Eagle-eyed rumourmongers ChipHell have shown off images of what appears to be an engineering sample of a next-generation desktop NVIDIA Kepler card of unknown SKU. The PCB in question seems to be a reference board with 5+2 power phases and space for one 6-Pin and one 6/8Pin PCIE power connector. The eight DDR chips on the board indicates a 256-bit memory interface with 2GB memory. Using standard reference points, the length of the card has been roughly approximated to 10.5 inches, which is in the same ballpark as the 580/7970 reference design. Similar techniques place the size of the GPU package at approx 340mm^2, a size which would imply a mid-to-high end 28nm GPU i.e. the GK104.
Display connectors are a standard two DVI, one HDMI and one Display Port, which leads to speculation toward capability for triple-monitor and 3D surround gaming in a single GPU solution. Given that the chip doesn't appear to be a monster and is being built on the 28nm process, the half-slot exhaust for air cooling should be enough. Water cooling aficionado's however will be disappointed to see the stacked DVI connectors impeding a single-slot configuration, though the design may change with later board revisions.
A distinct oddity is the choice of PCIE power connector. When more than one connector is required the vast majority of cards typically place them side-by-side; however this sample shows a stacked connector arrangement even though there's clearly room to have one alongside. It's likely that this is only a feature of the test board, and won't make it to the retail version.
Relative performance and release dates are still a subject of substantial conjecture. There are reports of a 'GTX 680' running more than 50% faster than a 580 in synthetic benchmarks, but generally such reports should be taken with a huge pinch of salt. Multiple claims are being made of a previously planned mid-March release being delayed to April due to poor 28nm yields, whilst other experts were already looking at a April release date to coincide with Ivy Bridge shipments. The picture this paints is one of an industry yet to get its Kepler story straight.
It's hoped that more light will be shed on the GK104 in the upcoming weeks at events such as CeBIT, GDC and PAX East.
Source: Chiphell via TechPowerUp; Beyond3d Forums; EXPreview.com