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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570

Date: December 10, 2010
Author(s): Rob Williams

To keep the mid to high-end GPU market interesting, NVIDIA has just launched its GeForce GTX 570, a replacement to the GTX 470. It’s priced a bit higher, at $349, but packs extra performance, improved power efficiency and lower temperatures. Is that enough to make it a winner in today’s tight market? We’re here to find that out.



Introduction

When NVIDIA launched its Fermi-based GeForce GTX 400 series this past spring, I don’t think anyone would have imagined that we’d see the 500 series by the end of the year. But, we did, starting with the GeForce GTX 580 last month. What it brought to the table was all of what made the GTX 480 powerful, but also refinements to produce something even faster, more power efficient, and cooler-running. As we discovered in our launch article, NVIDIA did well with this.

After that launch, I had figured it wouldn’t be until early 2011 when we’d begin seeing other GTX 500 models, but I was wrong. It’s clear that NVIDIA is interested in replacing its GTX 400 models as soon as possible with the later parts, due to the number of improvements. As such, the GTX 570 is next on the list, set out to replace the GTX 470, as one might expect.

Similar to the comparison between the GTX 480 and GTX 580, the GTX 570 is meant to be faster than the GTX 470, more power-efficient, cooler, and priced-right. We’ll see throughout this article if NVIDIA hit its mark here as it did for the GTX 580.

Closer Look

As it stands, NVIDIA doesn’t offer a dual-GPU card for either its 400 or 500 series, and as such, the GTX 580 remains its highest-performing card. That card doesn’t have enough oomph to outpace AMD’s dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970, but it does soar past the HD 5870 in most cases. Perhaps with further refinements, and also a die shrink, NVIDIA will once again push out a dual-GPU card.

For those interested, here’s a quick overview of NVIDIA’s current GPU line-up (note that the GTX 470 is for the most part deprecated, but is here for comparison’s sake).

Model
Core MHz
Shader MHz
Mem MHz
Memory
Bus Width
Cores
GeForce GTX 580
772
1544
4008
1536MB
384-bit
512
GeForce GTX 570
732
1464
3800
1280MB
320-bit
480
GeForce GTX 470
607
1215
3348
1280MB
320-bit
448
GeForce GTX 465
607
1215
3206
1024MB
256-bit
352
GeForce GTX 460
675
675
1350
1350
3600
3600
768MB
1024MB
192-bit
256-bit
336
336
GeForce GTS 450
783
1566
3608
1024MB
128-bit
192

As one might expect, the GTX 570 isn’t quite a slouch when compared to the GTX 580, but it does have some aspects scaled back in order for NVIDIA to market it to a slightly different crowd, and at a more tempting pricepoint. Though some of the cores have been decreased, the biggest change is with the drop from 512 to 480 cores, a la GTX 480.

NVIDIA is pricing the GTX 570 at $349, which at this point in time doesn’t seem like much of a deal at all, or a way for the company to start taking back some of the market that AMD has claimed over the past year. NVIDIA claims that the new card will be about 20% faster than the one it replaces, the GTX 470, so in that regard the price hike is reasonable. But at the same time, if the card was priced closer to $300, it’d be a lot more tempting, especially when compared to AMD’s HD 6870. We’ll analyze this a bit more in our conclusion.

For the sake of ease, and time, I am once again using NVIDIA’s provided stock images for this review. If at first you think I borrowed the same images as used in our GTX 580 article, you’re wrong, but don’t worry… both cards are nearly identical aesthetically. That even includes the length, as both cards are 10.5″ long.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570

Like the GTX 580, the GTX 570 features dual DVI ports, and also a mini-HDMI port. This to me pales in comparison to what AMD is currently offering, as you can use a standard HDMI cable right out of the box with one of its offerings. I am hoping NVIDIA can refine the architecture enough here to be able to fit more outputs on the back, for the sake of convenience.

Similar to most higher-end cards on the market, this one requires 2x PCIe 6-pin connectors, and a recommended power supply wattage of 550W. The total TDP for the card is 219W, which is a mere 4W higher than the GTX 470. Given the potential +20% in performance, that 4W could be well worth it.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570

With the GTX 580, NVIDIA introduced its new “Vapor Chamber” cooler design, and as we saw in our launch article, it proved to be quite effective. That cooling design is brought back to the table with the GTX 570, and along with the further power refinements, the card should be able to handle a bit of pressure while running at modest temperature levels.

On the next page, we’ll talk a bit about our testing methodologies and also give the details on the test machine used, and following that, we’ll get right into testing.

Test System & Methodology

At Techgage, we strive to make sure our results are as accurate as possible. Our testing is rigorous and time-consuming, but we feel the effort is worth it. In an attempt to leave no question unanswered, this page contains not only our testbed specifications, but also a detailed look at how we conduct our testing.

Test Machine

The below table lists our testing machine’s hardware, which remains unchanged throughout all GPU testing, minus the graphics card. Each card used for comparison is also listed here, along with the driver version used. Each one of the URLs in this table can be clicked to view the respective category on our site for that product.

Component
Model
Processor
Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition – Quad-Core @ 4.05GHz – 1.40v
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME – F13j BIOS (08/02/2010)
Memory
Corsair DOMINATOR – 12GB DDR3-1333 7-7-7-24-1T, 1.60v
ATI Graphics Radeon HD 6870 1GB (Reference CrossFireX) – Catalyst 10.10
Radeon HD 6850 1GB (Reference CrossFireX) – Catalyst 10.10
Radeon HD 6870 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst Oct 5, 2010 Beta
Radeon HD 6850 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst Oct 5, 2010 Beta
Radeon HD 5970 2GB (Reference) – Catalyst 10.10d
Radeon HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire) – Catalyst 10.8
Radeon HD 5850 1GB (ASUS) – Catalyst 10.8
Radeon HD 5830 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst 10.8
Radeon HD 5770 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst 10.8
Radeon HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire) – Catalyst 10.8
NVIDIA Graphics GeForce GTX 580 1536MB (Reference) – GeForce 262.99
GeForce GTX 570 1280MB (Reference) – GeForce 263.09
GeForce GTX 480 1536MB (Reference) – GeForce 260.63
GeForce GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA) – GeForce 260.63
GeForce GTX 460 1GB (EVGA) – GeForce 260.63
GeForce GTX 450 1GB (Reference SLI) – GeForce 260.63
GeForce GTX 450 1GB (ASUS) – GeForce 260.63
Audio
ASUS Xonar D2X
Storage
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.11
Power Supply
Corsair HX1000W
Chassis
Cooler Master HAF X Full-Tower
Display
Gateway XHD3000 30″
Cooling
Corsair H50 Self-Contained Liquid Cooler
Et cetera
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

When preparing our testbeds for any type of performance testing, we follow these guidelines:

To aide with the goal of keeping accurate and repeatable results, we alter certain services in Windows 7 from starting up at boot. This is due to the fact that these services have the tendency to start up in the background without notice, potentially causing inaccurate test results. For example, disabling “Windows Search” turns off the OS’ indexing which can at times utilize the hard drive and memory more than we’d like.

The most important services we disable are:

The full list of Windows services we assure are disabled is large, but for those interested in perusing it, please look here. Most of the services we disable are mild, but we go to such an extent to have the PC as highly optimized as possible.

Game Titles

At this time, we benchmark with three resolutions that represent three popular monitor sizes available today, 20″ (1680×1050), 24″ (1920×1080) and 30″ (2560×1600). Each of these resolutions offers enough of a variance in raw pixel output to warrant testing with it, and each properly represent a different market segment: mainstream, mid-range and high-end.

Because we value results generated by real-world testing, we don’t utilize timedemos. The possible exceptions might be Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage and Unigine’s Heaven 2.1. Though neither of these are games, both act as robust timedemos. We choose to use them as they’re a standard where GPU reviews are concerned.

All of our results are captured with the help of Beepa’s FRAPS 3.2.3, while stress-testing and temperature-monitoring is handled by OCCT 3.1.0 and GPU-Z, respectively.

For those interested in the exact settings we use for each game, direct screenshots can be seen below:

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

Colin McRae: Dirt 2 - Settings

Colin McRae: Dirt 2 - Settings

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 - Settings

Mafia II

Mafia II - Settings

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 - Settings

StarCraft II

StarCraft II - Settings

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

It’s not that often that faithful PC gamers get a proper racing game for their platform of choice, but Dirt 2 is one of those. While it is a “console port”, there’s virtually nothing in the game that will make that point stand out. The game as a whole takes good advantage of our PC’s hardware, and it’s as challenging as it is good-looking.

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

Manual Run-through: The race we chose to use in Dirt 2 is the first one available in the game, as it’s easily accessible and features a lot of GPU-pounding effects that the game has become known for, such as realistic dust and water effects, a large on-looking crowd of people and fine details on and off the track. Each run-through lasts the entire two laps, which comes out to about 2.5 minutes.

Given that the price difference between the GTX 580 and GTX 570 is $150, it’s nice to see the latter perform so well here. At the same time, we saw some considerable jumps in performance compared to the GTX 470.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
AMD HD 6870 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
76
96.555
AMD HD 5970 2GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
73
87.451
AMD HD 6850 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
69
81.853
NVIDIA GTX 580 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
67
79.349
NVIDIA GTX 570 1280MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
57
66.652
NVIDIA GTX 480 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
53
61.850
AMD HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
52
60.85
AMD HD 6870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
42
53.592
AMD HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
42
50.325
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (SLI)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
44
53.584
NVIDIA GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
42
49.032
AMD HD 6850 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
39
45.135
AMD HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
24
40.385
NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
38
44.090
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, 4xAA
44
58.439
AMD HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, 4xAA
39
50.327
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, 4xAA
35
45.422

All of the cards we test with can handle the game at 2560×1600 with playable framerates, and most of those can handle it with max-out detail settings. So it’s no surprise that the GTX 570 becomes another one of those. It looks like it might be soon time to replace this racing game with another, one that’s a bit more demanding.

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 might not belong to a well-established series of games, but with its launch, it looks like that might not be the case for long. The game offers not only superb graphics, but an enormous world to explore, and for people like me, a countless number of hidden items to find around it. During the game, you’ll be scaling skyscrapers, racing through jungles and fighting atop snow-drenched mountains. What’s not to like?

Just Cause 2

Manual Run-through: The level chosen here is part of the second mission in the game, “Casino Bust”. Our runthrough begins at the second-half of the level, which requires us to situate ourselves on top of a car and have our driver, Karl Blaine, speed us through part of the island to safety. This is a great mission for benchmarking as we get to see a lot of the landmass, even if some of it is at a distance.

AMD has a slight edge with Just Cause 2, and that’s evident in our results here. As a result of that, the GTX 570, which is technically more capable than an HD 5850, churns out the same amount of average FPS. Still, good performance for a card of this pricepoint.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
AMD HD 6870 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
49
65.53
AMD HD 5970 2GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
46
58.998
AMD HD 6850 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
40
55.17
AMD HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
27
38.29
NVIDIA GTX 580 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, SSAO Low, 0xAA
34
43.608
NVIDIA GTX 480 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, SSAO Low, 0xAA
29
39.137
AMD HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, 0xAA
27
38.468
NVIDIA GTX 570 1280MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, SSAO Off, 0xAA
25
46.119
AMD HD 6870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, 0xAA
26
40.787
NVIDIA GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, SSAO Low, 0xAA
33
37.932
AMD HD 6850 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
31
48.391
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (SLI)
2560×1600 – Max Details, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
39
46.988
AMD HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
31
38.230
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, SSAO Medium, 0xAA
31
42.332
NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB (EVGA)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Low, 0xAA
43
48.724
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
39
45.059
AMD HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
35
43.306

Though 31 FPS might be playable for some, it’s not going to be for many. To achieve playable framerates, we had to drop both the objects and water detail down to high, and then disable both anti-aliasing and SSAO. I had expected to be able to retain SSAO, even at a low setting, no cigar. Disabling it netted us an additional 8 FPS… too high of a number to ignore. That changed helped us reach an average of 46 FPS… much better.

Mafia II

For fans of the original Mafia game, having to wait an incredible eight years for a sequel must’ve been tough. But as we found out in our review, the wait might be forgotten as the game is quite good. It doesn’t feature near as much depth as say, Grand Theft Auto IV, but it does a masterful job of bringing you back to the 1940’s and letting you experience the Mafia lifestyle.

Mafia II

Manual Run-through: Because this game doesn’t allow us to save a game in the middle of a level, we chose to use chapter 7, “In Loving Memory…”, to do our runthrough. That chapter begins us on a street corner with many people around, and from there, we run to our garage, get in our car, and speed out to the street. Our path ultimately leads us to the park, and takes close to two minutes to accomplish.

The GTX 570 performs quite well here, averaging out to 42 FPS at 2560×1600. Not ideal, but not bad given how rich with detail this game is.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
AMD HD 5970 2GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX High, 2xAA
28
55.292
NVIDIA GTX 580 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX High, 2xAA
26
47.695
AMD HD 6870 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX High, 0xAA
28
82.029
AMD HD 6850 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX High, 0xAA
28
69.177
NVIDIA GTX 570 1280MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX High, 0xAA
23
62.435
NVIDIA GTX 480 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX High, 0xAA
23
61.922
AMD HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX Medium, 0xAA
39
60.947
AMD HD 6870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX Medium, 0xAA
33
54.626
NVIDIA GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX Medium, 0xAA
30
50.955
AMD HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX Medium, 0xAA
27
38.468
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (SLI)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX Off, 0xAA
35
49.230
AMD HD 6850 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX Off, 0xAA
34
44.377
AMD HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX Off, 0xAA
33
39.252
NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, PhysX Off, 0xAA
27
38.625
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Medium Shadows, Medium Geometry, SSAO Off, 0xAA
30
44.030
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, PhysX Off, 0xAA
38
46.118
AMD HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
1920×1080 – Medium Detail, PhysX Off, 0xAA
32
47.660

For the most part, 40 FPS is totally playable, but with a card that offers such good performance, we wanted to see if we could reach something much higher, so that performance is never a concern. Because anti-aliasing is almost useless in this game, that can be easily removed for a performance gain, and at the same time, PhysX can be enabled. In the end, we hit about 62 FPS at 2560×1600. That’s easily worth the loss of anti-aliasing that’s not even noticed in the first place.

Metro 2033

One of the more popular Internet memes for the past couple of years has been, “Can it run Crysis?”, but as soon as Metro 2033 launched, that’s a meme that should have died. Metro 2033 is without question one of the beefiest games on the market, and though it supports DirectX 11, it’s almost a feature worth ignoring, because the extent you’ll need to go to in order to see playable framerates isn’t likely going to be worth it.

Metro 2033

Manual Run-through: The level we use for testing is part of chapter 4, called “Child”, where we must follow a linear path through multiple corridors until we reach our end point, which takes a total of about 90 seconds. Please note that due to the reason mentioned above, we test this game in DX10 mode, as DX11 simply isn’t that realistic from a performance standpoint.

The performance of the GTX 570 is quite good here, with it running head-to-head with the GTX 480, which just a couple of months ago, was far more expensive. It still falls a bit behind the GTX 580, but that’s to be expected.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
AMD HD 6870 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
46
64.47
AMD HD 5970 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
40
60.182
AMD HD 6850 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
41
57.134
NVIDIA GTX 580 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
31
40.94
NVIDIA GTX 480 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
46
62.563
NVIDIA GTX 570 1280MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
44
61.043
AMD HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
39
60.947
AMD HD 6870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
38
54.442
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (SLI)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
32
50.060
NVIDIA GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
35
49.220
AMD HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
30
47.746
AMD HD 6850 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
34
44.377
NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB (EVGA)
1920×1080 – High Detail, DX10, 0xAA
45
66.894
AMD HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
1920×1080 – High Detail, DX10, 0xAA
30
44.030
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
1920×1080 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
32
52.555
AMD HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
1920×1080 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
32
47.660
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
1920×1080 – Medium Detail, DX10, 0xAA
30
47.608

Like our other high-end parts, we had to decrease the detail level to medium in order to get playable framerates, in this case, 61 FPS.

StarCraft II

Of all the games we test, it might be this one that needs no introduction. Back in 1998, Blizzard unleashed what was soon to be one of the most successful RTS titles on the planet, and even as of today, the original is still heavily played all around the world – even in actual competitions. StarCraft II of course had a lot of hype to live up to, and it did, thanks to its intense gameplay and superb graphics.

StarCraft II

Manual Run-through: The portion of the game we use for testing is part of the Zero Hour mission, which has us holding fort until we’re able to evacuate. Our saved game starts us in the middle of the mission, and from the get-go, we build a couple of buildings and concurrently move our main units up and around the map. Total playtime lasts about two minutes.

StarCraft II is a good-looking game, but it doesn’t require a powerhouse to run. In fact, at most resolutions, cards like the GTX 570 just can’t be touched.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
AMD HD 5970 2GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
55
89.972
NVIDIA GTX 580 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
40
82.005
AMD HD 6870 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
48
81.989
NVIDIA GTX 480 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
25
72.674
AMD HD 6850 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
40
71.905
NVIDIA GTX 570 1280MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
35
67.898
AMD HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
31
57.28
NVIDIA GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
20
55.961
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (SLI)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
32
52.565
AMD HD 6870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
34
52.115
AMD HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
32
48.787
AMD HD 6850 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
26
44.456
NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
25
41.306
AMD HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
20
32.986
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
19
32.561
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
17
30.515
AMD HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
23
37.297
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
22
33.331

It goes without saying, on a card like the GTX 570, you can run any settings you please, at any resolution. If only more games were like this!

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Although we generally shun automated gaming benchmarks, we do like to run at least one to see how our GPUs scale when used in a ‘timedemo’-type scenario. Futuremark’s 3DMark 11 is without question the best such test on the market, and it’s a joy to use, and watch. The folks at Futuremark are experts in what they do, and they really know how to push that hardware of yours to its limit.

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Similar to a real game, 3DMark 11 offers many configuration options, although many (including us) prefer to stick to the profiles which include Performance, and Extreme. Depending on which one you choose, the graphic options are tweaked accordingly, as well as the resolution. As you’d expect, the better the profile, the more intensive the test. The benchmark doesn’t natively support 2560×1600, so to benchmark with that, we choose the Extreme profile and simply change the resolution.

According to 3DMark, the GTX 570 has the raw performance to outpace any of AMD’s single-GPU solutions, and by a reasonable margin at resolutions like 1920×1080.

Unigine Heaven 2.1

While Futuremark is a well-established name where PC benchmarking is concerned, Unigine is just beginning to become exposed to people. The company’s main focus isn’t benchmarks, but rather its cross-platform game engine which it licenses out to other developers, and also its own games, such as a gorgeous post-apocalytic oil strategy game. The company’s benchmarks are simply a by-product of its game engine.

Unigine Heaven 2.1

The biggest reason that the company’s “Heaven” benchmark grew in popularity rather quickly is that both AMD and NVIDIA promoted it for its heavy use of tessellation, a key DirectX 11 feature. Like 3DMark Vantage, the benchmark here is overkill by design, so results here aren’t going to directly correlate with real gameplay. Rather, they showcase which card models can better handle both DX11 and its GPU-bogging features.

Identical to the results we saw with 3DMark 11, Unigine’s tessellation push still puts the GTX 570 above all single-GPU AMD solutions.

Power & Temperatures

To test our graphics cards for both temperatures and power consumption, we utilize OCCT for the stress-testing, GPU-Z for the temperature monitoring, and a Kill-a-Watt for power monitoring. The Kill-a-Watt is plugged into its own socket, with only the PC connect to it.

As per our guidelines when benchmarking with Windows, when the room temperature is stable (and reasonable), the test machine is boot up and left to sit at the desktop until things are completely idle. Because we are running such a highly optimized PC, this normally takes one or two minutes. Once things are good to go, the idle wattage is noted, GPU-Z is started up to begin monitoring card temperatures, and OCCT is set up to begin stress-testing.

To push the cards we test to their absolute limit, we use OCCT in full-screen 2560×1600 mode, and allow it to run for 15 minutes, which includes a one minute lull at the start, and a four minute lull at the end. After about 5 minutes, we begin to monitor our Kill-a-Watt to record the max wattage.

In the case of dual-GPU configurations, we measure the temperature of the top graphics card, as in our tests, it’s usually the one to get the hottest. This could depend on GPU cooler design, however.

Note: Due to power-related changes NVIDIA made with the GTX 580 & GTX 570, we couldn’t run OCCT on that GPU. Rather, we had to use a run of the less-strenuous Heaven benchmark.

Because NVIDIA changed the way power throttling occurs on the GTX 500 series, running a program like OCCT or Furmark isn’t appropriate, because both the temperatures and power consumption results are going to be incorrect. As an example, while running OCCT on the GTX 580, the card recognized that it was being stressed too hard and throttled its voltages, resulting in an overall system draw of 319W. By comparison, a Heaven run resulted in 418W as seen above.

Being that the GTX 570’s TDP is 319W, 4W higher than the GTX 470, we can see the “improvements” NVIDIA made to its power efficiency. The GTX 470 scored 393W at full load, and the GTX 570 hit 253W. We’re still evaluating methods to produce more reliable power results. NVIDIA certainly turned the tables on our methods here, that’s for sure.

Final Thoughts

Has NVIDIA’s latest product done enough to end the year on a high note for the company? That all depends on your perspective of things, but what we do have here is a mostly attractive offering. More often than not, the GeForce GTX 570 was considerably faster in our tests over the GTX 470, so as a direct replacement, that in itself is noteworthy.

To add to it, the power consumption hasn’t increased much, if at all, and neither have the temperatures. Unfortunately, due to NVIDIA’s recent changing of it’s internal power handling, tools we normally use simply can’t be here, so we’ve been unable up to this point to deliver accurate idle and max TDPs. Even 3DMark Vantage doesn’t manage to push the GPU hard enough to see a huge power draw, so NVIDIA in effect, screwed our power consumption tests over. This is not a bad thing per se. We’re still working to find a verdict on that.

By the looks of things, NVIDIA’s not alone, as AMD’s Radeon HD 6900 series could have similar power tweaks, and whether or not they are as “effective” to the extent of NVIDIA’s, we’re going to have to find a better solution to test out power consumption, because as it is, we simply can’t using our typical methods. Still, judging by the TDP values the company gave us, the GTX 570 is in a good spot, at around 219W.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570

All of that taken into consideration, is the GTX 570 a winner? Again, it comes down to personal preference. By no means is the GTX 570 overpriced, as the improvements seem to warrant the minor price hike, but whether or not people are going to jump all over a GPU that simply raises the bar and price at the same time is yet to be seen.

The GTX 470 has been priced at around $260 for the past month or so, and the GTX 570, despite being just 20% on average faster, costs $90 more, to settle in at $350. That’s kind of high, as someone could no doubt purchase two GPUs at half that price and see far improved performance. If the GTX 570 was priced at around $300, it’d almost be a no-brainer, but at $350, it’s treading in high-end territory, and it’s going to be a tough sell given the performance of other configurations.

The GTX 570 is far from being a poor release, but its price is going to need to be reduced for it to really gain some traction into the market, because after analyzing our results, the GTX 470 at this point in time is going to deliver the best bang for the bank in this comparison. Things might also change in the weeks ahead when AMD launches its Radeon HD 6900 series, so before buying anything, I highly recommend you wait for our analysis on the situation after that happens.

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