Final Thoughts

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.

Power, Temperature, & Noise
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  • xxtypersxx - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    If this thing can hit 900mhz it changes the price/performance picture entirely, why no overclock coverage in such a comprehensive review?

    Otherwise great write up as always!
    Reply
  • Bhairava - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Yes good point. Reply
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Why do graphics cards cost more than cpu+mobo these days?

    I know there's a different design process and maybe there isn't as much an economy of scale, but I'm just thinking about the days when it was reverse.
    Reply
  • Klinky1984 - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Well you're essentially buying a computer on a card with a CPU these days. High performance GPU w/ high performance, pricey ram, all of which needs high quality power components to run. GPUs are now computers inside of computers. Reply
  • lowlymarine - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    I think it's simply that GPUs can't get cheaper to the extent that CPUs have, since the die sizes are so much larger. I certainly wouldn't say they're getting MORE expensive - I paid $370 for my 8800GTS back in early 2007, and $400 for a 6800 in early 2005 before that. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    High end GPU chips are much larger than high end CPUchips nowdays. The GF110 has 3bn transistors. For comparison a quadcore i7 only has 700m, and a 6 core athlon 900m, so you get 3 or 4 times as many CPUs from a wafer as you can GPUs. The quad core Itanic and octo core I7 are both around 2bn transistors but cost more than most gaming rigs for just the chip.

    GDDR3/5 are also significantly more expensive than the much slower DDR3 used by the rest of the computer.
    Reply
  • ET - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    They don't. A Core i7-975 costs way more than any graphics card. A GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD9 motherboard costs $600 at Newegg. Reply
  • ET - Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - link

    Sorry, was short on time. I'll add that you forgot to consider the price of the very fast memory on high end graphics cards.

    I do agree, though, that a combination of mid-range CPU and board and high end graphics card is cost effective.
    Reply
  • mpschan - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    Don't forget that in a graphics card you're getting a larger chip with more processing power, a board for it to run on, AND memory. 1GB+ of ultra fast memory and the tech to get it to work with the GPU is not cheap.

    So your question needs to factory in cpu+mobo+memory, and even then it does not have the capabilities to process graphics at the needed rate.

    Generic processing that is slower at certain tasks will always be cheaper than specialized, faster processing that excels at said task.
    Reply
  • slagar - Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - link

    High end graphics cards were always very expensive. They're for enthusiasts, not the majority of the market.
    I think prices have come down for the majority of consumers. Mostly thanks to AMDs moves, budget cards are now highly competitive, and offer acceptable performance in most games with acceptable quality. I think the high end cards just aren't as necessary as they were 'back in the day', but then, maybe I just don't play games as much as I used to. To me, it was always the case that you'd be paying an arm and a leg to have an upper tier card, and that hasn't changed.
    Reply

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