|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 Gemini Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 24 March 2011|
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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 Gemini Review
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by NVIDIA.
Poised to compete against AMD's Radeon HD 6990, NVIDIA launches their own dual-Fermi GF110-based GeForce GTX 590 video card.
March madness indeed. Just last week AMD made news with their dual-Cayman GPU Radeon HD 6990 video card, and days later NVIDIA is returning with their own competitor. Designed around their flagship GeForce GTX 580 video card, they've combined two titanic graphics processors into a package roughly the same size, and still manage to produce the quietest dual-GPU video card ever made. With 512 CUDA cores each, two independent NVIDIA GF110 GPUs join to deliver 1024 total cores of graphical processing power. There are six 64-bit memory controllers that offer 384-bit combined bandwidth per GPU, and feed 3GB of combined GDDR5 video frame buffer. All of this is said to deliver comparable performance to the Radeon HD 6990, which is good for gamers, but it does so while running cooler and emitting less noise.
When it comes to computer hardware there's something for everyone, and this rings especially true for graphics cards. If you're on a tight budget but still like to point and shoot your way through levels, there are plenty of affordable entry-level products that can satisfy your needs. But if you're an enthusiast gamer who demands only the highest level of performance that far surpasses mainstream standards, the graphics industry continues to cherish your business. Fierce competition between NVIDIA and AMD have allowed PC gamers to enjoy the best graphics hardware ever developed for desktop computers. NVIDIA has worked hard to earn their reputation as the industry leader in desktop graphics, and the codename 'Gemini' graphics card is proof to their dedication. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the GeForce GTX 590 against the AMD Radeon HD 6990 and an entire market of top-end desktop graphics solutions.
In what could be hailed as Fermi's final chapter, NVIDIA continues to update their product family by adding the GeForce GTX 590 to the ranks. The GeForce GTX 590 is intended to achieve the best performance possible while remaining power-efficient and quiet during heavy operation. Only 11.0-inches long, the GeForce GTX 590 is capable of installing into standard ATX computer cases where fitting video cards such as the AMD Radeon HD 6990 would be impossible. Additionally, NVIDIA has invested more research into vapor chamber technology, and developed a cooling solution that tames temperatures for two GF110 GPUs using only one fan. This enables hardcore gamers to configure two GTX 590's into quad-SLI, presuming the motherboard and power supply support the requirements. All of this adds up to more potential performance for gamers, and some serious enthusiast credibility for overclockers.
Something happened to the Fermi architecture between the time it premiered as GF100 and when it began to really turn heads as GF104: the ratio of shaders and texture units was perfected. The original GF100 GPU placed too much emphasis on tessellation, and not enough on overall graphical performance. As a result of finding the right balance, the GF104 graphics processor on the GeForce GTX 460 became an overnight sensation for gamers. Now evolved into the GF110 GPU, all 512 cores understand their purpose and propel the GeForce GTX 580 to a level only rivaled by the competition's best and most-expensive dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 graphics card. Trimmed down to a modest 244 watts of power consumption under load, the GTX 580 outperforms its predecessor in both power efficiency graphical performance.
NVIDIA targets the GeForce GTX 590 at premium upper-end segment willing to spend $700 on their discrete graphics, which admittedly includes only the most affluent gamers. To best illustrate GTX 590's performance, we use the most demanding PC video game titles and benchmark software available. Graphical frame rate performance is tested against a large collection of competing desktop products, such as the Radeon HD 6990 and various SLI/CrossFire configurations. Using the DirectX-9 API that is native to Windows XP, we've compared graphics performance using Mafia II. Some older DirectX-10 favorites such as Crysis Warhead and PCMark Vantage are included, as well as newer DirectX-11 titles such as: Aliens vs Predator, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, BattleForge, Lost Planet 2, Metro 2033, Tom Clancy's HAWX2, along with the Unigine Heaven 2.1 and 3dMark11 benchmarks.