NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 3GB Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: March 23, 2011
Product Name: GeForce GTX 590
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Ever since NVIDIA announced the Fermi architecture, there were rumors of a possible dual GPU card somewhere on the horizon but these were quickly squashed amid concerns over power consumption and heat production. Those early Fermi GPUs weren’t exactly prime candidates for use on a card that mirrored the GTX 295's initial dual PCB design and a single PCB setup also brought a number of challenges to the table. While NVIDIA pondered their situation, AMD was able to forge ahead with Hemlock; a card that became known as the HD 5970. Ever since the HD 5970 was introduced, AMD has stubbornly held onto the fastest graphics card in the world crown. That may be about to change though.

NVIDIA has been hard at work refining their Fermi architecture. The result has been a series of products that offer higher performance per watt and almost none of the rampant thermal issues that characterized their predecessors. Through the use of some careful design evolution, the GF100 core has morphed into the successful GF110 and it’s this “new” core that was picked for use in NVIDIA’s reentry into the dual GPU market: the GTX 590

Internally code named Gemini, the GTX 590 blends a pair of fully enabled GF110 cores (each with 512 CUDA cores) with 3GB of GDDR5 to produce what’s billed as the fastest DX11 card on the market. Naturally some sacrifices had to be made in terms of clock speeds – we’ll get into those later - but it makes up for any possible shortcomings with a long list of features. This is NVIDIA’s first official product that supports Surround multi-monitor setups from a single card. Also, the dual GPUs can be set up in such a way that one can process CUDA (PhysX, Folding@Home, transcoding and the like) while the other goes about rendering in-game scenes. In our eyes, the potential here is almost limitless.

Alongside all of the usual marketing points like PhysX and 3D Vision, the GTX 590’s true goal is to compete with AMD’s own Radeon HD 6990. In NVIDIA’s eyes they are doing this on several fronts and not only from a performance perspective either. One of their main intents was to offer a better overall gaming experience by decreasing the acoustical profile and slimming down dimensions. In addition, the decision has been made to offer the GTX 590 at the same price as the HD 6990: $699. If this sounds like a tall order for a dual GPU design, that’s because it is.

The GTX 590 3GB is a card which has been theorized about for the more than a year now so it will be interesting to see whether it lives up to expectations.


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