The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 got off to a good start with a decent showing in Futuremark's 3DMark 11 benchmark, which uses various DX11 functions like tessellation and DirectCompute to put the cards through their paces.
While the GTX 690 wasn't quite as good as our GTX 680 2-way SLI setup, falling behind by about 4% on the Performance preset and 5.5% on the Extreme preset, it was far and away the second best choice holding a 10% lead on our AMD Radeon HD 7970 2-way CrossFire setup and absolutely destroying NVIDIA's previous generation dual-GPU GTX 590 with a massive 76% lead.
In the tessellation heavy Unigine 2.1 Heaven benchmark, at 1920 x 1200 pixels resolution, we saw a similar result to our 3DMark11 scores with the GTX 690 falling between the higher GTX 680 2-way SLI and lower HD 7970 2-way CrossFireX. At higher resolutions and with 8xAA, the GTX 690 scaled together with the 680 2-way SLI, always trailing it by about 4-5%.
It's worth mentioning that at a resolution of 2560 x 1600 with 8x AA, neither NVIDIA setups were able to keep up with the Radeon HD 7970 2-way CrossFireX. The GTX 690 fell behind by as much as 16.5% at the most taxing test setting.
This isn't entirely surprising as we have seen in our previous reviews that the Radeon HD 7970 really starts to shine on higher, more demanding settings and tests.