The first thing that has to be said about the GTX 590 is the length which is slightly shorter than the HD 6990 at 28cm long. It's good that the card comes in shorter, but I think the people who are buying this card won't really care.
As for the overall design, we've got a fan that sits in the middle much like the HD 6990. It seems to be a popular design for these dual GPU cards where we have a vapor chamber over each core and then a fan in the middle that blows cool air across each.
Turned over, we've got some plates that cover parts of the card, but not all of it. You can see we've got the GPUs covered of course.
One of my favorite little features of the card is the fact you can see the heatsink at the back of the card. It looks so mean and it helps extract the heat. Sure, it's not the most ideal situation where half the heat goes out the case and the other half goes in, but that's the cost of having the fan in the middle and the same is seen with the HD 6990.
Moving across the top, we've got two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors to power the card and closer to the front we've got a single SLI connector which of course gives us the ability to run up to two cards which in turn gives us a total of four GPUs.
Connectivity is good and something that I was really looking forward to seeing. We've got three Dual-Link DVI connectors and a single Mini-DisplayPort and this is what we've wanted for a long time from NVIDIA. The GTX 590 IS able to run Surround Vision off a single card.
This is really a great ability and when you're talking about these powerful dual GPU cards, it's nice not to need to have two of them to make use of a big multi monitor setup. Of course, what makes it more attractive to a lot of people is the fact that you're able to run DVI monitors and instead don't need to have any form of DisplayPort ones. At the same time, though, it's great to see NVIDIA start to implement the DP connectivity on a reference designed card.
As for the specifications, the card is pretty much a pair of GTX 580s as far as the core specifications go. This is an important factor as AMD of course use what is essentially their two highest end GPUs on a single card.
So what this means is we've got 512 CUDA Cores, 64 Texture Units and 48 ROPs. Of course, in the specs they're all doubled because we're dealing with two cores, but these are the numbers per each core. The card carries with it two lots of 1.5GB memory like the GTX 580 and also like it we have a 384-bit memory bus.
Really, the card pretty much looks like a pair of GTX 580s on a single PCB which is exactly what you want to see from a high end card like this. That is until we look at the clocks which are surprisingly low; so low that I really needed to double check they were correct.
The GTX 580 carries a 772MHz core; that means the Shader clock is 1544MHz and the memory comes in at 4008MHz QDR. The GTX 590 comes with a core speed of 607MHz which means the Shader clock is 1215MHz. Also lower is the memory clock which comes in at only 3414MHz QDR
It will be very interesting to see how performance is. Before we get into that, though, we want to make sure that we've of course got the card up and running properly and down the bottom you can indeed see that we've got 2 GPUs enabled in the SLI section.