Nvidia's GeForce 2MX series was the first to support two displays over a decade ago. You had to do some complex setting-up, though, and you could only normally connect a TV-set with S-Video interface as a second display. Starting from the GeForce 4 series, the support for dual-monitor configurations has been a standard feature. Unfortunately, Nvidia was slow to progress further despite the growing popularity of multi-monitor setups. For example, TV-sets with HDMI interfaces are often connected to computers as monitors. So now Nvidia wants to catch up with the current trends by supporting up to four displays in the Kepler architecture. The GeForce GTX 680 comes with four interfaces by default: two dual-link DVIs, one HDMI and one DisplayPort.
A gamer may want to connect up to three monitors to get a panoramic picture in games and use a fourth monitor for something else.
Nvidia has also done some software optimizations for multi-monitor configurations targeted at both gamers and Windows application users.
There are changes in terms of power saving, too. Older graphics cards, when connected to two monitors, could not switch to the power-saving mode and worked at their Low 3D frequencies instead, which led to higher power consumption and temperature in idle mode.
The new graphics card has fewer limitations in this respect. It can now switch to power-saving mode even with four monitors attached if all of them use the same display resolution. But if there is at least one monitor whose resolution differs from the others', the graphics card will use the Low 3D frequencies instead.
Yet another interesting feature of GK104/Kepler chip is integrated hardware video encoder known as NVENC. It can encode 1080p video in the H.264 format’s Base, Main and High 4.1 profiles in hardware, provided that the software supports it. Nvidia claims that in terms of speed Envencs's performance is higher than that of software solutions that utilize the GPU’s CUDA cores for video encoding. This technology seems to be targeted at notebook users who need to edit or broadcast HD video captured from camera, which means it is heavely software dependent..
Winding up the theoretical part of our review, we have to confess that the Kepler architecture looks truly impressive even on cursory inspection. It brings about a lot of diverse improvements over the previous architecture, so Nvidia can make its new product interesting to different categories of users. The new antialiasing and adaptive vertical sync algorithms help get smoother and better-looking visuals in video games. The support for up to four monitors can be interesting for gamers as well as professionals. The hardware video decoder and low power consumption are the winning points in a notebook user’s eyes. And, finally, its highest-ever performance is just what computer enthusiasts want. Let’s now check out these claims practice.