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New 28nm architecture enables GeForce GTX 680 to be faster, cooler and quieter than AMD's Radeon HD 7970.

Nvidia Kepler retakes graphics crown

Nvidia has formally launched the graphics specialists Kepler architecture with the GeForce GTX 680 re-taking the performance crown from arch rival AMD’s Radeon HD 7970.

Nvidia’s rival AMD has held the single-GPU performance crown with the Radeon HD 7970 for the last three months but the Kepler architecture, utilising TSMC’s cutting-edge 28nm fabrication process, delivers twice the performance-per-watt of Nvidia’s previous Fermi architecture.

Such performance and efficiency gains have sailed past AMD with an extensive set of benchmarks in Anandtech’s review concluding that the GeForce GTX 680 is "Faster, cooler, and quieter than the Radeon HD 7970."

Tech site Anandtech called the Kepler architecture a "technical trifecta" and also noted that the high-end graphics card is priced lower than competing products.

Anandtech also published an email sent by Nvidia chief Jensen Huang to all Nvidia employees congratulating them on the launch.

"Achieving efficient-performance, great performance while consuming the least possible energy, required us to change our entire design approach," Huang noted in the email.

"Close collaboration between architecture-design-VLSI-software-devtech-systems, intense scrutiny on where energy is spent, and inventions at every level were necessary. The results are fantastic as you will see in the reviews."

It seems Huang will not be disappointed given that Anandtech called the battle decisively in favour of Nvidia, noting that the review was the by far the easiest recommendation we’ve been able to make."

Huang also said that the GeForce launch was "just the beginning of Kepler", adding that the firm plans to push the GPU out into datacenters and superphones, presumably by integrating the GPU into forthcoming Tegra system-on-chip designs.

The Kepler architecture also finds its way into a new range of notebook GPUs in the form of the GeForce GT 600 range. With the focus on efficiency, Nvidia aims to deliver high performance gaming in slim and light notebooks such as those fitting Intel’s ultrabook form factor.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 2GB cards have already hit the channel with partner cards from the likes of MSI, Gigabyte and Asus priced at around £439 from online retailers, with many more brands to arrive shortly.

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