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Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 review

The release of Nvidia's GF110 processor and GeForce GTX 580 graphics made the GF100 chip, the first in the Fermi family, obsolete. Reworking and improving the successor has allowed the latter to surpass its predecessor in all aspects, including performance, energy efficiency and frequency potential. The new flagship made a successful debut and deservedly captured the title of the fastest single-processor graphics card in the world, but the manufacturer will need more than a lone flagship to win the war in the market. The GeForce GTX 580 cannot do this on its own, so Nvidia should start a gradual transition from the GeForce GTX 400 to the 500 series.

Nvidia offers highly successful GF104 and GF106 products (GeForce GTX 460 and GTS 450, respectively) in the segment of affordable high-performance cards, the most likely replacement candidate is the GeForce GTX 470, which uses a slightly stripped-down version of the GF100 chip relative to the GeForce GTX 480. As you already maybe you know the original GF100 was far from perfect, as evidenced by the fact that it was never used in a full 512 stream processor configuration.

We may also suspect that the cost of products based on the GF100 is too far from perfect. This is especially true for the younger models, which used some G100 chips intended for the older GeForce GTX 480. Thus, replacing the GeForce GTX 470 with a new solution at the same price, but with a new GPU, NVIDIA aims to achieve three goals simultaneously: 1) offer a new product in the sub-$ 350 category, 2) getting rid of the burdensome GeForce GTX 480, 3) getting some base while AMD announces its new Radeon HD 6900 series.

The GeForce GTX 570 graphics card was routinely developed by cutting the specifications of the GeForce GTX 580 in order to achieve the performance of the GeForce GTX 480. Nvidia must have found this maneuver possible with the redesign of the GF100 and TSMC's 40nm process. A certain percentage of GF110 chips that are not suitable for the GeForce GTX 580 can be used in less powerful products, which is common practice for both Nvidia and AMD / ATI.

The release of the GeForce GTX 570 and the phasing out of the GeForce GTX 480 and 470 will leave a gap in Nvidia's product line, leaving room for a potential GeForce GTX 560. Such a card could be based on a new version of the GF104 chip with 384 stream processors active. Most likely, the name of the chip will be GF114. In addition, it can be used for the GeForce GTX 590 if Nvidia decides to launch a new dual-processor product.


A closer look at the Nvidia GeForce GTX 570

Positioning

As we noted above, the fully unlocked GF100 never made it to the market and we are still waiting for the GF104 to come out in its full configuration. The GF110 is actually the result of an optimization that was done on the oldest Fermi processor, and it would be nice to do it from the very beginning. And the GF110 is used in the new GeForce GTX 570. As usual, a slightly weaker product than the flagship was developed by disabling some GPU units and simplifying the memory subsystem configuration.

From the specs, the GeForce GTX 570 is even more impressive than its predecessor, the GTX 470. In fact, the new card is a copy of the GeForce GTX 480 and even surpasses it in some respects.

Although the peak memory bandwidth is slightly lower due to the reduction of the bus from 384 bits to 320 bits, the GPU frequency has increased. The most popular resolution for gaming today is 1920x1080 pixels (or Full HD), so the given memory bandwidth is unlikely to affect the performance of the GeForce GTX 570 versus the GeForce GTX 480, while the internal memory (1280 MB) is more than enough. for any modern game.

Increasing the frequency can lead to tangible benefits, since it directly affects not only the computation speed, but also the texture sampling speed. The GeForce GTX 570 texture processors are faster as they can run FP16 textures at full speed.

The graphics core of the GF110 serial processor.

One of the 16 streaming multiprocessor clusters in the graphics core is disabled, so only 480 active ALUs are available out of 512 physically present ALUs.Since each multiprocessor cluster is served by four texture fetch units, the total number of TMUs drops from 64 to 60. The GeForce GTX 570 is exactly the same as the GeForce GTX 480 in this respect.

The memory subsystem, which is directly related to the L2 cache and ROPs, has also been changed. One of the 64-bit memory bus controllers is turned off, which reduced the L2 cache from 768 to 640 kilobytes. Consequently, the GeForce GTX 570 lags significantly behind the previous flagship in terms of scene fill rate, but this is not a serious drawback, since, as noted above, most gamers play at 1920x1080. In addition, the new card is more affordable than the GeForce GTX 480. The GeForce GTX 570 has better performance than the Radeon HD 5870, except that the latter has better performance thanks to its 80 TMU texture fetch units. These blocks are the narrowest thing in the entire Fermi architecture, which has been noted by many expert reviews.

The TDP of the new card is 219W, which is lower than the previous flagship. We'll check this in our own power consumption tests.

Thus, the gamers received a real Christmas present from Nvidia, a video card with a suggested price of $ 349 and, obviously, comparable in performance to the GeForce GTX 480, which previously cost $ 499 at the time of its presentation. In the AMD camp, the old Radeon HD 5870 is unlikely to be a good opponent for the new GeForce GTX 570. The Radeon HD 6870 is slower than even its predecessor, while the Radeon HD 5970 is more expensive. So there are not many offers to choose from at this price point, and getting the full range of modern 3D technologies and high performance in games for $ 349 is a very attractive offer anyway.


PCB design and specifications

The new GeForce GTX 570 will not differ from the GeForce GTX 580 when comparing the reference samples from Nvidia. They have the same PCB design and come with almost the same coolers.

The GeForce GTX 570 has simpler power circuits. More specifically, two power elements are missing in the GPU voltage regulator, as you can see in the photo of the back side of the PCB. This is perhaps the only major external difference between the GTX 580 and the GTX 570. But there is one more thing. Nvidia started using T2 screws for the Torx screwdriver. Such screwdrivers can be easily found today, so they cannot work as a protective measure against overly proactive users.

Without removing the cooler, we can see that there are only four, not six phases in the GPU's voltage regulator. This is all in order to consider lowering GPU power consumption. Another simplification is that 6-pin power connectors are used, one 8-pin is not used. The new PCB design must be inexpensive to be usable for products in the $ 349 range.

The intelligent part of the power circuit is the same as on the older model from the new series. Everything is based on the CHL8266 and APW7088 controllers, which are responsible for the GPU and memory voltage regulators, respectively.

The GeForce GTX 570 may come with memory from Samsung or Hynix. In any case, these are 1 GB GDDR5 chips (32 MB x 32). According to various sources, you can find either Hynix H5GQ1H24AFR-T2C chips with a nominal frequency of 1250 (5000) MHz, or the more popular Samsung K4G10325FE-HC05 chips designed for 1000 (4000) MHz in various GeForce GTX 570 samples. overclocking results, since the default memory frequency of the card is 950 (3800) MHz, which is lower than the nominal frequency for both types of memory chips. As usual, the card can lower its memory frequency to 162 (648) MHz or to 68 (270) MHz in various power saving modes. The memory bus, reduced from 384 to 320 bits, communicates with only 10 GDDR5 chips on board, the two bottom places are empty.

Our sample was produced in the 38th week of 2010. Below is the average (275 instead of 375 in the GPU marking of older models) denotes the quality class. These are the markings for typical Nvidia solutions.

The latest version of GPU-Z correctly displays the parameters of the GeForce GTX 570, so you can just feel free to use it.We can only add that the GF110 card processor has 64 texture units, but only 60 of them are included. However, the increased GPU clock speeds increase texture sampling performance, outperforming the GeForce GTX 480. We should also bear in mind that the GF110 TMUs can handle FP16 textures at full speed, while the GF100 can only do so at half full speed. speed. Textures in this format are widely used in modern games, so the new video card has enough advantages over its predecessor.

MSI Afterburner sees the new card as a GeForce GTX 580. That is, the utility reports memory frequencies as half the effective value instead of a quarter, which would be correct for GDDR5. There is a possibility to control the rotational speed of the cooler fan, but software GPU voltage regulation has not yet been implemented (we used MSI Afterburner 2.0.0). When decoding high-definition video, the GPU frequencies are reduced to 405/810 MHz. In standby mode, the GPU frequency is 51/101 MHz to save power.

The mounting bracket of the GeForce GTX 570 hasn't changed because the card has the same board as its older cousin. Thus, it has two DVI-I ports and a mini HDMI. The holes in the second tier of the bracket are used to exhaust the hot air. Like the older model, the GTX 570 has two MIO slots for an SLI configuration built from two or three cards. Overall, the GeForce GTX 570 is not extreme in terms of connectivity, especially when compared to solutions from AMD.

The cooling system has the same design as the cooler of the GTX 580, but the GTX 570 uses an excellent vapor chamber that looks a little rough and lacks the high-tech brilliance of the older model. The photo above may appeal to fans of the post-apocalyptic genre, but red spots are not rust. The copper base of the camera just wasn't finished properly. The massive protrusion in contact with the GPU, on the other hand, is perfectly polished. A layer of dark gray thermal paste is applied to it. It should also be noted the presence of a square steel frame, which serves to fasten the camera with a soldered heatsink to the PCB using four spring-loaded screws. We do not know the reasons for the change in the design of the cooler. Perhaps these high tech versions of the vapor chamber are cheaper to manufacture. In fact, she can perform her functions as well as her rather high-tech cousin.


Power consumption, temperature, noise

Except for the OCCT maximum load simulation, we measured the power consumption in each mode for 60 seconds. We limited the execution time of OCCT: GPU to 10 seconds to avoid overloading the graphics card's power circuits. Here are the results:

The new card is far from economical, but its peak power consumption of 234W in 3D mode is good enough for its features and high performance. Top GPUs in Nvidia's Fermi series are very complex chips after all. Results in desktop mode and HD video mode are acceptable (you should take into account that the card does not drop the GPU and memory frequencies immediately when it starts to decode HD video).

Thus, the average power consumption of the GeForce GTX 570 is about 23W in this mode. The load on the power connectors is equal to or slightly above 9 amperes even at maximum load such as OCCT: GPU. When running a 3D game, the external power connectors are loaded up to 8.8 amps, which is slightly higher than the recommended maximum of 6.25 amps (75 watts). Like the older models in the series, the GeForce GTX 570 can track its power consumption. When unrealistic loads are detected, such as OCCT: GPU or FurMark, a protection mechanism is triggered to protect it from damage. Overclockers may not like this, but overall it is a smart decision. After all, game cards are meant to run the game, not die from stress tests. This protection doesn't show up in heavy games like Crysis Warhead and we don't think even heavy computational CUDA / GPGPU applications can load the graphics card as hard as specialized tools.

With divisions off and lower clocks, the GeForce GTX 570 is, as you'd expect, colder than its big cousin. Our fears about the new design of the evaporation chamber were not destined to come true. Despite its modest appearance, it does its job well, keeping the GPU temperature at 82 ° C under high load and 25-27 ° C ambient temperature. Temperatures can be higher in hot summers. The AMD Radeon HD 6800 series boasts similar cooling performance, but they have a simpler GPU on board.

The GeForce GTX 570 is pretty much the same as its older cousin in terms of noise. This is quite predictable since both have the same fans and their heatsinks are nearly identical. The younger model is somewhat noisier in 2D mode, its fan rotates at about 1440 rpm. On the other hand, it is quieter under load: the GeForce GTX 580 accelerates its fan to 3000rpm, while the GTX 570 only has a fan speed of 2760rpm according to MSI Afterburner. The noise spectrum of each card is quite pleasing to the ear if you are listening in close proximity to the system unit. The GeForce GTX 480 is much noisier despite the direct contact technology of its cooler. The vapor chamber represents the future of cooling systems for high-end graphics cards.

To summarize this part of our review, the GeForce GTX 570 is as good a balanced solution as the flagship GeForce GTX 580 in terms of electrical, thermal and noise performance.


Conclusion

This testing was pretty boring. This is not because the GeForce GTX 570 is defective or bad at all. On the contrary, the new card from Nvidia consistently performs well in every test, being roughly similar to the previous flagship GeForce GTX 480.

Slightly faster in some tests and slower in others, the new card is the same as the GTX 480 in terms of speed, but much better in terms of price! Nvidia managed to develop a $ 349 card that is as fast as the ex-flagship that was once offered for $ 499 at the time of its announcement. In addition, the GeForce GTX 480 consumes more power, produces more noise, and has some other problems (for example, it does not lower the frequency when connected to two monitors, which can lead to overheating in such situations). The new GeForce GTX 570 has no such problems and is very quiet under low GPU loads.

Thus, the new product from Nvidia is a worthy addition to the GeForce GTX 500 series. It is not only a well-balanced product. In fact, this is the best deal in its price range. Even if you find a GeForce GTX 480 for the same price, the new card should be preferred as it is quieter and more economical. The Radeon HD 5870 can compete with the GeForce GTX 570 in several tests. So while AMD rolls out sales of its Radeon HD 6900 series, the GeForce GTX 570 will remain the top product in the $ 350 category. Today, it is the only choice for gamers who want high performance but cannot afford the GeForce GTX 580.

Pros:

Best-in-class performance

Can compete successfully with GeForce GTX 480;

High performance with tessellation enabled;

Wide range of supported full-screen anti-aliasing modes;

Minimal impact of FSAA on performance;

Full HD hardware video decoding;

High quality HD video with post-processing and scalability;

Support for exclusive NVIDIA PhysX and 3D Vision technologies in selected games;

Wide range of GPGPU applications designed specifically for NVIDIA CUDA;

Low noise level;

Highly efficient cooling system.

Minuses:

No serious flaws were found.