The GTX 590 vs. the HD 6990 – only One is “the World’s Fastest video card”
This has been quite an enjoyable five-day hand’s on experience for us in comparing our brand-new, under-NDA, GTX 590 versus our HD 6990 and other video card configurations and we look forward to evaluating further new products from AMD and Nvidia. We always wish that we had more time then we were allowed to benchmark the GTX 590 so as to give you our first impressions. Fortunately, we have been gaming for months with our other test cards, so that we can provide you with a reliable comparison.
We feel priviliged to bring you our very first benchmarks and performance testing of Nvidia’s amazing value GTX 590. We like it quite a lot and it has exceeded this editor’s own expectations. In the meantime, feel free to comment below, ask questions or have a detailed discussion in our ABT forum. If you have any requests on what you would like for us to focus on for further testing or for any other information, please join our ABT forum or leave a comment.
Nvidia GTX 590
Pros and Cons:
- Nvidia’s GTX 590 is much faster than the GTX 580 and it wins more benches than it loses to the HD 6990. Nvidia has brought good performance into a $700 package.
- There is further room for overclocking and good scalibility.
- New Fermi GF110 architecture brings support for GPU computing and a level of performance way beyond the last generation.
- DX11 and great support for tessellation, PhysX and CUDA, 3D gaming, and 2D/3D Surround on a single video card bring realism to gaming
- Nvidia’s highly efficient cooler is great for achieving and keeping your OC by keeping your GPU cool. It is one awesome cooler that tames GTX 590’s thermals very quietly, even at full load.
- Quad-SLI is possible with two of these cards; ultimate performance for 3D Vision.
- Tri-SLI – GTX 590 plus GTX 580 – is unsupported.
That’s it. For about the same price as a reference HD 6990, you get all the features that Nvidia video cards have to offer in a very solidly-built, cool and quiet-running GTX 590! If you require quiet running, Nvidia’s superb quiet cooling is a real winner and it is the single greatest difference that sets it apart from it’s competitor. Nvidia has succeeded in encasing the performance of two underclocked GTX 580s into a single $700 package; it’s the same price as the HD 6990, and its quieter running as a bonus for your ears.
The ATI Radeon HD 6990 offers its own set of unique features although it cannot unequivocally claim “world’s fastest card” as before. Launched just two weeks ago, the ATI Radeon HD 6990 continues to offer excellent performance at the same price point as the GTX 590 which also gives you an immersive gaming experience with AMD Eyefinity Technology; driving up to five displays simultaneously and AMD HD3D technology for stereoscopic 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D playback. The HD 6990 scales superbly especially when you get to resolutions of 2560×1600 and above. With AMD you also have the possibility of pairing up two HD 6990s for Quad-Fire or for even more flexibility, you can pair a HD 6990 plus HD 6970 for Tri-Fire-X3.
We do not know what the future will bring, but this amazing card brings a great value to the Fermi family of upgraded GTX “tanks” in Nvidia’s lineup. Look for it at an etailer immediately. Pricing for the reference GTX 590 is $699 and will go up from there depending on what the individual partners offer.
This editor believes that Nvidia brings a very remarkable full-featured DX11 GPU lineup to the market that will find good acceptance among customers and their fans alike. Fermi architecture is impressive and flexible and it does translate to performance in gaming. We have also seen Nvidia’s drivers improve and their multi-GPU SLI scaling for newer games is very impressive. If you currently game on an older card, you will do yourself a big favor by upgrading. The move to a GTX 590 will give you better visuals on the DX11 pathway and you are no doubt thinking of GTX 590 Quad SLI further down the road (if money is no object) if you want to get even higher performance as you may want to use Suround’s three-panel display or even 3D Vision or 3D Vision Surround for really intense gaming.
If the many exclusive features of the new GTX 590 appeal to you and you are gaming at 1920×1080 or above, you cannot go wrong with a GTX 590. In this editor’s experience, it is also a great choice if you are considering overclocking further as scaling is superb and the reference cooling is up to the task. The competition is hot as the competing Radeons offer their own set of features including a cheaper way to experience 3-panel multi-display with Eyefinity.
Although there can only be “one fastest” video card, it is going to depend on which games you test, their resolutions and what level of detail and filtering you use for each game. And driver updates will sometime change performance from month to month. Both cards are super-fast and rather equal in overall performance – but different. If you prefer a noticeably quieter card, the GTX 590 may well be for you.
Stay tuned, there is a lot coming from us at ABT. We are going to follow up this review with much more multi-GPU testing. Watch for our EVGA GTX 560 Ti review this weekend! We also expect to cover a new card launching very shortly!
ABT Senior Editor
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