What's better than a brand new GeForce GTX 680 (opens in new tab) with which to upgrade your PC on a fine and sunny spring morning? Try two GeForce GTX 680s lashed together on one card. That's what NVIDIA (opens in new tab) has built: they announced a twin chip monstrosity called the GeForce GTX 690 yesterday.
The GTX 690 be on sale by Thursday, apparently, although the lack of online reviews and apparent paucity of sample availability suggests that if you do want to buy one, there may be a bit of a queue.
Or will there?
This crazy conjoined card isn't a new idea, of course. Both AMD and NVIDIA have long used their Crossfire/SLI dual board technology tech to build Frankengraphics for those with much more money than sense. And some people even buy them.
The GTX 690 has two of NVIDIA's GK104 processors on board, each with 1536 unified CUDA cores and 2GB of GDDR5 memory. They're clocked slightly slower than the stock GTX 680, with a base speed of 915MHz compared to 1006MHz for the single card.
Given that GTX 680 scales well with SLI, often getting close to double the framerates of a single card at high resolutions, performance is likely to be rather impressive.
But at an asking price of $1000, you'll need a pretty specific reason to get one. A professional F1 simulator maybe?
As intriguing as it is, it won't be on my shopping list for two reasons. I'm not a huge fan of either Crossfire or SLI, for a start. I hear people tell me that both systems are much better than they used to be, but neither the performance, stability or maths have ever convinced me they're a good investment.
Mainly, though, it's about the price. I like the GeForce GTX 680 a lot, but it's already so powerful that I struggle to recommend it to anyone using less than three monitors. I can't think of many set-ups where having two isn't overkill.
As ever, I'm happy to be proved wrong as soon as someone sends me one of these beasts to test. In the meantime, the /much/ more interesting news is that sources tell me the announcement of the GeForce GTX 670 is imminent – possibly within the next few days.
As far as price versus performance goes, that should be a far more tempting upgrade to buy.