 7970 in December (well, the cards were nominally available to buy in January actually) so it's a bit of gap that Nvidia has to make up with its latest top-end GPU.

So has it used the intervening time wisely, or has Nvidia missed its chance?

Well, actually this could easily have been one of those simple single sentence reviews.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 is its latest £400-odd, top-of-the-line card and is now the fastest graphics card in the world.

Shut down the PSU, turn off the monitors and sit back with your pipe and slippers knowing that it was an easy job, done adequately.

We all kind of knew that would be the case, after all Nvidia has played the waiting game with AMD, letting the competition draw first and release its entire slew of HD 7000 graphics cards.

That meant Nvidia could see how the competition was performing and ensure its engineers finalised the GTX 680 specs and set the clocks to ensure the requisite 10% performance improvement.

If Nvidia had released the GTX 680 performing generally slower than the AMD Radeon HD 7970 then it would have had to be a hell of a lot cheaper and you can bet AMD's Austin HQ would've started looking like a frat house with non-stop high-fives and fist-bumping.

From this opening you could surmise that, because of the prior expectations we had of it, we were pretty non-plussed about this new card.

As it turns out this Kepler-based Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 is far more than just another big, power-hungry graphics card, relying on pure grunt alone to give it the edge.

This is actually a far more elegant card than people might give it credit for.

You could then say we're rather plussed about it.