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AMD Graphics Games

GeForce GTX 590 and Radeon HD 6990 Face Off 124

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the there-can-be-only-two dept.
Vigile writes "Both NVIDIA and AMD have recently released new extreme-high-end graphics cards with dual-GPU configurations and PC Perspective has compared them to each other with some standard SLI/CrossFire comparisons for good measure. The GTX 590 is a pair of 512 shader processor GF110 GPUs which had the potential to be the fastest combination available, but the clock speeds were lowered to such a level that is has trouble keeping up with AMD's Radeon HD 6990. Sound levels were noticeably better on NVIDIA's option though the Radeon card provided better frame rates at the highest resolutions. So, while the $700 video card market just got a pair of new competitors, the best investment for that money might still be two less expensive Radeon or GeForce single-GPU cards."
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GeForce GTX 590 and Radeon HD 6990 Face Off

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  • 6990 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnonGCB (1398517) <7spams@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:20AM (#35598138)

    Not the 5990, which doesn't exist.

    Seriously, why do we even have editors?

    • by arndawg (1468629)
      Without editors this would be Reddit.
    • by Vigile (99919) *

      Yeah, that's my bad. Sorry! I sent an email off to /. to correct it.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      so that they can make mistakes and post incredibly misinformed or biased articles, including tests that aren't even repeatable, reliable, or honest.

    • Well, I'd have preferred to see a face off between the XeForce Dual XF9801-Deluxe and the Radeon SDD 7370-01 Xtreme, both of which can be considered as upgrades from by Niforce 13005-FX2, as is obvious from the version numbers.

  • I'm wondering what to replace my Radeon 3850 with. Is there anything newer that's faster and can run with a passive heatsink? I put an Accelero X1 heatsink on my 3850 and the temperatures are just fine. With all the recent cards though, it seems impossible to go silent with anything but liquid cooling, which would be a lot of work to install.

    • by robow (1609129)
      Liquid cooling is a lot of work to install, but it sure does impress the ladies.
    • by Tr3vin (1220548)
      I think there was a passively cooled Radeon 5750. I'm not sure how well it worked under load, though.
      • by afidel (530433)
        Just fine if you have decent case cooling, mine gets to about 95C core temp under extreme load (furmark) and only about 85C after hours of gaming.
      • by TeknoHog (164938)
        There is even a passively cooled 5770 from Gigabyte. I'm running one practically fanless, with only a single slow fan in the entire system, and the GPU stays around 64 C while crunching Bitcoins for days at a time. Fan placement is somewhat critical, in that a randomly oriented case fan is not enough, but in an otherwise fanless system this is nice and quiet.
    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      I bought a Radeon HD 6950 recently to replace my failing 3870 and found it to be extremely quiet (my PSU and CPU fans made more noise) unless I was putting it under serious strain. You can also control the fan through a host of different apps including a custom fan profile (temp vs percent max fan speed). Personally I wanted it to run cooler, so I made the fan more aggressive in its fan speeds. However you can make it less aggressive yet, like say under 80C it runs at 30% fan speed. The default is 30% until

    • I'm wondering what to replace my Radeon 3850 with. Is there anything newer that's faster and can run with a passive heatsink? I put an Accelero X1 heatsink on my 3850 and the temperatures are just fine. With all the recent cards though, it seems impossible to go silent with anything but liquid cooling, which would be a lot of work to install.

      Most, if not all mid to high range cards require an external power source. With that kind of heat dissipation, active cooling is required. When you start looking into semi-mid to low range, they'll usually only need power from PCIe slot. At those levels, you can get away with passive cooling.

      If you're serious about gaming and bleeding edge graphic technologies, unfortunatly silent isn't really an option from a stock video card. Modding will be required at those levels to keep them both cook and silent.

      But b

      • by Chemisor (97276)

        Modding will be required at those levels to keep them both cook and silent.

        I'm not really opposed to modding; I am just dreading doing liquid cooling again. It was a serious PITA the last time I tried it, but I suppose there really is no other option...

        But before you go down that road, you might want enable V-Sync on all your games. This way, you still get that silky-smooth frame rate without processing graphics to infinity.

        The 3850 can't get 60fps on all the games I play. Fallout 3, for example, often stut

        • I have an Accelero Xtreme cooler on my 8800GTX; Very hot card. Runs at 60C under load with the fans inaudible over my case fans. I do have a Corsair H70 CPU cooler which warbles a little, but it's enclosed so no maintenance.

          There are good aftermarket coolers which aren't water... With some high airflow fans pointed at the Accelero I've no doubt I could make it a passive cooler. I won't try until I upgrade, though... No point ruining the card if it fails.
    • by afidel (530433)
      There's a couple passive 5750 cards and there's the Sparkle GTS 450. Those are the most powerful completely silent cards available.
      • by robot256 (1635039)
        I second this. My EVGA GTS450 is so quiet I can hardly tell the machine is on, even when playing games.
    • by Rashdot (845549)

      I'm probably going to buy an "XFX Radeon HD 5670 Silent 1GB". There's also a "Radeon HD 5750 Noiseless Edition 1GB" but it runs much hotter according to benchmarks.

    • My 5770 HAWK edition is virtually silent unless you run furmark, or other stress testing tools..
      even then, I cant really hear it over the PSU,CPU,HDD's

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:27AM (#35598204)
    While comparing video cards is all well and good, I make a formal nerd request that a decibel comparison be included in future reviews, say at idle fan speed, half maximum speed and full speed. Honestly it has gotten ridiculous - high end cards are just too damned loud. (switching to night-club mode) I MEAN WHAT IS THE POINT OF HAVING NICE GRAPHICS IF YOU CAN'T HEAR THE GAME YOU'RE PLAYING
    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Ah well, in true slashdot style I RTFA after making my post and, er, there is one. Still, this should be standard in all reviews nowadays.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Maybe you should get noise cancelling headphones. Am I the only one who likes using headphones more than anything else. Much better stereo effects. Maybe not as good as a full surround setup, but who has room and money for that anyway? A decent pair of headphones (even in the $30-$50 range) can produce some pretty good sound.
      • by moogied (1175879)
        I use to use headphones(over the ear and in the inner ear buds ones) and recently I picked up a set of 30$ speakers(2.0) and man it is SO nice to have real speakers again. I know a lot of people use headphones for 'tactical' input in a game. Foot steps, doors opening, bombs, whatever.. but I just like having pandora playing in the background with the sound effects lowered.
      • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

        Personally I find the opposite... I just can't stand wearing headphones and the lower resonance annoys me compared to good speakers. Though due to having a roommate I often am forced to wear headphones anyways.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Good god no! I can't stand wearing headphones for more than 10 minutes at a time. Earbuds, circumaural, doesn't matter. Besides, what head phones can compete with the kick of a good subwoofer?

      • by Machtyn (759119)
        I agree, headphones can give you some quality sound, but can they give you surround sound? There are some games that accurately let you know when someone is coming up behind you or something is happening behind you by using the 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 sound systems. And there are some who do use their computers as a media center as well as a gaming machine.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Well, you only have 2 ears, and you hear surround sound just fine. :) The ears can be tricked into thinking a sound is behind them or above them with just two speakers. I'm not sure whether games employ these techniques, but it can be done.
    • by Chas (5144)

      Loud? What?


      My system isn't silent by any means, but it isn't loud either. However I don't care for playing with speakers on. I COULD, and they'd be booming. But I'm in an apartment and my neighbors would know EXACTLY what I was doing.

      A nice pair of headphones goes a long way.

      Barring that, there are other noise elimination strategies available.

      Should you HAVE to? No. But remember you're dealing with the high-end performance cards. You're sacrificing many types of elegant design in favor of

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        Well soon your neighbors will be complaining about the noise of your video card(s)... COULD YOU PLEASE STOP VACUUMING AT 3AM? lol
        • by Chas (5144)

          Reminds me of a 60mm fan I used to own.

          Literally a 60mm cube fan. Held in your hand, it was inaudible and move an assload of air.

          Put it in the case, it caused so much vibration, and due to the metal mesh over the fan port, turbulence, that it sounded like someone hooked a dustbuster up to the back of my computer.

    • by demonbug (309515)

      While comparing video cards is all well and good, I make a formal nerd request that a decibel comparison be included in future reviews, say at idle fan speed, half maximum speed and full speed. Honestly it has gotten ridiculous - high end cards are just too damned loud. (switching to night-club mode) I MEAN WHAT IS THE POINT OF HAVING NICE GRAPHICS IF YOU CAN'T HEAR THE GAME YOU'RE PLAYING

      You just need to find a better review site [anandtech.com].

      Looks like the 6990 is significantly quieter at low loads, but at very high loads (furmark) it isn't as far ahead.

    • by kalirion (728907)

      According to this review [hardocp.com], the 590 is actually pretty quiet.

      The clock speeds were purposely lowered in order to keep the acoustics in check. This differs from AMD's explanation of down-clocking the core clock speed in the Radeon HD 6990 in order to keep power levels down within spec. AMD has focused majorly on power efficiency this generation, and NVIDIA is focusing on acoustics. To this, I will say that NVIDIA has succeeded. At idle and at full load while gaming, I simply could not hear this video card.

    • by umrguy76 (114837)

      My new Nvidia GTX 460 is virtually silent. The 8800 it replaced was like a leaf blower inside my computer. Perhaps the top end cards are really noisy but I am very happy with the performance and (lack of) noise level of the 460.

  • What? Doesn't EVERYONE have a 2 kilowatt power supply and vapor phase-change cooling on every available source of heat in the case?

    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      I built a 6-core cpu system with a HD 6970 graphics card recently and it uses a 750 Watt 80+ gold rated PSU. I'm not really pushing near the limits (cpu 120W max, gpu 250W max), even if I bought one of those monstrous cards I'd probably still be ok though maybe maxing it out. 900-1k Watt is probably still overkill as long as you buy a good PSU, no 2kw PSU needed.

      • An overclocked i7 990X , quad SLI , Liquid Cooling

        How would you NOT need a 1kW+ PSU?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:43AM (#35598410)

    I bought 560Ti and there are still no stable linux drivers for it. As far as I am concerned, I do not care for latest and greatest cards anymore. "Latest" to me now equals "have stable linux drivers".

    Innovation is good if it is for the people and not just for the sake of innovation and showing off.

    • I agree there's no stable driver support for the 560Ti, this was a little disconcerting the first time I booted up to a ChunkyVision resolution with no dual screen.

      In the case of Ubuntu, adding a PPA [launchpad.net] to my repository list was enough to get the drivers.

      While that's not ideal, I'm sure they'll be rolled into the next release.

    • Yeah, it's a good thing nobody shows off by, say, advertising how they only use Linux and only the best graphics cards they can put on it.

    • by hoytak (1148181)

      FYI: I also got a 560ti this week, but I have had almost no problems with the 270.26 beta nvidia driver [nvidia.com] (running kubuntu 10.10). It took a little tweaking -- namely, make sure the settings on things like vsync match up between that and kde (both in the settings menu), don't install the 32 bit compatibility libraries (which do seem to cause problems), and blacklist noveau (which the installation process did for me automatically). With those things, everything is amazing.

      So... not sure if that's evidence fo

  • by theghost (156240) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:45AM (#35598432)

    I'd like to hijack the topic a little bit in order to ask a question because i don't have the time to bust out the google-fu and dig in for some serious research right now.

    The last time i really looked into the matter was 5-ish years ago, and the conclusion i came to was that radeons had slightly better hardware, but nvidia's drivers were so far superior that this theoretical lead was completely obliterated. Is this still true? (No die-hard brand shilling here please - i'd like to hear from people who at least think they can be impartial.)

    • by DCFusor (1763438)
      It's still pretty much the case as far as I can tell. I run linux (duh, of course) and the NVidia stuff rocks, particularly if you want to do "other" things with the card (CUDA). This may not be as true in a windows environment, but I now only run windows in virtual box...and there it only sees a generic vid card anyway (which is still fast enough for what I do in windows, which isn't gaming).
    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      It depends. I've played with linux on systems with both brands gpu's in them and even nvidia's drivers don't always 'just work' in linux. Though Radeons still tend to be far more picky. If the drivers work like they should then typically the Radeon won't do any worse than the nvidia card. The biggest issue tends to be in how new the card is, linux lags behind windows and the launch date considerably. My laptops Mobility HD 5900 series card works fine in linux (though not its wireless sadly) yet my Radeon HD

      • by vlueboy (1799360)

        My laptops Mobility HD 5900 series card works fine in linux (though not its wireless sadly) yet my Radeon HD 6970 has issues

        Quick and dirty^W clean laptop wireless has stopped being the norm in Ubuntu for intel cards this past year, so I'm contemplating switching out to Scientific Linux 6. Ever since 10.4, unencrypted *and* WPA connectivity drops erratically or fails to connect though Vista and 9.4 are OK.

        Replacing network-manager with wifi-radar helped temporarily, but then further tweaking to get my original WPA2 off the ground killed it. I heard on forums that intel's fixing some microcode problems with ~AGN5000 and ~AGN4000

    • by Ecuador (740021)

      Are you asking about Windows or Linux? For Linux, the AMD binary drivers have worked great for my multi-monitor setup. For Windows, there has not been an issue for a few years now, and in fact, even when the ATI drivers were lagging behind nVidia for gaming, I had to always get ATI cards due to the usually severe problems I had with nVidia for Home Theater setups.
      So, AFAIK, for home theater ATI/AMD still has better drivers/hardware, for Windows gaming it is mostly "take your pick", for Linux, you shouldn't

    • by quasigenx (843945)
      I found that a single-card triple-monitor setup worked out of the box with ATI in Linux, but not nvidia.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        I found that a single-card single-monitor setup did not work at all with ATI on Linux. With ATI on Linux, YMMV.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Yes, still the case. I had heard that ATI was getting better, so I bought a 4350 for an HTPC build. I was unable to get it working properly with any X.org driver besides VESA. The open source driver flickered constantly. The proprietary driver gave me a black screen, with no errors or warnings or any sort of hint as to the problem.

      nVidia on the other hand, I've never had a problem that rerunning the driver installer won't fix.

  • There is no way anyone can justify calling a $700 graphics card an "investment". Investment in what? Immediate depreciation comes to mind.

    Most people would never consider buying a used video card so really if there is any case to be made that this will be a better choice than the next lowest priced card it isn't that the resale value will hold up when you go to again buy the most expensive card next year.

    • There are plenty of buyers of used video cards. The main places that people look to buy them are from the For sale sections of high-end hardware forums like EVGA forums or HardOCP forums. The highest-end cards do have the best re-sale values as well.

    • AMD and NVDIA have a euphemism for people that spend $500+ on a graphics card. They call these customers "enthusiasts". I'm glad someone out there is willing to spend that kind of money to drive the state of the art and I'm glad it's not me. Just for fun, I googled "silly expensive item" and got this link: http://coolmaterial.com/cool-list/24-ridiculously-expensive-everyday-items/.
      • Put things in perspective: if golf is your primary leisure activity, you will easily spend $500 on equipment--maybe even on a single club. If you're into winter sports, you'll spend that much on a season lift pass. Have a passion for fine wine? $500 is a few bottles of good stuff. Like to travel? That's only half a plane ticket.

        Now consider someone for whom gaming is the primary leisure activity. Spending $500 every couple years (call it $200/year after selling the old card) is downright cheap compared to o

    • In this sense, "investment" means future-proofing. If you drop $700 now, you won't likely be replacing your $200 card in 2 years.

    • I don't know about $700, but I bought an 8800GTX when they were top of the range at £320 ($640 at the time). It's been 5 years since then, and I can play Bioshock 2, Crysis, CoD:MW2, Prototype, loads of games which came out in the past year (hell, month) at native 1920x1200 at over 40fps (I'd call it a day at 30). I'm probably upgrading at the end of the year when CPUs are due to scale down to 22nm, but before then I'm still rocking a 5 year old gaming system.
      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        yea and less than a year later I got a 9600GT which is damn near the same card for 79 bucks, latest and greatest is pointless unless you like burning money

      • by kalirion (728907)

        I don't know about $700, but I bought an 8800GTX when they were top of the range at ã320 ($640 at the time). It's been 5 years since then, and I can play Bioshock 2, Crysis, CoD:MW2, Prototype, loads of games which came out in the past year (hell, month) at native 1920x1200 at over 40fps (I'd call it a day at 30).

        There's no way a 8800GTX can get a relatively steady 40fps on Crysis at 1920x1200 unless you lower the settings to Medium. Maybe even a mix of Low and Medium.

    • by powerlord (28156)

      Agreed. If I had mod points I'd throw in a +1, since I don't, I'll add my $0.02. :)

      Besides the resale value of the card, you have to take into perspective the life expectancy of the card, and the relative purchasing power to other means of access.

      For the relative life expectancy of the card, if you are going to have the card for 4 years, then the question is, how much is it going to be worth in resale in 4 years after the next X releases by nVidia/AMD?

      For relative purchasing power, you can almost buy a 360

    • You're a bit off there. There are uses beyond gamers for the newest cards, and as much hope as I had for the GTX 590, I think nVidia missed it too. The answer is GPU computing. The way I see it (I may be myopic), is that $700 for a GPU is cheap for the computational performance. Sadly, the GTX 590 under performs because nVidia was worried about noise & power more than FLOPS. As far as I'm concerned, I'm just going to buy banks of cards and put them in a room where I can't hear them. So, despite we
  • Bang for your Buck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by awjr (1248008) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:48AM (#35598456)

    Apparently crossfire scales better than sli [tomshardware.com] and you are currently better off buying a couple of HD5970 as the cost is less than one HD5990/GTX590 and you get better performance.

    I am on a 'tight' budget and bought one HD5970. I will upgrade next year by buying another should I get some sort of penis envy.

    • by DriedClexler (814907) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:37AM (#35599044)

      HD5970s are being bought up by over-optimistic Bitcoin miners. They currently run for ~$700. Why not buy two HD5870s (each at ~$250) and use Crossfire. They're less than half the price and more than half the performance.

      • I purchased 2 GTX465's for $400 total inc. tax and Sli'd them. The 465's are going cheap as people didn't like the power consumption, but I don't care about power consumption (it's really unnoticeable with an i5 and 750W PS). They give top notch in-game performance (where the test is simply playing the game) for BC2 (60c)/COD:BO (60c)/Crysis 2 (80c) and Deathspank.
    • Actually, it's an even bigger margin than I suggested before: the HD5870 can be had for $220 now [videocardbenchmark.net], *and* it benchmarks higher than the 5970 (see link), *and* the 5970 is actually $910 [videocardbenchmark.net] ... *if* you can find it.

      Yikes, who would actually get the 59 in this case?

      • by JustNiz (692889)

        Don't forget the state of AMDs Linux drivers compared to nVidias.

          I primarily use Linux of my desktop (I only boot windows for windows games that refuse to run under wine or a VM).

        Because of AMDs crappy Linux drivers I won't ever consider purchasing any AMD GPU regardless of its price/performance vs nVidia under windows.

        • Fortunately, I bought my HD 5870s for GPGPU [wikipedia.org], and the drivers are good enough for that, so I'm happy.

          • by JustNiz (692889)

            you chose AMD for GPGPU? wow. why?
            I thought nVidia are REALLY ahead on GPGPU, what with CUDA and all the other stuff that AMD don't have.

            • Well, GPGPU in the sense of "Bitcoin mining" which involves caculating huge numbers of SHA256 hashes. Check out the mining hardware comparison chart [bitcoin.it]. AMD beats the hell out of the nVidia counterparts.

              Incidentally, notice the comparison between the ATI Radeon HD5870 vs 5970. The 970 is a lot faster, sure, but they're selling for $920 now, while the 870s (which I put four of on my motherboard) are only $220 ($250 when I got them).

    • by vthome (21702)

      I did the same mistake. By the time I was ready to upgrade, the card was out of production. So, either you buy two right away (and use the other in a different computer, then combine them in SLI/Crossfire), or don't even plan to buy the second.

  • by strack (1051390) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:05AM (#35598658)
    one thing you might wanna consider is that ATIs support for stereoscopic 3d gaming using shutter glasses and 120hz monitors is weak to nonexistent, whereas nvidias support is excellent. hell, they have their own shutter glasses. and if your gonna drop $700 on a video card, your probably the sort of person wholl pay a bit extra for a 120hz monitor and shutter glasses for 3d gaming.
  • by MojoKid (1002251) * on Thursday March 24, 2011 @11:30AM (#35598966)
    Surprisingly, NVIDIA can't catch AMD's dual-GPU card with their new GTX 590: http://hothardware.com/Reviews/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-590-Dual-GF110s-One-PCB/ [hothardware.com]

    Even in heavier DX11 titles, the cards are not quite up to par with the Radeon HD 6990: http://hothardware.com/Reviews/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-590-Dual-GF110s-One-PCB/?page=8 [hothardware.com]
  • by echusarcana (832151) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @01:16PM (#35600530)
    ATI really needs to fix its drivers. This has been a problem for over a decade. Ridiculous performances is NOT important. Reliable drivers will always be. The difference in my case was 10fps with flakey bombouts (ATI) vs. 45 fps completely solid performance (nVidia).
    • I hear this complaint for over a decade now, but for some reason the last time I had problems with ATI drivers was with Mach64 and OS/2 3.0 back in 1995.
      Now Creative drivers do suck.

  • The author of that article has no clue how to do a comparison. The graphs are all skewed, none of them start at zero so the differences are blown of of proportion. The magnification also varies from graph to graph.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.