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Nvidia continue to come under fire for poor GTX590 design

KitGuru has discussed problems with Nvidia’s GTX590 flagship before, but the reports continue to filter across various forums that some are still failing. We all love a good story, but sometimes it is important to really find out what exactly is wrong.

KitGuru reported before that respected website Hardware.fr analysed the GTX590 with a thermograph.

image taken from Hardware.fr

Their GTX590 testing showed a reading of around 112c under load. Since we reported on this, our readers have been filling our inbox with comments and views on the matter. Some partners have been updating card bioses to supposedly help with power delivery however the main issue is apparently down to a poor VRM design. The very high temperatures are due to the VRM’s being underspecified. Each of the GPU/IMC phases has 35A each, and only four phases per GPU, with one phase for the IMC.

With the DrMOS chips being operated at close to peak forward current rating with a high duty cycle, this is part of the reason of the stress related failures. At very high load levels the DrMOS chips can become very inefficient as they are optimised for efficiency at low loads. Some claim they shouldn’t be used for VRMs for high power electronics in the first place. This inefficiency is adding more wasted heat into the scenario. Nvidia have placed them right under the fan’s dead spot too which doesn’t help with cooling.

Why wasn’t this a problem with the GTX580? Well this card was complimented with 6+2 power phases and the design is dramatically different. It looks as if the bios changes might not be the cure, and many people will be best waiting on third party custom designs from companies such as ASUS which will rectify the poor design aspects of the latest Nvidia flagship card.

KitGuru says: The complaints stretch across the net, and although it looks as if Nvidia could really have sorted this problem before it was released, it may very well be up to the skills of their partners to rectify the VRM issues.

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  • Dave

    IT hasn’t been their finest hour, thats not in argument.

  • Raymond

    seems like a cost cutting exercise to me.

  • Robert

    Looks like Kitguru have become AMD fanboys. Why don’t you guys be fair in your article and also make a thermograph of the AMD HD 6990 under load, or is AMD sponsoring your website?

  • Tony

    @ Robert. So whats better, ignoring the problem totally. is that better? VRMs failing and being reported failing not newsworthy? Funny how fanboys always flame websites for being exactly what they are.

  • Mannined

    I read about this on tomshardware forums over the weekend and it actually looks to be a serious problem for Nvidia, especially over the long term.

    I hope this doesnt end up like one of the threads on fudzilla with name calling and bitching. Id like a more mature debate on it as there are technical issues.

  • Forrest

    KitGuru aren’t biased. They flagged the issues with the HD6990 warranty and wrote about that also. XFX then said they would warranty it. I like the fact this site never kisses arse in reviews. if there is a problem they say there is a problem.

    It would be a good idea for people to start researching VRMS and how important they are in a design and exactly why nvidia have dropped the load on this GTX590 design. Its not good. And no I dont work for AMD or own a HD6990, I still use a 460GTX, but I like being educated on problems. Sweeping them under the rug doesnt help anyone.

  • Kenji

    I bought a GTX460 after the reviews here !

    This is bad from nvidia, I cant say I understand it all, but from what ive picked up, the GTX580 is a much better design and the GTX590 is cutting corners to fit it all on the PCB.

  • faith

    What can be said with authority is that the 6990 card is faster than the GTX590, while drawing less power. That’s not in question. The Hardware.fr article drawns attention to what appears to be a discrepancy between the temperatures being reported by nVidia’s BIOS (which would not seem to be in the danger zone) and the thermal imaging camera (which does appear to show dangerous temperatures). Everyone seems to be in agreement that nVidia can put this issue to rest by publicly addressing the reported issues in a clear and technical sound way. When you are trying to deal with safety concerns, then meeting issues (perceived or real) ‘head on’ – and in a very open/honest way – must be the prefered method, surely?

  • Hakuren

    Seriously, who cares about reference design? Buying one is highly misguided endeavor. Every previous dual-GPU VGA had similar problems. Maybe not so extreme, but the problem was there. In particular in case of reference 590 it is obvious to see that card was made on a budget. Very under-clocked chips, highly inefficient (& cheap) power management. Very stupid of nVidia, but card is out, and now is very much too late. One [tiny] word in defense (regarding test at Hardware.fr) I have is that there was no fan in front of VGA, without movement of air from front of the case to the back it is not really surprising that card peaked at well over 100C. Anyway…

    Just wait for proper, custom design. As we speak Asus, MSI, Gainward and few others doing this with 590 just like Sapphire, HIS and the rest with 6990.

    Furmark as a testing tool is completely pointless. Run normal game or encode HD movie, whatever, and you can cut easily 20-25C of that result.

  • Victor

    Id say the people who bought one and paid £600 for the honor only to have it blow up in their system might care.

    Seriously man, get a grip.

  • Warrior_24x7


  • Bill

    I’ve had an evga gtg590 now for a month with no problems or flame outs. I have an
    accurate laser thermometer and i have not even come close to the temperatures
    that are shone on this site. I was reluctant to buy the gt590 because of all the bad
    mouthing out there, but now I’m glad i did. supper card works great. I plan to buy another one soon and run them in quad sli.