Tuesday saw the launch of the latest in the nVidia line of GPUs, the GTX570, and what a launch it was. If we were impressed by the GTX580 (and we were) then the GTX570 is even more impressive.
Normally cut-down versions of full-fat cards are lacking in a little oomph and require an overclock to really make them a worthy purchase.
By contrast the nVidia GTX570 was pretty hot out of the box giving great performance in all situations and quickly becoming a favourite amongst the OC3D team.
Thanks to the rather sudden wintery weather that's graced our shores our review of the first Partner card has been a little delayed, but thanks to some burning of the afternoon oil we can finally see what performance is available from the "off the shelf" versions. Today we're looking at the basic GTX570 from EVGA, a company that have been delivering high-performance nVidia cards for many a moon.
As you can see the card is identical to the version we reviewed on Tuesday, as we'd expect to see from a vanilla reference design. Rather than go over the information that you've just read earlier this week, let's move on.
NVIDIA GTX 570
732 MHz GPU
480 CUDA Cores
400 MHz RAMDAC
1280 MB, 320 bit GDDR5
3800 MHz (effective)
152 GB/s Memory Bandwidth
PCI-E 2.0 16x
DVI-I, DVI-I, Mini-HDMI
Click to page two to see the EVGA in the flesh.
It's been a little while since we've reviewed an EVGA card. The packaging is very nice indeed consisting of a clearly designed box with very little in the way of frippery.
Flipping it over we find a unique touch. A window demonstrating the serial number of the card, and also a duplicate sticker on the externals of the box. This allows you to compare the two and make sure that you have neither a dodgy copy of a card, nor are you being fobbed off with a RMA card reboxed. A great touch indeed.
Bold is the word that comes to mind when looking around the packaging. A touch of the Dale Earnhardts in the red-lined number adorns the side, and the end panel gives a clear example of what lies within and the connectivity available.
Another great touch to see is the use of recycled packaging for the internals. Given that most of us tear open the box, pull out the card and stuff the rest together in the bottom of the wardrobe or similar, it makes sense to use as enviromentally friendly internals as possible. That isn't to say they are weak by any stretch.
Taking off the top we can see how well designed the package is. Not only does everything have a perfectly formed compartment but the cables themselves are quite a joy. I often talk about how it's the little things that separate one product from another and in the world of reference GPUs this is even more true. EVGA have truly excelled because rather than have the generic flimsy plastic bag we're all used to, each item has a separate, foil lined, bag of its own.
To make sure there is no doubt that this isn't a "bucket o' cables" type arrangement the bags are also branded with the EVGA logo.
After the rather, ahem, strange covering on the default nVidia model the EVGA is stunning. Resplendant in Piano black with red trim it looks like a 50s hot rod, and that's never a bad thing.
Other than the stickers, here seen still with the plastic covering such was our desire to get this review to you as swiftly as possible, the card is identical to the reference one. Twin DVI-D ports and a mini-HDMI (with included cable adaptor) supply your output needs, two PCIe 6-pin power supply your input needs, and EVGA give you all the side bling you could wish for.
4GB G.Skill Trident DDR3-2500
Intel Core i7-870 @ 4GHz
Cougar 1000CM 1000W PSU
Windows 7 x64
We're using the latest 236.09 Forceware drivers for our testing today.
Overclocking and Temperatures
The reference nVidia overclocked quite well from the default 732MHz up to 800MHz. Thanks to the EVGA Precision tool we managed to push the GPU up to a phenomenal 904MHz. Here recorded as 910MHz but as you can see from the Furmark grab below it was an almost unbelievable 904MHz.
172MHz above stock.
The memory was much less willing to push onwards and wouldn't go past 2000MHz even with the core at stock. Of course if it's a choice between a few extra megahertz memory and a monster GPU overclock, it's no surprise we chose the GPU.
Temperatures on the reference card were 74°C when stock and 76°C when overclocked. At stock we saw 76°C but when pushed as hard as we dared here they climbed all the way up to 89°C after our Unigine 8xAA run.
This is in a normal tower-case environment, so we can't wait to see what EVGA could do with a serious cooling solution.
3D Mark Vantage
The main comparison is between the top two data series, the EVGA GTX570 and the standard GTX570.
As you can see in 3D Mark Vantage the EVGA clearly dominates its reference brother in all catergories. Most impressively of all perhaps is that when overclocked we're nudging close to 30000 3D Marks. With a HD5870 around 20000 it shows what a comprehensive turn-around the latest nVidia cards have made.
3D Mark 2011
The very latest in the Futuremark 3D Mark lineage is a feast for the eyes and despite the comparatively low scores when you see it up against Vantage, they've done a sterling job in ensuring that it's not a judder-fest. It's surprising to see the stock EVGA outperforming the reference card as they should be identical, but it's no shock to see the huge overclocking performance having major benefits on the final result.
Unigine has always proven to be a tough nut to achieve much variance in and so it proves here with the EVGA scoring nigh-on identical results to the vanilla GTX570.
With 8 times anti-aliasing for amazing image-quality our top-notch overclock gains only half a frame over the slower clocked reference design. Although as anyone who has run the benchmark can attest, 47 FPS at these settings isn't exactly poor.
Alien vs Predator
Back into a gaming scenario with the heavy lighting effects of Alien vs Predator. Both stock cards have a similar average frame-rate as we'd expect, despite the EVGA doing better in both minimum and maximum frame-rates.
Overclocked however the EVGA GTX570 shines like a beacon, performing a full 7 FPS better than at stock.
Such is the variable nature of Crysis Warhead that the EVGA is actually beaten by the reference design. The best we can say is that we can't wait to not have to benchmark this anymore. However busting clear of the 60FPS barrier with some ease shows the power of the GTX570.
By virtue of its DirectX 10 nature the Dunia-engined FarCry 2 is more reliant upon the cards ability to process raw polygons than any driver trickery. Despite this the EVGA rocks hard both stock and overclocked, being 2 frames ahead of the reference nVidia, although well behind the sheer grunt available to both the GTX580 and GTX480.
Metro eats graphics cards for breakfast and shows no remorse and the GTX570 is no different. It does however follow some of the trends of FarCry2 in that it takes full advantage of maximum horsepower. This is especially visible with the difference in the average frame-rates between the mildly overclocked reference card and the mighty overclock of the EVGA GTX570.
Such is the demand to be the best, and the stakes for the various companies involved are so high, that you can forgive us if we were a tiny bit cautious when we saw the outstanding performance from the nVidia GTX570.
Whilst companies such as EVGA merely need to show that their variant is the one to buy, for a company like nVidia it's a billion dollar statement of intent. The ultimate "money where your mouth is".
Thankfully, as EVGA have shown, if anything the nVidia sample we received was on the lower end of the performance scale rather than a specially cherry-picked sample for the press.
Indeed even at stock the EVGA GTX570 comes out consistently ahead in nearly all our tests.
If stock is impressive though, we have to give special kudos to the overclocking capabilities. Following the well-documented problems with the GF100 chip we'd almost forgotten how well nVidia chips can overclock, but even still the original 68MHz overclock pales into insignificance compared to the 172 MHz overclocked obtained here.
Performance is nothing without control Pirelli used to tell us, and even when overclocked to breaking point the heat from the EVGA GTX570 is still kept just about under control. At stock heat is a total non-issue. Thankfully noise is equally under wraps with the fan being barely audible in all but the most seriously testing conditions.
So on Tuesday we saw that the GTX570 is the weapon of choice for all but the most seriously minted gamer. This EVGA one is even better. Quite how the EVGA Superclocked version can improve on this boggles the mind, but we can't wait to find out.
In the meantime, this is an easy Gold Award winner, and the overclocking performance is such we're also going to give it our Performance award.
Thanks to EVGA for providing the GTX570 for review. Discuss in our forums.