Time for some benchmarks of the new GTX 590 dual-GPU video card, as promised I did some quick testing to compare the GTX 590 versus two GTX 580 in SLI. Below you will find the results and I can say that they are quite interesting, considering the fact that the GTX 590 uses pretty much two GTX 580 GPUs, but running at lower operating frequency and video memory also running at slower speed. Of course I did try some overclocking of the GTX 590 and thus found some interesting things while trying to run both GPUs it at the default operating frequencies of a GTX 580, but more on that after the benchmark results.
I’m starting with 3DMark 2006 and 11, two popular synthetic benchmarks. The surprise here is that in 3DMark 2006 the GTX 590 is a bit faster than dual GTX 580s in SLI, but that test runs at lower resolution and is not as much as GPU dependent as it is with the CPU nowadays. The latest 3DMark 11 in Extreme mode shows significant difference in performance, however in actual games there isn’t such a big difference visible.
Moving to actual games in 2D mode (plain 3D mode), 1080p resolution, max details and with AA in some games, the average difference in performance in the tested games is about 10% in favor of the dual GTX 580 SLI configuration, although in some games the difference can be lower or higher. Do not be alarmed by the low framerate of the game Just Cause 2, it is to be expected considering the fact that the game does not utilize more than one GPU, so it does not do very well in SLI testing and it is just there for comparison.
Moving to testing the games in stereo 3D mode, again 1080p resolution, max details and with AA in some games, but have in mind that the framerates in the table with results here are per eye. The average difference here is even lower with about 5.7%, but this is due to the fact that you get vsync active when in stereo 3D mode and the maximum framerate is capped at 60 fps per eye or 120 in total.
So in the end things don’t look that bad for the GTX 590 when compared to a dual GTX 580s in SLI, on the contrary the difference is even less than what I’ve expected, so I can say I’m pleasantly surprised. And when you add in the fact that the GTX 590 runs cool and quiet under load, doesn’t consume that much power, performance wise is not much slower than two GTX 580s in SLI and at the same time is more attractive in terms of price as compared to getting two 580s… things are looking quite good for the new dual-GPU card. You can easily add a second GTX 590 at a later time if your hardware supports it, whereas the hardware that supports three or four independent video cards running in SLI isn’t that much, not to mention the increased power and cooling needs that 3-4 video cards also bring and last, but not least the need of a good and bigger case. As the same time the motherboards that support two video cards in SLI are much more and with two GTX 590s in a Quad SLI setup you may be able to get a very nice scalability in the video performance, if the video drivers are well optimized to do that. Getting a single GTX 590 video card also gives you the option to make a 3D Vision Surround setup with 3 3D monitors, so I’ll try to get three 3D monitors to do some 3D Vision Surround benchmarks with the GTX 590 for next week…
And now a bit about overclocking, I did try to bring the operating frequencies of the GTX 590 to the same level as the ones that GTX 580 uses and that is possible with the latest beta 1 of Afterburner 2.2.0. However it appears at these frequencies the GTX 590 is easily hitting the TDP of 365W under load as it is almost like having two GTX 580 on a single PCB and the Power Limiter kicks in. The result from that is that the performance increase is not as high as expected and certainly not as high as two GTX 580 cards in SLI, but if we also get an option to disable the power limiter as we can on the GTX 580s, the GTX 590 may reach the same performance level as two GTX 580s in SLI after some overclocking of course. And just to be sure getting water cooling for the card is recommended as well as at least a good 1000W PSU is a must if you decide to overclock seriously the GTX 590 with the power limiter disabled.
Today Nvidia has announced their new GeForce GTX 590 solution that comes in the form of a quite powerful dual-GPU video card. The GTX 590 pretty much has two GTX 580 class graphic processors on a single board, with the full 512 CUDA cores per GPU, but with operating frequencies and voltages that are lower compared to the GTX 580. The result is a powerful single video card that features two GPUs and supports up to four monitors, as well as 3 3D monitors for a 3D Vision Surround setup. The GTX 590 shouldn’t be faster than two GTX 580 cards in SLI, but will be faster than a single GTX 580 and with a price of $699 USD it is quite attractive alternative to either a single GTX 580 or dual GTX 580s for SLI. Below are the full specifications of the new dual-GPU card:
Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 Specifications:
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 590 3GB
Graphics Processing Clusters: 8
Streaming Multiprocessors: 32
CUDA Cores: 1024
Texture Units: 128
ROP Units: 96
Graphics Clock: 607 MHz
Processor Clock (CUDA Cores): 1215 MHz
Memory Clock (Data rate): 3414 MHz
Total Video Memory: 3072MB GDDR5
Memory Interface: 384‐bit
Total Memory Bandwidth: 164 GB/s per GPU
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear): 38.9 GigaTexels/sec per GPU
Fabrication Process: 40 nm
Transistor Count: 6 Billion total
Connectors: 3x Dual‐Link DVI‐I, 1x Mini DisplayPort
Form Factor: Dual Slot
Power Connectors: 2x 8‐pin PCI-E Power
Recommended Power Supply: 700 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP): 365 Watts
Thermal Threshold: 97°C
What is interesting to note is that the GTX 590 is supposed to be working quite silently even under heavy load, thanks to the good cooling solution. It should also offer some overclocking potential, but not as much as a GTX 580 would, and as with the GTX 580s here with the GTX 590 we are also getting a Power Limiter to keep the card in the TDP specs, so that can be a bit of a setback for people wanting to clock the new card. After seeing the GTX 590 announcement I’m pretty sure I won’t be replacing my dual GTX 580 water cooled SLI setup with a single GTX 590, although a Quad-SLI setup with two GTX 590s may sound as a tempting deal for some people. However I’ll be doing a quick comparison how well do the GTX 590 compare to two GTX 580 in SLI in both 2D mode (plain 3D) as well as in a stereo 3D mode in a few games, so expect a separate post about that in a bit. And I’ll also try to get three 3D monitors to do some 3D Vision Surround benchmarks with the GTX 590 for next week…
My bad luck with the hardware has struck me again, although this hasn’t happened for a while now. My second GeForce GTX 580 SLI card started showing artifacts all of a sudden even in 2D mode and it has turned out to be the card that has no warranty that I can use to get it replaced (be careful when getting hardware from abroad). So the last chance was to try to fix things with the help of an Infrared Heating Rework Station (this has helped bring quite a few cards back from the dead), but again no luck, meaning that the issue was not caused by the GPU or the memory chips not having good contact with the PCB for example as is the usual case after cards being overheated. I didn’t have high hopes for that anyway, since I’m using water cooling and both GTX 580s are kept very cool all the time, but still I had some hope. So thanks to my bad luck I’ll probably be using just a single GTX 580 for a while… and Crysis 2 is just coming, did I say I have really bad luck with hardware in the worst possible times ;)
Not that a single GTX 580 video card is not good for stereo 3D gaming, it is Ok in most of the cases, but you get spoiled when you have two in SLI and are not worried anymore of not hitting 60 fps per eye in stereo 3D mode… unless you try playing Metro 2033 with maximum details settings. I’m wondering when we are going to see a new Dual GPU video card (rumored to be called GTX 590) from Nvidia as AMD is getting active lately about their own such solution – Radeon HD 6990…