As complete as our Double-Stuff Workstation is, we still have other ideas for how to fill it out.
|Graphics||Zotac GeForce GTX 680 AMP!||$549.99|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 690||$999.99|
|FireWire card||Rosewill RC-504||$24.99|
We have two alternative propositions for the Double-Stuff's graphics. The first one is the GeForce GTX 680, or more specifically, Zotac's GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition. This card clocks both its GPU and memory well above stock specs (1098MHz and 1652MHz, respectively, up from 1006MHz and 1500MHz). While it may not be as quick as our Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, the AMP is still faster than most GTX 680s. It also features an impressive triple-slot cooler with dual fans and copper heatpipes up the wazoo. We were impressed with this card when we tested it back in May.
For folks who want it all, it doesn't get much better than Nvidia's GeForce GTX 690. You might stifle a laugh at the $999.99 asking price, but don't be so quick to judge. The GTX 690 actually hides two GK104 GPUs under its cooler, so it's equivalent to a pair of GeForce GTX 680 cards running in tandem—and as it happens, two of those cards would cost the exact same amount. Unlike such a dual-card config, though, the GTX 690 takes up only two expansion slots, and it's tuned for lower noise and power consumption. In our testing, the 690 consumed 50W less and had a noise level 3 dB lower than dual 680s, despite offering virtually identical performance.
As we noted earlier, our selected motherboard doesn't have FireWire connectivity. If you need FireWire for whatever reason, simply pop Rosewill's RC-504 adapter into a free PCI Express slot. The card is only $20, and the circuit board is small enough not to obscure airflow.