GTX 590 is a Fermi based, dual-GPU and DX11 card that does well in fighting HD 6990, but there is no clear cut winner as of yet. Unfortunately, we did not have the results scored by two HD 6990 cards, so that we could compare quad GPU rigs, but we can at least share our impressions of the GTX 590 Quad SLI rig.
Our machine had two GTX 590 cards that will cost about €1200. We must thank Gainward and Point of View / TGT who have kindly provided us with samples.
As far as performance goes, we’ve never seen something this fast. However, although Quad SLI sounds cool, most gamers will do just fine with a single GTX 590. Single GTX 590 performance is excellent and two cards will only make what’s already fast, into fast-er.
We must say, extraordinary performance aside, €1200 for two GTX 590 graphics cards is a bit too steep, regardless of how deep your pockets are. Two GTX 590 cards will not double your performance because it seems we have history repeating. Namely, scaling performance with four GPUs is far lower than with two. We had some trouble with a few tests - 3Dmark 2011 Extreme and Metro 2033 running at 2560x1600 and 4xAA i 16AF. We think that the problems are simply down to unfinished drivers.
Quad SLI will not require only two GTX 590 cards, you must have a good 1000W+ PSU and CPU, because your CPU may limit performance.
As far as noise goes, two GTX 590 cards didn’t make much more noise than with one GTX 590. That our rig was loud is true, but it’s not unbearable. Nvidia did a good job with reference cooling, but you still need to have a well ventilated and roomy case. If the temperatures exceed 97°C, the thermal threshold will kick in.
All in all, we don’t have many complaints about GTX 590 Quad SLI; Nvidia did a pretty good job, and we enjoyed some 2560x1600 gaming for a few hours.