It’s hard to believe the last dual-GPU video card by NVIDIA was the GeForce GTX 295 and that card was launched way back in January 2009! For more than two years there wasn’t an update for this flagship part, but that all changed today with the GeForce GTX 590. To make this dual-GPU beast work the engineers at NVIDIA took the GF110 GPU that is found on the GeForce GTX 580/570 cards and reduced the clock speeds to make a card that was running at 365W. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 is a welcomed addition to the NVIDIA GeForce 500 series of graphics cards and it did prove itself to be faster than the GeForce GTX 580 and is the new flagship video card for NVIDIA!
The lack of fan noise and the tame GPU temperatures were very impressive to us during testing. We saw the GeForce GTX590 get into the low 80C’s during game benchmarking with the fan on auto and that was a bit of a shock considering what hardware is on this card. One of the reasons that this video card ran so cool is that NVIDIA had to drop the frequency from 772MHz used on the GTX 580 cards to 607MHz for the GTX 590. This obviously reduced the capabilities of the card, but NVIDIA wanted it to fit in that 365W TDP category. We did notice that while this GPU cooler used on the GeForce GTX 590 is great for mild overclocks it wasn’t designed for those that want to increase GPU voltages and do extreme overclocking. With the right cooling, though, this card is going to be amazing as we were able to hit over 800MHz with the stock cooler, but our attempts at high benchmarking numbers were foiled due to the voltage throttling on the card when a certain temperature or power draw is reached.
We know that companies already have water blocks available for these cards as EVGA is coming out with a water cooled card. That route would be the best choice if you wanted to overclock and get the most performance out of your system. EVGA told us that their water cooled GeForce GTX 590 classified card will run $879, which puts it in a league of its own! After overclocking the card we now know why NVIDIA went with such a conservative clock setting, but with the right cooling it can be overclocked. In case you don’t know the clock speeds on the GeForce 500 series cards you can check them out below.
When it comes to pricing the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 3GB video card is priced at $699.99, which is $10 less than the AMD Radeon HD 6990 4GB video card as they run $709.99 online. With both cards priced so close together and the gaming performance benchmarks also being split between the two depending on the title it really comes down to what features you want and what drivers that you’ve had the better luck with. We love the fact that you can hook up three monitors with this card and run 3D Vision Surround with just one card. Before this card you always had to run an SLI setup, so for those that run multiple monitors this is a better solution. With stereoscopic 3D, PhysX and tons of CUDA applications this card should be on the short list to buy if you want the ultimate in single card performance. It should also be noted that NVIDIA is only allowing ASUS and EVGA to sell GeForce GTX 590 cards in North America as they are the two best selling brands in this area.
Legit Bottom Line: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 is the new flagship single slot graphics card from NVIDIA and while it wins many of the benchmarks, it doesn’t win them all and faces competition from the AMD Radeon HD 6990 that is equally priced.