NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 3GB Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: March 23, 2011
Product Name: GeForce GTX 590
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So there you have it; NVIDIA has finally released their almost mythical dual Fermi card, and contrary to all the worries than have been floating around it exceeded our expectations in most respects. In many ways the GTX 590 has truly set a new high water mark not by soundly beating the competition in a framerate war but by redefining the market’s preconceptions of dual GPU solutions.

The GTX 590’s real accomplishment is the feeling of refinement that it exudes. Unlike the HD 6990, its VRMs don’t squeal like a scared piglet and fan noise is kept to an absolute minimum. The fact that its svelte 11” length will fit into a wide variety of cases should also make it in vastly more appealing than the behemoth AMD is currently saddled with.

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Refinement is always welcome but the bread and butter of any $700 graphics card is performance. In this respect, the GTX 590 puts up some great numbers but ultimately falls short of dethroning AMD’s HD6990 in convincing fashion. The two dual GPU cards trade blows from one game and resolution to the next which means the HD 6990 no longer boasts the title of “fastest graphics card in the world” but neither does the GTX 590. The end result between these two cards on the performance front is just too close to call.

When pitted against the available high end SLI solutions, the GTX 590 tends to flip flop between impressive and underwhelming since both its memory and core speeds have been pared down. The higher amount of texture memory does allow it to easily muscle past the GTX 570 SLI solution in bandwidth limited situations (particularly in the minimum framerate department) but the two individual cards were still able to come out on top in most games. It should be mentioned that a single card which can run three monitors and still perform up to expectations with 3D Vision enabled is definitely a welcome addition to NVIDIA’s lineup.

Within our review of the HD 6990 we mentioned that a strong driver stack is a must for any dual GPU product. Without quick SLI support for new games, the GTX 590 will be dead in the water. A good example of this was the GTX 590’s performance in Just Cause 2 where framerates took an unexpectedly plunge at higher resolutions with AA enabled. This in effect had a profound impact upon the 2560 x 1600 / 8x AA results we have above. Hopefully a situation like this is the exception rather than an omen of things to come.

The GTX 590 is a card that’s full of surprises. It may not decisively beat the HD 6990 but it’s quite obvious that NVIDIA has raised the bar for dual core graphics cards by lessening the perceived shortcomings. Their solution is quiet, runs cool, doesn’t consume as much power as many were predicting and is immensely powerful while boasting one of the most complete feature sets currently available. A price which puts it on level footing with Antilles is just icing on the cake. The GTX 590’s inability to blow the HD 6990 out of the water on the performance front may disappoint some but when looked at as a complete package, we couldn’t have asked for more.


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