Firstly, comparing the GTX680 with its forbear, the GTX580 we see that there are some significant changes. Immediately identifiable are the amount of stream processors which have tripled. from 512 to 1536. The ROPs have however dropped 25% but to compensate the core and memory clockspeeds have been massively increased, with the GTX680 being the clocked slightly above the 1GHz mark and the EVGA version clocked higher still at 1085MHz.
The battle everyone wants to see though is the GTX680 vs. HD7970 and comparing the two cards against one another is a good place to start. On paper at least, the GTX680 appears to have the slight upper hand. Sacrificing a gigabyte of GDDR5 and running with the 256-bit interface, the GTX680 cannot hope to compete in total bandwidth available losing out to both the HD7970 and HD7950 by a fair margin despite having a much higher memory overclock. The tables are however turned when we study the texture fillrate where the GTX680 comes out on top.
One area where NVIDIA are shouting from the rooftops is the power consumption area. with a max power draw of 195W compared to 250W of the HD7970, the GTX680 should save a few more yards of the Brazillian rainforests (and of course cut your electricity bill) than the HD7970.
Price wise there is little to choose between them. The GTX680 is a little more expensive yet only because of the recent price drops of the HD7900 series. At launch, the HD7970 was significantly more expensive.
Overall, looking at the specifications you would be forgiven for thinking that Kepler is not the GPU everyone was hoping for. Sure it has faster clockspeeds but how does that transpire to performance when the core hardware (stream processor count, memory size) is not as impressive as AMD's?
While the GTX680 did trade blows with the HD7970 in our comparison review, I concluded that ultimately, the GTX680 was the faster card. We have also reviewed factory overclocked HD7970's which have stolen the performance crown back from NVIDIA but today's sample could well see the crown being restored to its rightful owner, the GTX680.
With EVGA upping the clockspeeds of both the GPU and memory it should go without saying that we have one tasty piece of equipment on our hands.