While the GeForce GTX 590 3GB graphics card is large and heavy, compared to the Radeon HD 6990 4GB card released just a couple weeks prior, it seems svelte.
The first look at the card doesn't indicate it as being as "massive" as the HD 6990, though the specs don't differ that greatly. The glossy and matte combined finish definitely makes the GTX 590 stand out and the central fan makes it obvious that this is a dual-GPU design.
The backside of the card is partially hidden by a pair of heat plates to help cool down the 3GB of memory.
Here you can see the triple dual-link DVI connections and the mini-DP port for a total of four monitors on a single card. This is a great thing to see on an NVIDIA GPU solution as we have become quite used to 3-6 monitor capabilities on the Radeon HD 5000 and 6000 lineup of cards. Not only that, but with support for three dual-link DVI monitors, the GTX 590 actually can run a three monitor NVIDIA Surround configuration more simply than the HD 6990 can - no need for adapters or dongles.
The card supports a single SLI connector allowing you to connect another GTX 590 for a Quad SLI configuration if you feel like shelling out $1400 on GPUs. Unlike the Radeon HD 6990, I do not believe the GTX 590 supports adding in just a GTX 580 for 3-GPUs in your rig.
As we mentioned on the previous page, the GeForce GTX 590 3GB card requires a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connections to run and it will indeed use all of the power available to them from your power supply. NVIDIA rates this card at only 365 watts (compared to the 375 watts on the HD 6990) but in our testing the NVIDIA card still uses more power under stock conditions.
The GeForce logo here also holds a surprise:
When powered on correctly, the logo lights up with a green/white combination that is pretty to look at. This isn't an activity indicator or anything; no flashing during gaming. But it adds a nice touch a $700 part of your PC.
Unlike the Radeon HD 6990 that is extremely boxy and uses every single bit of space that a dual slot configuration offers, NVIDIA's GTX 590 shroud design actually dips slightly just behind the external connections and throughout the remainder of the card design. This allows more space for cool air to find its way into the central fan when the GTX 590 is placed right up against another add-in card.
To give you an idea of this card's size, here it is (top) placed next to a GeForce GTX 580. Clearly the PCB on the GTX 590 is longer, but not by very much and because of the slimmer shroud design on it, it just "looks" nicer.
In contract, the HD 6990 just LOOKS much much larger, even though it is only one inch longer and slightly taller throughout.
To get that length difference across, here is a better angle.
Taking the cover off the GTX 590 reveals the single fan in the center as well as the two vapor chamber based coolers over each GF110 GPU. The card is definitely shorter than the HD 6990 but there isn't any room to spare on the design.
The completely naked reveal on the GTX 590 shows us not only the GF110 GPUs but also the nForce PCI Express bridge chip that interfaces with the PCIe interface.
Overall, I find the new GeForce GTX 590 3GB card to have a better design in terms of form and function than the Radeon HD 6990 but how much that actually means to consumers will vary from gamer to gamer. If you are more interested in performance, power and noise testing, then continue on, my friends.