NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590: Dual GF110s, One PCB
The GeForce GTX 590 Exposed
We’ll discuss many of the GeForce GTX 590’s features and specifications here, but before we do, NVIDIA has provided a simple animation that does a great job pointing out a few of the card’s high-level features. Take a look:
Now that you are intimately familiar with the GeForce GTX 590, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. As we’ve mentioned, the GTX 590 is powered by a pair of GF110 GPUs, each with 512 CUDA cores (1024 total), 64 texture units (128 total), 48 ROPs (96 total), and 768KB of L2 (1536KB total). A 384-bit memory interface links the GPUs to 1536MB of GDDR memory (3072MB total). In light of those specifications, the GeForce GTX 590 is most similar to a GeForce GTX 580 SLI configuration on a single PCB—which happens to be 11” long.
However, to keep power consumption and heat in-line, NVIDIA had to reduce the frequencies of the GPU and memory on the GTX 590. Whereas the GPU on the GeForce GTX 580 hums along at 772MHz with 1002MHz (4008MHz effective data rate) memory, the reference specifications call for the GPUs on the GeForce GTX 590 to be clocked at 607MHz with 853MHz (3414MHz effective data rate) memory. At those clocks, the bilinear texturing fillrate per GPU on the GTX 590 is 38.85 GigaTexels/sec and memory bandwidth is 163.9GB/s, down from 49.4 GigaTexels/sec and 192.4GB/s on the GeForce GTX 580. Of course, the aggregate peak fillrate and memory bandwidth of the GeForce GTX 590 will be higher than the 580, but due to the lower clocks performance will not match a pair of GTX 580 cards running in SLI mode. At its reference frequencies, the GTX 590 has a TDP of 365W, and cards require a pair of 8-pin supplemental PCI Express power feeds.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 Full Monty
In addition to designing an ultra-complex dual-GPU graphics card with larger GPUs and a wider interface to memory on a PCB that’s over an inch shorter than the Radeon HD 6900, NVIDIA put a lot of effort into designing the cooling hardware on the GTX 590. Along with the GPUs and memory, the GeForce GTX 590 PCB features four display outputs, three dual-link DVIs and a mini-DP port. This output configuration gives the GeForce GTX 590 the ability to run a triple-monitor 3D Surround setup from a single card.
Cooling the GeForce GTX 590 is a single, center-mounted fan that directs air through a pair of vapor-chambers affixed to each GPU. There are also a few heat-plates employed, a longer one on the front that covers the RAM, PCIe switch, and power regulators, and a couple of smaller ones on the backside of the PCB, behind each GPU. Sleek fan shroud covers the entire apparatus, and also sports a lighted GeForce logo by the power connectors. We should also point out that the lighted GeForce logo isn’t just for looks. If there are any power-related problems, the logo will blink to let users know their cards aren’t getting enough juice.