ZOTAC GTX590 3GB Graphics Card Review

👤by Sahil Mannick Comments 📅13-06-11

Nvidia’s GTX590 boasts not one but two fully fledged GF110 GPUs. The GF110 chip shares a lot of its roots with the GF100 core. It still packs an impressive 3.2 billion transistors in a die seize 520mm squared. Its default internal configuration has been ported from GF100 in that the GPU features 512 CUDA cores or shader processors as we are more accustomed to. There are organised in a 4x16x32 block where 16 denotes the number of stream multi-processors (SM) and 32 being the number of cores on each SM. Each SM has its own L1 Cache and a common L2 Cache is shared by all 16. The GPU is still manufactured on the 40nm process.

In their attempt at claiming the performance crown, the GTX590 sacrifices none of its architectural features. Like the single GPU GTX580, the two GPUs aboard the GTX590 feature all 16 SMs enabled and consequently, all 64 texture units are present, the latter two being intrinsically linked. The number of ROPs on each GPU has remained the same at 48 and the L2 Cache is still 768 KB. In terms of shader and texturing power, having 512 CUDA cores boosts performance by 6.6% over 480 CUDA cores. As with the GTX580, the GF110 core employs the mainstream GF104’s superior texture filtering capabilities. Unlike Nvidia’s previous dual GPU card, the GTX295, the GTX590 does not compromise on the number of memory controllers and the memory interface width. Each GPU has its own set of 6 memory controllers each sporting a 256MB framebuffer to give 1536MB of available memory. Although claimed to be a total of 3GB, the two sets work in parallel rather as one set. Similarly, each has a 384-bit memory interface that has been teamed up with GDDR5 memory.

GTX580: 16 SMs x 32 = 512 Cores, 16 SMs x 4 = 64 texture units
32-bit channel x 12 = 384-bit interface, 256MB x 6 memory controllers = 1536MB memory

GTX590: 16 SMs x 32 x 2 = 512 Cores x 2, 16 SMs x 4 = 64 texture units
32-bit channel x 12 x 2 = 384-bit interface x 2, 256MB x 6 memory controllers x 2 = 1536MB x 2 memory

The performance of the GTX590 is certainly impressive on paper and unmatched by other Nvidia graphics cards. However, despite featuring two fully unlocked GF110 GPUs, the texture and pixel fill rates are only 57% ahead of the GTX580. The same is the case regarding the shader performance. The reason is due to the GPUs on-board coming clocked at 79% of its capability on the GTX580. We have noted in previous reviews that Nvidia GPUs tend to scale very well with increased clock speed and often being very linear when translated to real world performance so a 165MHz reduction in core clock has gone a long way at reducing the GTX590’s potential. This contrasts slightly to AMD’s HD6990 where the reduction in clock speed on both of its GPUs is more restrained. Nvidia have no doubt done this to lower power consumption. The result of the reduced core clocks lowers the potential of each individual GPU to one slightly less powerful than a GTX570. The questions are whether SLI scaling on the GTX590 is enough to justify it over a proper dual card SLI setup and whether its price tag reflects its specifications. At a £570, it commends the same price as two GTX570s so we expect performance to mirror that.

Product Specifications

Graphics Engine: GeForce GTX590
Model: ZOTAC GTX590 3GB ZT-50501-10P
Bus Standard: PCI Express x16 2.0 (Compatible with 1.1)
Memory Size(MB): 3072 (1536 x2) GDDR5
Memory Interface: 2x 384-bit
Core Clock Speed (MHz): 607
Stream Processors: 512 x2
Shader Clock (MHz): 1214
Memory Clock Speed (MHz): 3414

3D API: Direct X 11 & OpenGL 4.1
DVI Output: 2
VGA: Supported using DVI-to-VGA adapter
Display Output (Max Resolution): 2560 x 1600
HDCP Support: Yes
Dual Link DV1: Yes
HDMI Support: Yes
SLI: Yes (2 cards only)
Card Dimension (mm): 279.4 x 111.15mm

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