Nvidia has officially cranked it up to 11. After botching the launch of the GeForce 400 series, the company had to demonstrate that it was still capable of delivering. And it has. A scant eight months after the launch of the GeForce 400 series, Nvidia popped out the GeForce GTX 580 in late November, and now it's ready to release the GeForce GTX 570.
Rolling in with an MSRP of $350, the GeForce GTX 570 is eminently more affordable than the $500 GeForce GTX 580 and comes packed with 480 Cuda Cores running at 1464MHz, and 1280MB of GDDR5 RAM running at 3800MHz. The core clock is pegged at 732MHz. We're essentially talking about a GeForce GTX 580 with a slight haircut. Even more stunning, the GeForce GTX 570 slaps the GeForce GTX 480 in just about every single stat and costs significantly less!
The GeForce 500 series is based on Nvidia's GF110 architecture, which is itself an extension of the GF100 chipset that the 400 series used. One would expect that the new 500-series parts would be substantially changed from the 400 series, but then one would just be wrong. All the bullet points from the 400 series still stand: DX11 support, 3D Vision, Nvidia Surround, and PhysX. The key benefits of the 500 series are an improved cooler, quieter running speeds, and architectural improvements that basically yield a faster-running 400-series part sans the mind-blowing temperatures.
The dual-slot, 10.5-inch GeForce GTX 570 is just as long as a GeForce GTX 480. Its new copper cooler gives it a little more heft, and a rejiggered fan design lowers operating noise. You'll also need only two six-pin PCI Express power connectors to power it--no fancy eight-pin connectors required. When running at full tilt, the GeForce GTX 570 is nowhere near as noisy as the GeForce GTX 480.
Much like Rowdy Roddy Piper in They Live, Nvidia is out of bubble gum and clearly ready to kick something. At $350, the GeForce GTX 570 is a phenomenally strong GPU. ATI has no single GPU solution that can even hope to compete with it at the moment, either on price or performance (although that may change very soon). The $450 GeForce GTX 480 gets either beat or matched by the GeForce GTX 570 in our tests. Let's just go over that again: overall better performance than the GeForce GTX 480, lower power consumption, lower heat output, reduced sound levels, and all at a substantially lower price point. There's really nothing to dislike about this turn of events.
Test System: Core i7 980x, Asus Rampage III Extreme, 6GB OCZ DDR3, Seagate 750GB 7200.11, Windows 7 64-bit. Video card drivers: Catalyst 10.11 and Forceware 263.09.