Crysis: Warhead

Kicking things off as always is Crysis: Warhead, still one of the toughest games in our benchmark suite. Even three years since the release of the original Crysis, “but can it run Crysis?” is still an important question, and for three years the answer was “no.” Dual-GPU halo cards can now play it at Enthusiast settings at high resolutions, but for everything else max settings are still beyond the grasp of a single card.

Crysis is often a bellwether for overall performance; if that’s the case here, then NVIDIA and the GTX 590 is not off to a good start at the all-important resolution of 2560x1600.

AMD gets some really good CrossFire scaling under Crysis, and as a result the 6990 has no problem taking the lead here. At a roughly 10% disadvantage it won’t make or break the game for NVIDIA, but given the similar prices they don’t want to lose too many games.

Meanwhile amongst NVIDIA’s own stable of cards, the stock GTX 590 ends up slightly underperforming the GTX 570 SLI. As we discussed in our look at theoretical numbers, the GTX 590’s advantage/disadvantage depends on what the game in question taxes the most. Crysis is normally shader and memory bandwidth heavy, which is why the GTX 590 never falls too far behind with its memory bandwidth advantage. EVGA’s mild overclock is enough to close the gap however, delivering identical performance. A further overclock can improve performance some more, but surprisingly not by all that much.

The minimum framerate ends up looking better for NVIDIA. The GTX 590 is still behind the 6990, but now it’s only by about 5%, while the EVGA GTX 590 squeezes past by all of .1 frame per second.

OCP Refined, A Word On Marketing, & The Test BattleForge
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  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    There are only 2 reasons this card isn't reference.

    1) Factory overclock, which we can and will nullify for testing

    2) The EVGA backplate. Admittedly I don't have the reference backplate, but the NV backplates shouldn't cause any of our results to differ - the difference is mostly cosmetic.

    For this reason, it's "more-or-less" reference. Technically it's not reference, but once we change the clocks it's quite identical in performance.
    Reply
  • mariush - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Can you explain how can you nullify the modified / improved cooling system of the eVGA compared to reference cards?

    A reference card with stock voltages/frequencies may still run worse than this eVGA when downclocked, for example because on the reference card the voltage regulators may heat more and throttle the card more often.

    Otherwise.... not an ATI fan but it's painfully obvious you're not focusing on this review on things that make this card look bad, like playing on 2 x 1920x1080 monitors or something like that.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    The cooling on the EVGA isn't any different. With such a mild overclock, they're basically just clocking it up a bit; the voltage and the cooling is no difference from reference. Reply
  • etamin - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Where do you get the MSRPs for all the cards on the first page? I'm never able to find any of them at those prices. Reply
  • etamin - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    btw I'm looking at the 6850, 6870, and 6970. They start at $170, $210, and $340 on newegg. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    I factor in Mail In Rebates. if you don't, that's probably why you see prices differently. Reply
  • Ramon Zarat - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Review title:

    ''NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 590: Duking It Out For The Single Card King''

    Comments in conclusion:

    ''...and as a result there is no one card that can be crowned king.''

    LMAO... How to pretend to say someting and actually mean the complete oppsite!

    Now, performance, cost and power ratio is STILL best with the 6990. And that's without even considering multi screen gaming setup. At 1.5Gb Vram, the 590 WILL come up short at 5760 X 1200.

    Ramon
    Reply
  • Silent_Scone - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    But none the less, I think I'll stick with my 580GTX SLi thanks ;) Reply
  • krumme - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    REALLY FAST AT 1080 ON HAWX

    NO NOISE

    OVERCLOCK YOURS NOW !!!
    Reply
  • freedomsbeat212 - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    I hate coming to anandtech sometimes because so many of the comments are from wannabe editors. It's annoying and takes away from the excellent content..

    Why not have an "email correction" button vs taking it out in the comment section? It's weird, I don't see this anywhere else - you guys must be a particularly anal group...

    To go back O/T, I miss the days of powerful sub-$250 graphics cards. There's a market for it but all the action's on the high-end. Remember when the affordable TNT2 would play every recent game at playable framerates?
    Reply

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