Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 3GB Review

Written by bit-tech Staff

March 24, 2011 | 12:58

Tags: #590 #comparison #consumption #dual-gpu #dx11 #faster #fastest #fps #geforce #gtx-590 #performance #power #sli #speed #temperature #thermals

Companies: #nvidia

Conclusion

It’s a credit to Asus that it managed to get us one of these super-high-end cards for our launch article, so we’ll frame our conclusion around this card and its recommended retail price of £590 inc VAT. After all, this is a card that you can actually buy and it uses Nvidia’s reference design throughout (as does every other card at launch we hear) so you can apply much of our findings and verdict to other brands that you might prefer.

A card such as this is almost solely judged on its performance – whether it bashes every game known to man into submission with its brutal graphics power, or cringes at the likes of Arma II. The GTX 590 3GB is definitely of the former persuasion, topping our performance charts in almost every test, no matter what resolution or game we used. In some games the lead over even AMD’s massive Radeon HD 6990 4GB was substantial and in others only marginal, but the GTX 590 3GB is the king of the graphics cards based on the performance we saw.

*Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 3GB Review Asus GeForce GTX 590 3GB Conclusion
The Asus GeForce GTX 590 3GB

However, this brings us on to the thorny issue: the performance of the GTX 590 3GB right now is excellent, but there’s no guarantee it will be after the slew of triple-A games that are due over the next few months. With everything from Homefront to Deus Ex: Human Revolution to Crysis 2, the Nvidia driver team has its work cut out to deliver the same kind of chart-topping performance for every game. With a single-GPU card, you’re much less likely to face serious performance and compatibility issues, but if a multi-GPU card or setup doesn’t recognise a game, the consequences can be frustratingly bizarre.

Driver support isn’t the only caveat either. When we were testing the card, the design of the cooler meant that a lot of heat was dumped into the front of our test case. This could lead to overheating hard disks (if you have them). The cooler is hardly quiet, but it’s not horrifically noisy, unlike the HD 6990 4GB which kicks into hairdryer mode after a few minutes of gaming. As such, we recommend water-cooling the card, even though this will void your warranty and could set you back up to £200.

*Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 3GB Review Asus GeForce GTX 590 3GB Conclusion
The Asus GeForce GTX 590 3GB

Essentially, we’re increasingly dubious that a dual-slot cooler can handle a high-end, modern graphics card. This is especially true with the current trend of spec-busting levels of power consumption from both AMD and Nvidia – as with the HD 6990 4GB, you’ll need a strong PSU to power the GTX 590 3GB. Place your bets now as to whether we’ll see a triple-slot reference cooler for the next round of graphics cards, due this autumn.

Whether or not to buy an Asus GeForce GTX 590 3GB comes down to two factors, the primary one being how much you’re willing to pay for top-end performance. If the answer to that is that you’ll pay anything to game at 2,560 x 1,600, then you’re halfway to placing an order, as the GTX 590 3GB is the only card that gives you consistent, reliable frame rates in all four of the games with which we test.

The second question is trickier, though: how much do you trust Nvidia’s driver to keep the level of performance from the GTX 590 3GB as stupendously high as we found in our testing? Going by the empirical evidence of our testing, the GTX 590 3GB has almost none of the performance or reliability flaws that have typically plagued multi-GPU setups, and certainly no deal-breaking flaws. Therefore, the GTX 590 3GB has to get our approval based on the quality of the GeForce 267.71 launch driver that we used. It’s up to Nvidia to maintain this consistently very high level of performance over the life of this product, with timely and robust driver updates.

  • Performance
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • 10/10
  • Features
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
  • Value
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
  • Overall
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
Score Guide

*Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 3GB Review Asus GeForce GTX 590 3GB Conclusion

Asus GeForce GTX 590 3GB


Discuss this in the forums
Mod of the Month April 2019 in Association with Corsair

May 8 2019 | 13:30

TOP STORIES

SUGGESTED FOR YOU