|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 Gemini Internal Details
On the outside, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590 is merely a brick-shaped video card. On the inside, NVIDIA's codename "Gemini" design grabs your attention. The first thing you'll notice are two self-contained GPU coolers, each utilizing a copper vapor chamber and dual-slot heatsink, with a 80mm fan positioned equidistant between them. Beneath these heatsinks is a 12-layer printed circuit board (PCB) to ensure the highest signal integrity, and to help disperse heat more effectively across the PCB. NVIDIA uses two ounces of copper for each of the GTX 590's power and ground PCB layers, enhancing the circuit board's longevity.
Popular in the world of CPU coolers, NVIDIA has used hollow vapor chamber technology to provide a robust thermal management system on the GeForce GTX 590. This will bring into question the need for add-in card partners to design their own cooling solution, and challenge them to produce better results. Pictured below is one of two heatsink component, with the vapor chamber residing inside the copper portion. The polished copper contact surface mates together with the GF110 GPU, as the fan drives air past the aluminum fins and outside the each end of the fan shroud.
With the heatsinks removed, two GF110 processors are exposed. Packed with 512 CUDA cores each, two independent NVIDIA GF110 GPUs are combined by a NVIDIA NF200-P-SLI-A3 chip to deliver 1024 total cores of graphical processing power at 607 MHz. There are six 64-bit memory controllers that offer 384-bit combined bandwidth per GPU, and feed 3GB of combined GDDR5 video frame buffer. The reference design enabled 1GB of 1000 MHz GDDR5 memory clocked to 835.5 MHz, but could potentially include the use of higher-density DRAM modules in the future. Replacing the Samsung 128MB 1250MHz K4G10325FE-HC04 GDDR5 IC's with 256MB IC parts such as: Samsung 1250MHz K4G20325FC-HC04 GDDR5, or 1500MHz K4G20325FC-HC03 might be possible.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 Exposed PCB (click for larger image)
NVIDIA now dedicates hardware circuitry to the task of monitoring power consumption as well as temperature, adjusting performance to protect the graphics card from damage. Circled below are the electronic components responsible for power management on GeForce GTX 5xx series video cards (GTX 580 pictured). NVIDIA has indicated that this circuitry is optional, and that not all AIC partners will include it on their products. Benchmark Reviews uses 3DMark11 to stress both GPUs and produce maximum power usage measurements, although admittedly not many video games exist that might create comparable average power demands.
To help provide cooling for the PCB and its components, and aluminum baseplate is secured to the top of the board. In addition, two backplates are mounted on the bottom of the board to cool the graphics memory. Combined with a 10-phase digital power controller, the GeForce GTX 590 run exceptionally cool and quiet. NVIDIA adds one final touch the GTX 590: a glowing NVIDIA GeForce logo near the power connections.
In the next section, we detail the various Fermi products and lay out their features and specifications before putting them to test. If you're looking for specific transistor counts or texture unit detail, this is the section...