Did you know that Nvidia holds a gaming festival in China? Even if you did, you probably ignored its existence until the company started to post cryptic images on their Facebook page. The company was teasing some big announcements to come out of a keynote from Nvidia CEO Jen Hsun-Huang. Long story short: It was an embarrassment of a keynote with nothing really of note and the few games they did show off were old trailers being paraded around as new.
While Nvidia was testing my patience and making me want to defect to AMD for their awful keynote, one announcement at the end did kind of make up for it. The company used the event as an excuse to announce the next video card in the Kepler line: the GTX 690. The card is the true successor to the GTX 590 by including two Kepler GPUs on a single card in a solid aluminum case.
The card itself is really nice looking with a few unnecessary bells and whistles that undoubtedly drive up the price. The GPU in terms of hardware features some new tech including vapor chamber coolers with a fan that promises to remain silent even at 3,000 RPM. The unnecessary part comes by having an illuminated side with LEDs that spell out GeForce GTX 690. The card also makes a loud ping noise when it's properly installed.
All in all, the GTX 690 looks to be a powerful card in the same vein as the GTX 590. The only issue is that supply will probably be limited and only available to those who can afford its massive price tag. Oh, about that price: the card will retail for $999. So have fun saving up your loose change to afford this beast. I think I'll wait for the oft-rumored GTX 670 Ti.
The other actual news from the show was the announcement of the GeForce Experience. Hsun-Huang explained it as a way to make finding the perfect settings easier for PC gamers who don't know their SSAO from their MSAA. They have compiled a list of every game and every possible hardware configuration over the past five years to make the GeForce Experience possible. With this new tool, gamers can connect to the service and Nvidia will match their machine's configuration with the game they're wanting to play. From there, it will assign the most optimal settings to the game. It's great news for the average PC gamer who just bought a laptop or a pre-built to play some PC games. I think the enthusiast PC gamers will stick with manually editing the config files to get the most out of our games.
After its lackluster CES keynote, Nvidia fans should have probably expected disappointment. While the announcement of the GTX 690 was cool, it's impossible to obtain for those of us without six-figure incomes. The GeForce Experience is somewhat disappointing as well for the hardcore PC gamer market who wanted to see something exciting from Nvdia. Oh well, there's always E3 in June so hopefully we'll hear something from there soon.