If you have a comfortable budget, both AMD and nVidia sell powerful graphics cards at a high premium, with nVidia’s dual-GPU GTX 590 costing as much as £600. That’s a serious amount of money to spend on upgrading a gaming PC.
If you don’t want to spend that much, but still want an upgrade that’s going to make mincemeat out of any game you may throw at it for a few years, at £250 PNY’s GeForce GTX 570 Performance Edition is a more affordable alternative, but one that doesn’t compromise on performance.
Despite the name, PNY’s Performance Edition GeForce GTX 570 sticks closely to nVidia’s reference design, with the same 732MHz core clock speed and its 480 shader processors running at the same 1464MHz. It has 1280MB of video memory, and a mighty 480-bit bus, which delivers a whopping 152GB/sec of memory bandwidth – although its texture fill rate is slightly lower than the GTX 560 TI, at 43.9GT/sec.
In our Battlefield: Bad Company 2 test, we found that it blew AMD’s identically priced Radeon HD 6970 out of the water, achieving a better result of 128.7fps in 1280 x 1024, which is around 8 per cent faster. In 1920 x 1080 the performance gap was smaller, but the GTX 570 was still further ahead, with a frame rate of 90fps. In Stalker, the GTX 570 also performed significantly better at lower resolutions, while the two cards were roughly equal at 1920 x 1080. We noticed that it performed slightly worse than the Radeon HD6970 in Crysis.
The card needs two six-pin power connectors, and adaptors are included if your PSU doesn’t have these. nVidia recommends a minimum of a 550 watt PSU to use the card. In comparison, the HD 6970 has one 6-pin connector and one 8-pin power connector, and also specified a 550 watt PSU.