NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 570: Filling In The Gapsby Ryan Smith on December 7, 2010 9:00 AM EST
If we took the conclusion from our GeForce GTX 580 article and replaced 580, 480, and 6870CF with 570, 470, and 6850CF respectively, our final thoughts would be almost identical. But then the GTX 580 and GTX 570 are almost identical too.
Whereas the GTX 580 took a two-tiered approach on raising the bar on GPU performance while simultaneously reducing power consumption, the GeForce GTX 570 takes a much more single-tracked approach. It is for all intents and purposes the new GTX 480, offering gaming performance virtually identical to the GTX 480 at a lower price, and with less power consumption along with lower temperatures and less noise. As a lower tier GF110 card the GTX 570 won’t wow the world with its performance, but like the GTX 580 it’s a solid step forward. In this case it’s a solid step towards bringing yesterday’s performance to the market at a lower price and with power/thermal/noise characteristics better suited for more systems. If nothing else, NVIDIA has translated the GTX 580’s excellent balance of performance and noise to a lower priced, lower performing tier.
Furthermore at $350 NVIDIA is the only game in town for single-GPU cards for the time being. Until an AMD competitor comes along NVIDIA has done a good job of filling the gap between the GTX 580 and GTX 470, an action very reminiscent of the GTX 470 and how it filled the gap between the Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 earlier this year. With no single card alternative on the market right now the only competition is the GeForce GTX 460 1GB SLI and the Radeon HD 6850 CF. The Radeon in particular should not be underestimated – it can trounce the GTX 570 almost at will – however it’s dogged by the fact that 6850 prices are running high right now, putting it at a $30+ price premium over the GTX 570. And of course both multi-GPU solutions face the usual caveats of uneven performance scaling, more noise, and a reliance on driver updates to unlock the 2nd GPU on new games. As with the GTX 580 we’d pick the simplicity of a single-GPU setup over the potential performance advantages of a multi-GPU setup, but this is as always a personal decision.
As a gap-filler the GTX 570 is largely what we expected the moment we saw the GTX 580 and we have no serious qualms with it. The one thing that does disappoint us is that NVIDIA is being conservative with the pricing: $350 is not aggressive pricing. The GTX 570 is fast enough to justify its position and the high-end card price premium, but at $100 over the GTX 470 and Radeon HD 5870 you’re paying a lot for that additional 20-25% in performance. Certainly we’re going to be happy campers if AMD’s next series of cards can put some pressure on NVIDIA here.
And finally, that brings us to AMD. AMD’s schedule calls for the Radeon HD 6900 series to be launched by the end of the year, and the year is quickly running out. There’s still too much uncertainty to advise holding off on any GTX 500 series purchases (particularly if you expect to have a card for Christmas), but if you’re not in a rush for a card it could be worth waiting a couple more weeks to see what AMD has up their sleeves. A holiday slugfest between AMD and NVIDIA and the resulting price drops are certainly at the top of our wish lists.