Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC Review (Page 3 of 13)

Page 3 - A Closer Look, Test System

The GV-N570SO-13I GeForce GTX 570 1280MB Super Overclock features the company's WindForce 3X cooler, and appears to be nearly identical as the Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 1GB SOC. As its name suggests, this graphics card has a large heatsink with three 80 mm PWM cooling fans; used to dissipate the heat away from the graphics processor core as well as its memory chips by direct contact. This process is accelerated by a unique vapor chamber and two copper heatpipes -- one on the outside and one on the inside -- leading away from the center block to the large array of fins on the and right. The fins are organized with optimized angles to reduce air turbulence noise (Such a phenomenon is usually caused by straight perpendicular fins), which is essential to designing a silent cooling solution in addition to using quiet fans. The fans itself are also angled to optimize airflow. Meanwhile, as shown in our photo above, the cooler covers the entire length of the non-reference blue printed circuit board measured at 11.5 inches (About 29 cm). The black heatsink carries a clean brushed aluminum finish with Gigabyte's logo at the top. The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC is manufactured in Gigabyte's facilities in Taiwan.

Turning the graphics card around, Gigabyte's signature blue PCB can be seen more clearly. From an aesthetics point of view, I have never really liked Gigabyte's blue motherboards in my windowed case, but as far as graphics cards are concerned that has never really been a problem for me. All connectors come with a blue cap out of the box for extra protection. An array of green LEDs can be found at the top to indicate its current number of active power phases, as well as built in voltage test points to satisfy the most hardcore users among us. Like all modern midrange to high performance video cards, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC occupies two slots, and the rear connector panel takes advantage of this configuration, but the lower bracket is used for ventilation only. Two DVI-I ports can be found next to each other, with a mini-HDMI port on the very right. A mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter is included out of the box. Internally, its SLI bridge connectors are located on the left side of the outer edge. And finally, I don't think I need to mention this, but just in case, the connection interface is PCI Express 2.0.

Five NEC Proadlizer 0E907 900uF film capacitor in parallel for a total capacitance of 4500uF can be found at the top of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC. These components are desired for its electrical noise absorption capabilities; providing low equivalent series resistance and equivalent series inductance (ESR/ESL), high current handling, and high switching frequency. If you are not an electrical engineer and these terms mean nothing to you, that's fine -- they basically do what a regular capacitor does. It cleans up the input power to provide more stable output for better overclocking potential.

Four spring loaded screws with clear plastic washers are located on top of the board to hold the heatsink to the card. Once the four screws were unscrewed, the heatsink came off very easily. With its triple heatpipe and triple fan configuration, Gigabyte promises its WindForce 3X design runs 5-10% cooler than NVIDIA's reference stock heatsink. We will post actual temperature results shortly. Our photo above should provide a little more insight into the hardware used on Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC card. One 8-pin and one 6-pin PCI Express power connector is still located on the outer edge of the board facing towards the side of the chassis -- but for its non-reference design, Gigabyte has 100% Japanese made solid state capacitors, ferrite core/metal choke, and lower RDS(on) MOFSET for improved reliability, lower power consumption, and lower heat output. Combined with its 2oz copper PCB, Gigabyte markets this as its Ultra Durable design. I have owned many Gigabyte video cards in the past with absolutely no problems at all.

The custom heatsink features thermal pads that go over the memory chips to provide additional cooling. The base of the heatsink has also been improved with a decent looking finish for good contact with your processor. With all these in mind, Gigabyte promises reduced power switching loss for 10% lower power consumption, as well as lower noise emission than the competition. We will see how it works out in just a moment.

In the center of it all is NVIDIA's GF110 graphics processor unit, which we have discussed in detail in the preceding page. What's special about Gigabyte's Super Overclock series the GPU Gauntlet -- where the GPU and RAM are specifically cherry picked for better overclocking performance. This GPU is designed to run at 732MHz stock as aforementioned, but Gigabyte gave it a relatively aggressive overclock in the factory firmware to 845MHz; translating to a 15.4% increase from generic cards. Our Gigabyte GTX 570 SOC came with ten Samsung K4G10325FE-HC04 memory ICs for a total of 1280MB GDDR5 graphics memory. That is 128MB per chip, running at 950MHz (3800MHz effective), making it identical to stock NVIDIA specifications. We will see how well it goes above that later on in our review.

Our test configuration as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120
CPU Cooling: Thermaltake Frio (Noctua NF-P12)
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 PRO
RAM: Kingston HyperX KHX1600C9D3X2K2/8GX 2x4GB
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 160GB 25nm; Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB
Chassis: Lian Li PC-Z60 (Noctua NF-S12B ULN)
Power: FSP AURUM CM Gold 650W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

Compared Hardware
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC (845MHz core/1690MHz shader/3800MHz memory)
- AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB (Stock reference)
- AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB (Stock reference)
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 1GB OC (830MHz core/1660MHz shader/4008MHz memory)
- Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 1GB SOC (950MHz core/4400Mz memory)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 1280MB (Stock reference)

Page Index
1. Introduction, Specifications, Bundle
2. NVIDIA GTX 570 Architecture
3. A Closer Look, Test System
4. Benchmark: 3DMark 11
5. Benchmark: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
6. Benchmark: Call of Duty: Black Ops
7. Benchmark: Colin McRae: DiRT 2
8. Benchmark: Far Cry 2
9. Benchmark: Just Cause 2
10. Benchmark: Metro 2033
11. Benchmark: Unigine: Heaven v2.5
12. Power Usage, Temperature, Noise
13. Overclocking and Conclusion