Overview

Vying for the fastest graphics card ever title is Zotac's Nvidia GeForce GTX 590.

So tick follows tock, as Intel and that bloke off the Guiness ad would say, and one big graphics card release follows another. It was barely a few weeks ago that AMD hit the shelves with its latest dual-GPU monolith, the AMD Radeon HD 6990, and now Nvidia is here with its first attempt at a DirectX 11 multi-GPU card.

That's not to say this Zotac GeForce GTX 590 represents Nvidia's first foray into the world of the dual-GPU card. Oh no, Nvidia was there in the good ol' days of broken SLI support with the 7950GX2, then the 9800GX2 and finally its last in the shape of the GeForce GTX 295.

They were never particularly popular cards though. Indeed, the 750GX2 was discontinued almost as soon as it hit the shelves. Okay, so that's a bit of an exaggeration, but if you'd just paid through the nose for a brand new card to see Nvidia discontinue support for it a few months later you'd be a little peeved. To say the least.

But the GTX 295 wasn't a bad card and with that we thought Nvidia was back in the dual-GPU card game. We expected that, like AMD before it, Nvidia might hit the DirectX 11 scene running.

Sadly no.

The GeForce GTX 480, its long-touted first Fermi-class GPU was very, very late. It was also very quick, but along with that it ran incredibly hot and very power-hungry to boot. That combo of whopping power draw and insane heat-production meant the first GF100 GPUs weren't something that would be at all happy sharing a piece of PCB with a twin chip.

Fast forward to late last year and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 sneaks out and we find ourselves sitting down with Nvidia's Tom Petersen in a quiet room at its Reading HQ.

All the talk about the GTX 580 was about how cool, quiet and efficient it was in comparison with the GTX 480.

"Does this mean we can start talking about a multi-GPU card from Nvidia again?" we asked.

"With the extra cooling and power efficiency I wouldn't rule it out."

The seriously high-end fruits of the GF110's transistor-level tweaking is here right now; the Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 is one seriously fast little card.