ASUS nVidia GTX590 Review
We've waited a long time for the successor to the GTX295 and we have to confess we're left feeling a little flat by the experience.
All three of the top single cards from nVidia, the GTX560, GTX570 and GTX580 are stunning pieces of hardware that deliver immense performance at good pricing.
The GTX590 certainly wont supply the good pricing part of the equation. The HD6990 is priced at £599 and we can see no reason why this GTX590 will arrive at retailers at much beneath this. So it really needs to deliver big on performance.
Does it? That's debatable. It's all a little too synthetic. The GTX580 is about £400 and gives us, for example, 90 FPS average in Far Cry 2 . An SLI setup is £800 and gives us 150 FPS in Far Cry 2. The spot right between those numbers is £600 which we expect the GTX590 to be, and an average of 120 FPS in Far Cry 2, which is exactly what it gets.
It's very difficult not to look through the graphs as we go and, the odd result aside, not end up with the conclusion that nVidia benchmarked the single and SLI setups and then tuned the GTX590 to fit right between the two, therefore not taking any sales at all away from its flagship model.
Ignoring the GTX580 for comparison and looking at it solely in a "I need a dual-GPU card and have 600 notes to splash out" way, there is no way you'd plump for this over the HD6990 in pure performance terms. One or two tests edge towards the nVidia offering but the AMD card rules the roost by a big margin in certain tests.
If you aren't all about pure performance, although for this much money, why not, then the GTX590 is much easier to live with as a day-to-day card. It's FAR quieter than the HD6990 and so if you want a card that will not deafen you when you're just browsing the net, but can still spank the bejeebus out of a game then this might be the better bet.
For us, it's probably too expensive and not quite fast enough to displace what we'd really spend our money on if we wanted mega power, silence and enough left over for a few brews. That still belongs to a GTX570 SLI setup.
So it's not quite as fast as the HD6990, not as fast as two single cards, very expensive, but reasonably cool and quiet. Another card it's probably best to look harder at once the third-party variants are on the shelf.
To be clear though if it was our money and we had to buy a 6990 or a 590 we would choose the Nvidia card every time, if for no other reason than because you can use it intensively for hours on end with out it trying turning into a desktop leaf blower. The slight loss of FPS and 3DMark points is bearable considering how much quieter this card is compared to the ATI offering.