The best choice for die-hard gamers today, but we’d wait for AMD’s efforts before making a purchase.
Nvidia launched its latest graphics card architecture, the GeForce 500 series in November. At around £400 for the first card, the GTX 580, it was prohibitively expensive for all but the richest gamers. The series is a tweaked version of its 400 series, which only launched back in April, rather than an entirely reworked design.
The new GTX 570 certainly isn’t cheap, with prices starting at around £280 at launch, but it’s still a massive saving over the first card. The changes aren’t as dramatic as you might expect given the drop in price. The new architecture is based around clusters of shader processors, called streaming multiprocessors. The GTX 570 has 15 of these, only one less cluster than the 16 on the GTX 580. This undoubtedly has increased the yields of workable chips coming from Nvidia’s fabrication plant, and will account for part of the reduction in price.
Nvidia has also reduced the amount of memory from 1,536MB to 1,280MB. Given how the architecture works, with individual bus lanes for each memory chip, this has also reduced the memory bus to 320-bit, though this is still fast enough to prevent any bottleneck here. Memory speed has reduced too, with the GDDR5 memory running at 950MHz, down from 1,002MHz. Core clock speed has dropped by just 40MHz to 732MHz.
Despite these specification changes, performance was still stunning. It scored a stunning 47.5fps in our DirectX 11 Stalker benchmark, with High detail at 1,920×1,080 with 4x anti-aliasing. A similar test in Crysis produced 53.4fps, and when pushing detail levels up to Very High we still got a playable 38.0fps – the first time we’ve seen a card cope with this still demanding game at top-end settings. We also ran the just-released 3DMark 11; we used our own custom settings (Performance level, but at 1,920×1,080, with 4x anti-aliasing and 8x anisotropic filtering) and got a score of 1,727 – which we’ll be making reference to in future reviews.
|Interface||PCI Express x16 2.0|
|Slots taken up||2|
|Graphics Processor||Nvidia GeForce GTX 570|
|GPU clock speed||732MHz|
|Architecture||480 stream processors|
|Power leads required||2x 6-pin PCI Express|
|3DMark Vantage 1680||N/A|
|Call of Duty 4 1680 4xAA||89.0fps|
|Call of Duty 4 1440 4xAA||89.2fps|
|Crysis 1680 High 4xAA||68.5fps|
|Crysis 1440 High 4xAA||78.0fps|