AMD got the jump on the latest dual-GPU graphics card skirmish with the Radeon HD 6990, but Nvidia's long-awaited GeForce GTX 590 is now finally confirmed -- and craftily timed right around the release date for Crysis 2.
The GTX 590 combines a pair of Nvidia's GTX 580s, though clocked down mildly (as often happens in dual-GPU monstrosities like this) to 607MHz. So you get 1,024 stream processors and 3GB of GDDR5 memory for your $699 outlay. But will it outperform the Radeon 6990, which is priced the same?
Early benchmarks are showing mixed results. In the all-important "Can it play Crysis?" battle, it can't top the Radeon according to Anandtech, and trails two GTX 580s in SLI configuration. However, HotHardware finds that the GTX 590 whoops the AMD card on Lost Planet 2.
As expected, the new card is a huge power slurper, though it appears to be in the same ballpark as the 6990. But it's noticeably quieter than the AMD, if still louder than the single-GPU GTX 580. So if you need the absolute top frame rates, and have the system and money for it, you might go with the Radeon 6990. If slightly lesser performance is acceptable, but more noise is not, you might appreciate the GTX 590 more.
Already, desktop manufacturers have begun offering the GTX 590 on their systems. Maingear is adding it to its Shift and F131 high-performance PCs, while Origin PC is making the card an option for its Genesis gaming desktop. CyberPower is introducing it to its Fang EVO, Black Pearl, Gamer 3D and Xtreme FTW lineups, including a liquid-cooled version for the Fang EVO Black Mamba and a configuration as low as $1,499.