Depending on which month you check the frame-rate performances, you'll find a different manufacturer of the fastest graphics processing unit (GPU) on the market: Hardcore gamers and other graphic-oriented computer-users know that Nvidia and AMD consistently trade spots as first and second top-of-the-line GPU-makers.

With its latest release, Nvidia has topped AMD once again. The new Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 has bested the AMD Radeon HD 7970 in several categories, including raw power and energy-efficiency.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 is said to beat AMD's Radeon GPU by performing more than 300 percent faster in DirectX tessellation performance. It's also twice the performance per watt of the GeForce GTX 580, Nvidia's Fermi-based processor it replaces.

Nvidia's new GPU will be the first of its kind to be based off of the next-generation Kepler graphics architecture, which the company says will provide high-performance graphics in a more energy-efficient manner. Reducing power consumption is the crux of many of the new technologies introduced by the new graphics architecture.

The GeForce GTX 680 will introduce a new streaming multiprocessor block known as SMX that delivers twice the performance-per-watt than Fermi-based processors did; it also includes acoustic dampeners and high-efficiency heat pipes to keep the processor as quiet as possible while running performance-demanding functions; Nvidia GPU Boost technology allows the processor to automatically overclock when necessary; the new chip also supports up to four separate displays, three of which can be in 3D.

GPU Boost doesn't take away from overclocking, says a post on the official GeForce blog. In fact, with GPU Boost, you now have more than one way to overclock your GPU. You can still increase the base clock just like before and the boost clock will increase correspondingly. Alternatively, you can increase the power target. This is most useful for games that are consuming near 100% of this power target.

Brian Kelleher, senior vice president of GPU engineering at NVIDIA, touted the latest archicture of its popular GPUs. The Kepler architecture stands as NVIDIA's greatest technical achievement to date, he said. It brings enormous performance and exceptional efficiency. Gamers will love the GTX 680's performance, as well as the fact that it doesn't require loud fans or exotic power supplies. Ultrabook users will love the GT 600M family for its performance and power efficiency.

Kelt Reeves, president of Falcon Northwest, a high-end PC-maker, agreed. The GTX 680 lays down what should be whiplash-inducing speed at the sound of a whisper, he said. Even at full throttle, it doesn't heat up. In the immortal words of Obi-Wan describing a lightsaber, it's 'an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.'

PC Magazine reporter Eric Grevstad points out in his assessment of the new GPU that manufacturers are placing a greater emphasis on quieter, cooler, more energy-efficient products. He says, Performance per watt is the new performance.