At Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain 2012 (D.I.C.E 2012) Tim Sweeney gave an interesting presentation about the future of graphics in video games. Tim is the founder of Epic games by the way. One of the most interesting statements that he made is that for computer graphics to reach a 'good enough" approximation of our reality it will take graphics hardware that can perform 5,000 trillion floating operations per second or 5,000 terraFLOPs. To put that into perspective, the HD 7970 can perform 3.788 terraFLOPs and if the leaked GTX 690 specs are true, it will be able to perform 6.144 terraFLOPs.
So a graphics card will have to be over 800 times more powerful than the GTX 690 to be able to perform 5,000 terraFLOPs. How long do you think it will be until that happens?