Recently, NVIDIA introduced its current king of the hill product in the form of two GK104 GPUs placed on the same board and called the part GeForce GTX 690. In the next couple of days, we will see the launch of GTX 670. We'll dig a bit deeper and see the consequences of recent strategy moves.
When the company received first GK100, GK104 and GK107 dies, the performance of GK104 shocked the company executives. Our sources were telling us that there was a genuine surprise from CEO to PR
/Marketing/Sales teams, since GeForce GTX 660 part was outperforming GTX 580 by a significant margin. The decision was made to rebrand the part into GTX 660 and 670 Ti, with GK100 taking the role of head honcho. Then, AMD came out with Radeon HD 7970, the very first part based on its Southern Islands architecture. The performance unveiled was the reason why the author of these lines got multiple calls from NVIDIA insiders asking "Does AMD have hidden cores in the die? What did they disable?" However, with Southern Islands being AMD's first compute intensive part (just like G80/Tesla and GF100/Fermi were compute milestones for NVIDIA), the company had to sacrifice some efficiency/performance for their first true GPU compute architecture.
The decision to rebrand GK107 into GTX 680/690 was made. Furthermore, the company decided to further increase the performance of the high-end die, giving birth to GK110. GK110 will debut in just three days, but this is the part that targets the HPC i.e. GPGPU community. We were told that the number of pre-orders for Kepler-based Tesla cards (Tesla 3000 Series) should exceed the overall number of Teslas shipped so far (over 150,000 units sold).