GTX590 vs HD6990

GTX590 vs HD6990


Today we take a last look at the current generation of high-end graphics cards. Graphics cards are, in the purest sense, all about shifting the maximum amount of polygons as possible. That’s it.

Except of course things are never that simple. Sure we want to have the highest possible level of performance, but what we don’t want is excess noise, hello air-cooled HD6990, or so much heat you can cook sausages, I’m looking at you GTX480. We also don’t find extreme price points to be desirable, Sapphire Toxic or ASUS Ares please sit down.

So everything is a balance of heat, performance, and general liveability at a reasonable cost. It’s why we currently rate the GTX570 as the best pound-for-pound GPU at the moment because it ticks all those boxes.

But in the same way that the fastest car debate is a feature of bars around the country, so us tech nerds always debate what the absolute performance king would be in an unlimited scenario. Which is why we’re here today, to remove those limits and see which of the current twin-GPU behemoths (the Radeon HD6990 and the nVidia GTX590) reigns supreme.

Heat and liveability are both dealt with by using water-cooled cards. Once you remove the limitations of air being the sole heat dispersal method you unlock the true power of these cards.

Test Setup

I’m sure you’re all familiar with our Shadow H20 setup by now, but for those of you who aren’t here are the specs. The main thing is that we’re using a Intel Core i7-990X overclocked to 4.4GHz. So let’s have no “CPU limited” whining from the back of the class.

nVidia GTX590 on ForceWare 275.33
Radeon HD6990 with Catalyst 11.6
Coolermaster HAF 932 Advanced
Rampage III Black Edition
Intel Core i7 990X @ 4.4 GHz – 200×22 1.35v
Phobya Watercooling:
G-Changer 360
DC12-260 pump
Balencer 150 Black Nickel Res
Nano-2G – 1500rpm PWM fans
Corsair AX850 PSU
Corsair Vengance 12GB RAM
Corsair 80GB SSD

Let’s get down to it then.