|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 Temperatures
Benchmark tests are always nice, so long as you care about comparing one product to another. But when you're an overclocker, gamer, or merely a PC hardware enthusiast who likes to tweak things on occasion, there's no substitute for good information. Benchmark Reviews has a very popular guide written on Overclocking Video Cards, which gives detailed instruction on how to tweak a graphics cards for better performance. Of course, not every video card has overclocking head room. Some products run so hot that they can't suffer any higher temperatures than they already do. This is why we measure the operating temperature of the video card products we test.
To begin my testing, I use GPU-Z to measure the temperature at idle as reported by the GPU. Next, I then used a modified version of FurMark's "Torture Test" to generate the maximum thermal load. This allows us to record absolute maximum GPU temperatures at high-power 3D mode. The ambient room temperature remained at a stable 20°C throughout testing. FurMark does two things extremely well: drives the thermal output of any graphics processor much higher than any video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. Furmark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. The temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and may not represent real-world temperatures created by the average video game:
Furmark Temperature Chart (click for larger image)
NVIDIA surprised us with how cool and quite their GeForce GTX 580 operated under full load, especially considering that this is their flagship model. AMD's Radeon HD 6970 ran a bit warmer, but still kept fan noise to a moderate level. When Benchmark Reviews tested the Radeon HD 6990 last week, it was disappointing to have their premium-level graphics product produce the loudest noise levels we've experienced in quite a while. So then, it's refreshing to see how well Gemini handles temperatures on the GeForce GTX 590. Obviously the speed reduction from 772 MHz down to 608 MHz on each GPU made a significant difference to the thermal output, thus reducing dependency on a high-RPM fan.
Since each GF110 GPU received the same vapor chamber heatsink as it gets on the GeForce GTX 580, it makes perfect sense to see manageable temperatures. There is an aluminum baseplate secured to the top of the printed circuit board that helps cool the PCB and its components, and two backplates are mounted at the bottom of the board to passively cool the graphics memory. As an added result of NVIDIA's optional hardware power monitoring circuitry, temperatures on this dual-GPU video card are actually closer to those we've seen from single-GPU units. Measured with a constant 20°C ambient room temperature, idle temperatures were a cool 33°C. After ten minutes of torture testing with a modified version of Furmark, loaded temperatures were a modestly warm 77°C with only slightly audible cooling fan noise - certainly a level the competition should take notice of.