Since the rather successful launch of the GTX 580, of which we’ve reviewed both a reference and a factory overclocked design, the only thing holding people back from getting the ridiculously powerful card was its price. Hovering around Rs. 30,000, it’s not a small amount of money by any means and it wasn’t ever going to be what most people could afford. Flagship cards often turn out that way though, so people with tighter purse strings either had to wait it out for their prices to drop – which would often mean waiting for a whole generation or more – or pick up cards that are more affordable, yet suffer from only a very respectable drop in performance. The Galaxy GTX 570 is one such card.
Does it live up to its billing?
Design and Packaging
The reference GTX 570 is very similar to the GTX 580 in terms of design. It houses an identical copper vapour cooling chamber, which should give it the same low-hum noise signature as its big brother. Where it differs is that the 570 only requires two 6-pin PCI-e connectors compared the 6-pin + 8-pin connector requirement the 580 has. The additional vent at the back of the card is also back and while it should provide some more cooling for cards in an SLI setup, users with mid-tower ATX cases should be careful with their wire management so as to not block the vent.
The packaging is pretty standard Galaxy fare, with the very familiar looking box. Inside it is a glossy black box which looks pretty cool, but with absolutely no logos on it. The Galaxy GTX 570 comes bundled with a DVI-VGA adapter and even a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable, which is pretty sweet.
The GF110, the chipset on which the GTX 570 is based on, has the capacity to hold 512 Unified Stream Processors, as shown with the GTX 580. This is similar to the GF100 chipset and the similarities also extend to how Stream Processors are organized into clusters of 32, leading to a total of 16 clusters. The GTX 480 had one of these clusters disabled and the GTX 580 did not, meaning the former had 480 Unified Stream Processors and the latter a full 512. The GTX 570 goes the GTX 480 way in sporting 480 SPs.
The GTX 570 is, at 732Mhz, clocked marginally higher than the 480 (700Mhz) and much higher than the 470 (607Mhz). At 1544Mhz, the shader clock has also been drastically ramped up, but the memory clock and ROP are identical to the 470 at 950MHz and 40 respectively. In comparison, the GTX 580 clocked in at 772, 1544 and 1020MHz. What this could theoretically mean is that the 570 should provide an excellent improvement in performance in shaders and texture - and should comfortably beat even the 480 in those areas – but should be limited when memory bandwidth is involved, even with its 1280MB of GDDR5 RAM.
The results of the tests we performed were quite surprising. The GTX 570 was comparable to the GTX 480 and 5870 and even managed to outperform them in the majority of the benchmarks. Needless to say, it absolutely destroyed the GTX 470 and most importantly, even though the 580 is quite significantly ahead, the price difference wipes that advantage out and then some.
Heat, Noise and Power Consumption
We’ve said it time and again, but NVIDIA really have delivered with their GF110 chipsets. The card only generated about 34C of heat when idle, which really isn’t all that different from the ambient temperature. The temperatures were really stable even under load, measuring in at a respectable 78 degrees.
The noise level is where the GTX 570 really shines. The card is deathly quiet, and barely makes a whimper even at full load. However, there was an occasion where the card kept up with a low-humming noise for an hour or so even when idle which was a bit annoying, but that was a one-off event which we’re tempted to ignore unless it happens again.
Power consumption wise, the card clocks in marginally lower than the 580 and significantly lower than the 480, which is exactly what we expected. The GTX 570 has a minimum PSU requirement of only 550 watts and we’re inclined to believe one would be good with a 650W power supply.
The GTX 570 really does tick all the right boxes. It’s an absolutely fantastic performer for the price it goes at – which should hover around Rs. 22,000 on an average – and offers a significant price advantage of the expensive 580 but at the cost of a performance drop which was smaller than we expected.
The 570 outperformed the GTX 480 too and with its vast superiority in terms of power consumption, heat and noise generation, its impact on the 480 is pretty clear. It should enter the end-of-line phase pretty soon, if it hasn’t already, and though the GTX 470 should stick around for a while yet, we expect it to get hit a price drop soon. The NVIDIA line up with the 580, 570, 470 and 460 looks pretty solid now and with the rumored GTX 560 launch looming, this one-two punch at the top has ensured AMD’s defeat – for now. We’ll be taking a look at the 570’s arch-nemesis, the 6970, next though so keep your eyes peeled.
Published Date: Jan 10, 2011 09:51 am | Updated Date: Jan 10, 2011 09:51 am