|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 Gemini Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 24 March 2011|
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GeForce GTX 590 Basic Details
From a distance, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 looks a lot like the GTX 580 or 570. Unless you get close enough to notice the details, they're appear to be about the same size, overall. The outer dimensions for the GeForce GTX 590 give this 1.5" tall double-bay, 3.9" wide, 11.0" long graphics card a similar profile, but it's actually slightly longer than the GTX 580 (10.5") and much shorter than a Radeon HD 6990 (12.0" long). NVIDIA's add-in card partners may incorporate their own cooling solution on the GTX 590, but most brands have adopted the reference design dressed with decals.
A center-mounted 80mm fan uses a deep-chamfered depression to draw cool air into the angled fan shroud, best illustrated in the image below. The GeForce GTX 590 keeps fresh air moving into the unit, which passes through heatsinks located at opposite ends. This design, paired with a fan that extends out slightly beyond the surface of the shroud, allows more air to reach the intake whenever two or more video cards are combined in close-proximity SLI configurations. In terms of that SLI configurations, the GeForce GTX 590 supports a dual-card quad-SLI set; triple-card hexa-SLI capability is not possible.
If you consider that the GeForce GTX 580 requires a 6-pin and 8-pin power connection to maintain 244W TDP, it seems incredible that NVIDIA could fit two of these processors onto one PCB and make them functional with two eight-pin PCI-E power connections for 365W TDP. Similar to the GTX 480 shroud design, the GeForce GTX 590 shares identical vents near the header panel near the SLI tab. Despite the lower operating temperatures, special consideration for heat must be given to overclocked computers systems since multiple GPU's inside the computer case will further extend the CPU's heat range.
The reference design offers three simultaneously functional dual-link DVI (DL-DVI) connections and a mini-DisplayPort output on the GeForce GTX 590. Add-in partners may elect to remove or possibly further extend any of these video interfaces, but most will likely retain the original engineering. Since three dual-link DVI digital outputs are included on the GTX 590, only one of these video cards is necessary to drive triple-display NVIDIA 3D-Vision Surround functionality. All of these video interfaces consume exhaust-vent real estate, so most of the heated air will be expelled back into the computer case.
NVIDIA designed the GeForce GTX 590 for 365 watts Thermal Design Power (TDP), and suggests at least a 700W power supply unit. It would be ideal for system builders to use a PSU with two 8-pin PCI-E power connections, rather than potentially overloading another rail by using an adapter. Powering the twin GF110 GPUs is a 10-phase advanced digital power controller with over-volting capability, while two dual-phase controllers provide power for the circuit board's GDDR5 memories. We examine power consumption later on in this article, using 3DMark11 to represent real-world loads.
On the backside of the GeForce GTX 590 video card are two aluminum plates fastened securely to the PCB. These backplates act as heatsinks to aid in cooling the GDDR5 memory mounted on both sides of the PCB, and also help reduce temperatures for the GF110 GPUs located at each end of the video card.
In our next section, we disassemble the GeForce GTX 590 and inspect the component technology that NVIDIA used to build Gemini...