We overclocked Gainward’s card without increasing voltages. You can see the results on the following GPUZ screenshot. We pushed the GPU to 720MHz, which seems to be the limit for air-cooler GTX 590 cards.
Nvidia’s reference cooler is not as bad as some may suggest. In fact, GTX 590 boasts pretty good balance between the 80mm fan’s RPM and cooling performance. You will hear the card during operation but it’s not overly loud. Still, it is the quietest dual GPU card Nvidia has made. Thanks to quality cooler design, GTX 590 is only slightly louder than GTX 580. The card is pretty quiet when idle.
Although we played Aliens vs Predator with no trouble at 720MHz GPU clock, we could not complete 3DMark 2011 at GPU clock higher than 680MHz.
Noise and Thermals
Compared to HD 6900, GTX 590 is also slightly quieter. GF110’s temperatures can hit up to 88°C during gaming, so there’s not much headroom for compensating loudness by sacrificing thermals (our measurements were made with room temperature at about 25°C).
Gainward’s GTX 590 is not for those who like them cheap power bills, as only a slightly meaner rig with a GTX 590 inside can easily draw 600W. Compared to HD 6990, Nvidia’s offering consumes about 60W more under load and about 10W more when idle.