Ultrabooks & superphones? What’s next for the humble graphics card

The launch of NVIDIA’s GTX 680 was a resounding success, with many online retailers running out of stock on the first day. OverclockersUK managed to run out of stock of the EVGA branded cards in about an hour.

“Nearly one sold every minute“, was the statement made by Gibbo, an admin from their forums. So, what’s next for NVIDIA and the industry?

Al Valentyn takes a look.

The future for Kepler based GPU’s certainly looks bright, as NVIDIA’s CEO, Jensen H Huang mentions in a leaked email, the GPUs will be making their way to other systems. The ones that seem particularly interesting are the super thin notebooks and superphones.

GTX 680

Credit: EVGA

NVIDIA have already done well in mobile technology with their Tegra, and not long ago showed off their Tegra 3 which will be available on the Asus Transformer Prime TF700T, along with other mobile devices such smartphones.

Could we be seeing Tegra 4 showcasing a refined Kepler based GPU? It is certainly a possibility.

Kepler coming to notebooks is also great news, as it would certainly provide a good boost in performance without adding extra heat and power concerns which some high-end notebooks can suffer from.

New Non-Reference Graphics Cards
Not all the news is about Kepler coming to mobile platforms though, as some of NVIDIA’s partners have begun to announce non-reference cards.

EVGA, Gigabyte and ZOTAC have all started talking about new cards.

EVGA on their site has started showing the GTX 680 FTW 4GB card. The card will not only feature double the memory of the stock 680, it will also have an 8+6 Power Design, 8 Phase PWM Design and feature the EVGA backplate which will help dissipate heat from the back of the card along with adding an extra bit of looks.

Gigabyte recently presented their new GTX 680 Galaxy and Hall of Fame cards. Each being built for computer enthusiasts and overclockers, as they will feature enhanced phase and power supplies, custom coolers, and DirectFet (which they claim will offer improved cooling over normal MosFets).

Both EVGA and Gigabytes cards will feature base clocks above that of the standard 680, although EVGA have yet to announce what theirs will be. Gigabyte’s Galaxy card is said to be 10% higher than the reference GTX 680, but will most certainly clock higher thanks to its improved cooler and features.

Zotac themselves have revealed a non-reference card, although they have not taken the cautious route at all. They have announced that they’ll be producing a GeForce GTX 680 with a Core Clock of 2GHz; double that of the reference model.

The card will most certainly require an extremely good cooling and power supply as it took KIngpIn from EVGA LN2 and an EVGA Epower Untouchables board to allow the card to reach 1.9GHz.

One thing is certain though these cards will certainly be powerful and have a hefty price tag attached. Despite this though, the cards will mostly likely be bought by many overclockers and people that just want the extra RAM and performance without having to trouble themselves with overclocking the cards themselves.

And this is just a small sample of where the market is going, there are plenty of non-reference cards to be announced soon.

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Albertus Valentyn
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