NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 Officially Launched (Specifications and Reviews), HD 6990 is still Faster!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590

1 – GTX 590 Overview

NVIDIA has officially launched the GeForce GTX 590, its new dual-GPU card that targets AMD’s Radeon HD 6990.

In short, the GTX 590 is slower than the HD 6990 and is not recommended for overclocking. The price is a bit too high but GTX 590 size and noise are smaller than HD 6990 ones…

The GTX 590 is made up of two GF110 GPUs (GTX 580) but clocked at a lower speed (GTX 590: 607MHZ, GTX 580: 772MHz) in order to keep the power consumption to an acceptable value. And to be sure that nobody will use FurMark to show the real power consumption, NVIDIA has aggressively capped FurMark in the drivers…

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590

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GeForce GTX 590 reference specifications

  • GPU: 2 x GF110 @ 607MHz, 40nm
  • Shader processors: 1024 (2 x 512)
  • Memory: 3072MB (1536MB per GPU) GDDR5 @ 853.5MHz real speed or 3414MHz effective speed, 768-bit (384-bit per GPU)
  • Texture units: 128 (2×64)
  • ROPs: 96 (2×48)
  • TDP: 365W
  • Power connectors: two 8-pin
  • GPU VRM: 10 phases (5 phases per GPU)
  • GPU Memory VRM: 4 phases (2 phases per GPU memory)
  • Price: US $699
  • APIs: OpenGL 4.1, Direct3D 11, OpenCL 1.1, CUDA, PhysX
  • Display connectors: three dual-link DVI-I and one mini DisplayPort
  • GFlops single precision: 2486 (GTX 580: 1581, HD 6990: 5407)


2 – Performances

GeForce GTX 590, 3DMark11 score

GeForce GTX 590, 3DMark11 score

GeForce GTX 590, Unigine Heaven score
Unigine Heaven (1920×1080, 4X MSAA, 16X anisotrpic filtering, Extreme tessellation)

GeForce GTX 590, Metro2033

3 – Power consumption and temperatures

GeForce GTX 590, temperature in idle
GeForce GTX 590, temperature in idle, source

GeForce GTX 590, temperature in load
GeForce GTX 590, temperature in load, source

Two days ago, I attended almost in live at the destruction of a GTX 590 not by FurMark but by one of FurMark’s babies 😉 Then I know why NVIDIA has limited in a so aggressive way the GPU load of FurMark: a non-OC GTX 590 can be damaged by FurMark!

UPDATE: FurMark is not required to burn a GTX 590 😀

And according to hardware.fr, the real power consumption of the GTX 590 under a non-blacklisted version of FurMark is 450W!

And here’s what W1zzard (the author of GPU-Z) says:

As a first step, I increased the voltage from 0.938 V default to 1.000 V, maximum stable clock was 815 MHz – faster than GTX 580! Moving on, I tried 1.2 V to see how much could be gained here, at default clocks and with NVIDIA’s power limiter enabled. I went to heat up the card and then *boom*, a sound like popcorn cracking, the system turned off and a burnt electronics smell started to fill up the room. Card dead! Even with NVIDIA power limiter enabled. Now the pretty looking, backlit GeForce logo was blinking helplessly and the fan did not spin, both indicate an error with the card’s 12V supply.
After talking to several other reviewers, this does not seem to be an isolated case, and many of them have killed their cards with similar testing, which is far from being an extreme test.

I most strongly advise anyone to stay away from overclocking this product and use extremely conservative settings, maybe up to 650 MHz and no voltage adjustments.

According to NVIDIA this should not happen. In their official reviewer driver (which I used), the NVIDIA Power limit is designed to be active for all applications, not only Furmark.

AnandTech has a detailed explanation about the latest tweaks added by NVIDIA to limit the GPU load when FurMark is running:

Starting with the ForceWare 257 series drivers, NVIDIA is now using OCP at all times, meaning OCP now protects against any possible program that would generate an excessive load (as defined by NVIDIA), and not just FurMark and OCCT. At this time there’s definitely still a driver component involved as NVIDIA still throttles FurMark and OCCT right off the bat, but everything else seems to be covered by their generic detection methods.

At this point our biggest complaint is that OCP’s operation is still not transparent to the end user. If you trigger it you have no way of knowing unless you know how the game/application should already be performing. NVIDIA tells us that at some point this will be exposed through NVIDIA’s driver API, but today is not that day. Along those lines, at least in the case of FurMark and OCCT OCP still throttles to an excessive degree – whereas AMD gets this right and caps anything and everything at the PowerTune limit, we still see OCP heavily clamp these programs to the point that our GTX 590 draws 100W more under games than it does under FurMark. Clamping down on a program to bring power consumption down to safe levels is a good idea, but clamping down beyond that just hurts the user and we hope to see NVIDIA change this.

And here is the power consumption test with FurMark (now totally useless!!!)

This is probably the best graph for illustrating just how hard OCP throttles FurMark. Whereas AMD’s PowerTune does a very good job of keeping power consumption near the true power limit on the 6990 (in this case 375W), OCP is far more aggressive. This is why the GTX 590 consumes nearly 100W less, and why FurMark’s status as a worst case scenario test is compromised with overly aggressive OCP. Even the GTX 590 OC with its voltage bump is throttled to the point where it consumes less power than the 6990.

4 – Reviews

9 thoughts on “NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 Officially Launched (Specifications and Reviews), HD 6990 is still Faster!”

  1. Michael Simmons

    >APIs: OpenGL 4.1, Direct3D 11, OpenCL 1.1, CUDA, PhysX

    There is no public OpenCL 1.1 release and I believe the betas drivers don’t work on 5xx series.

  2. NiL

    noob, where is mafia II/lost planet 2/crysis 2/call of duty black ops/dirt 2…………u guys didnt mention those games…casue GTX 590 is way fast in those games….

  3. Komar

    Nice brand New stepping of thermi…
    Little advice for nvidia crew!

    Dual gf114 = tdp ok

    Dual gf110 = tdp BBq ok

  4. ElManiac

    So HD6990 sounds like a lawnmover lol “It’s very very loud” as said on Youtube vid called “590 vs 6990”

  5. lancast

    look guys I bought a gtx 590 and for good reasons. Why you might ask?
    Well… it’s smaller and quieter than the hd 6990
    also it has better driver support. Constant beta’s being released on guru3d’s website 🙂
    It really opens up at 1920X1080p on a 24 inch monitor but the hd 6990 wins at higher resolutions. I don’t need higher resolutions I just game on 1920X1080p. It’s runs cooler and I won’t need to upgrade my psu when I buy another gtx 590 second hand in the future when drivers support the gtx 590 a bit better.
    It’s tesselation is better than the hd 6990 and it does’nt even cough when I up the anty and ram up X16 antianalllizing!

    I m a happy chappy that spent $880 and got a free gigabyte ghost gaming mouse and 3 years warranty .

    It seems to me by all the guys leaving remarks that you are ati fanboys. I like both cards but for what I need it for, the gtx 590 wins over 6990. If I wanted to play games at excesively high resoultions then I would have bought the hd 6990.

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