Pros: Incredible performance, beautiful design
Cons: Expensive, runs hot, large form factor
I prefer a smaller case but I didn't want to hamstring myself when it came to graphics performance, so I selected the GTX 690 as it would allow me to fit a quad-SLI setup into a mid-tower case. Running on a single card will still easily drive almost any game at the highest settings. The only hiccup that I ran into was Crytek's Crysis 3, which occasionally chugged when utilizing the most intensive antialiasing (8x MSAA). Operation in the SLI configuration easily remedied this problem. SLI operation may not offer a significant performance increase over one card due to poor scaling.
The design of the card itself is elegant, featuring a two-tone black/grey theme. Clear windows on the bottom of the card showcase the dual vapor chambers, which EVGA claims lower load temperatures by up to 4 °C. Green LED illumination of the GeForce GTX logo is a nice touch, but may not match with all color schemes.
All that performance does have a price. A brand new card just eeks into the four-figure range, while a used card will cost slightly more than half of that. Performance-wise, the thermal design power (TDP) for each card is rated at 300 W, so plan on using an 850 - 1,250 W power supply (depending on your configuration). I experienced stuttering, artifacts, and system crashes when operating under insufficient power. For air coolers, plan for a high airflow through your case as the card dumps a significant amount of heat under load. Water coolers should invest in a backplate to safeguard against PCB distortion as VGA blocks for this card typically weigh in the range of 0.5 - 1.0 kg.
Overall, if you're willing to dig into your piggy bank, the GTX 690 offers a fantastic value, especially for those seeking a small form factor.