Compute

Moving on from our look at gaming performance, we have our customary look at compute performance.

Our first compute benchmark comes from Civilization V, which uses DirectCompute to decompress textures on the fly. Civ5 includes a sub-benchmark that exclusively tests the speed of their texture decompression algorithm by repeatedly decompressing the textures required for one of the game’s leader scenes.

In the game world Civ5 benefits significantly from SLI and CrossFire. For our texture compression test however AFR is more a liability than a benefit. This doesn’t impact the game in any meaningful manner, but it’s an example of how SLI/CF aren’t always the right tool for the job. Unfortunately for both parties, with as few compute applications as there are today, almost none of them benefit from SLI/CF.

Our second GPU compute benchmark is SmallLuxGPU, the GPU ray tracing branch of the open source LuxRender renderer. While it’s still in beta, SmallLuxGPU recently hit a milestone by implementing a complete ray tracing engine in OpenCL, allowing them to fully offload the process to the GPU. It’s this ray tracing engine we’re testing.

SmallLuxGPU only currently supports ray tracing with one GPU, so all of our results are effectively proxies for what would be if the GTX 590 only had one GPU. Not surprisingly overclocks do wonders here, and NVIDIA’s strong compute architecture gives them an easy win. SLI/CF performance will become more important here when we upgrade to LuxMark for our next iteration of our benchmark suite, as LuxMark can handle multiple OpenCL drivers.

Our final compute benchmark is a Folding @ Home benchmark. Given NVIDIA’s focus on compute for Fermi, cards such as the GTX 590 can be particularly interesting for distributed computing enthusiasts, as two GPUs should be able to quickly retire work units.

Folding@Home doesn’t directly benefit from CF/SLI at all. However by dispatching one WU to each GPU it’s possible to double effective performance. With that taken into account the GTX 590 is quite an effective cruncher, particularly when we start looking at overclocking.

Wolfenstein Power, Temperature, & Noise
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  • Ruger22C - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Don't spew nonsense to the people reading this! Write a disclaimer if you're going to do that. Reply
  • The Finale of Seem - Saturday, March 26, 2011 - link

    Um...no. For one, HUD elements tend to shrink in physical size as resolution rises, meaning that games with a lot of HUD (WoW comes to mind) benefit by letting you see more of what's going on, which means that 720p is pretty friggin' awful. For two, 1920x1080 has become the standard for most monitors over 21" or so, and a lot of gamers get 1920x1080 displays, especially if they're also watching 1080p video or doing significant multitasking. Non-native resolutions look like ass, and as such, 1600x1050 is right out as you won't want to play at anything but 1920x1080.

    Now, you can say that there isn't much point going above that, and right now, that may be so as cost is pretty prohibitive, but that may not always be the case.
    Reply
  • rav55 - Thursday, March 31, 2011 - link

    What good is it if you can't buy it? Nvidia cherry picked the gpu's to work on this card and they could only release a little over 1000 units. It is now sold out in the US and available in limited amounts in Europe.

    Basically the GTX 590 is vapourware!!! What a joke!
    Reply
  • wellortech - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Reviews seem to still agree that 6950CF or 570 SLI are just as powerful, and much less expensive. Guess I'll be keeping my pair of 6950s while continuing to enjoy 30" 2550x1600 heaven. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Yeah, these only really make sense if you're going for a 4GPU setup in an ATX box, or have a larger mATX case and want to 2 GPUs and some other card. Reply
  • jfelano - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    You go boy. I'll continue to have a life. Reply
  • The_Comfy_Chair - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Get over yourself.

    YOU are trolling on a forum about a video card on a tech-geek site on the internet. You have no more of a life than wellortech or anyone else here - self included.
    Reply
  • ShumOSU - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    You're 16,000 pixels short. :-) Reply
  • egandt - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Would have been better to see what these cards did with 3x 1920x1200 displays, as obviously they are overkill for any single display. Reply
  • Dudler - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Couldn't agree more, but since we know from the 1,5 GB 580 that the nVida card do poorly in higher resolutions, AnandTech is probably never test any such setup. Expect 12x10 instead, as nVidia tends to do better in low resolutions than Amd. 19x12 is already irrelevant with these cards. Reply

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