GeForce GTX 580M SLI vs Radeon HD 6990M CF
The two are powerful enough when tested using single graphics card. So, how about doubled it? It should be perform faster and only enthusiast will intend to get these high-end notebooks. In this post Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 580M SLI and AMD’s Radeon HD 6990M CrossFire setup will be fought head to head to achieve the winner of currently fastest mobile dual-GPU.
The system used the 17 inch Eurocom Panther 3.0 which is a desktop replacement notebook (with around 6kg of weight). It packs a hexa-core desktop CPU: the Core i7-990X (3.46 to 3.73 GHz), 12 GB of DDR3-RAM, and three Solid State Drives in RAID 0 mode (Intel 510 SSDs). It has two models, HD 6970M CF and GTX 580M SLI version which are tagged with 5400 and 5900 Euros, respectively.
The GeForce GTX 580M is based on Fermi architecture (GF114-Chip) and is produced in the 40 nm format. This DirectX 11 graphics card has 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM (running at 1500 MHz with a memory interface of 256 bit), 384 shaders (1240 MHz) and a core which is clocked at 620 MHz. It feature stereoscopic 3D display (3D Vision), physics calculation (PhysX), and general processing (CUDA).
Meanwhile The AMD Radeon HD 6990M has a core codenamed Blackcomb XTX and is also produced in the 40 nm format. This DirectX 11 graphics card is equipped with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM (900 MHz), which has a memory interface of 256 bit. The memory bandwidth of 115.2 GB/s is even higher than that of the GeForce GTX 580M (96 GB/s). But the massive 1120 stream processors is not directly comparable with Nvidia. The same weakness of these high-end graphics cards are their power consumption: 75 – 100 W TDP (single GPU).
Some games were tested by NotebookCheck to compare the gaming performance between NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M SLI and AMD Radeon HD 6990M CF. The framerates of these two high-end dual-GPU cards were always high enough to be playable highest details and resolution settings. Therefore only one high demanding games like Metro 2033 was not fluently playable at ultra settings, Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and Anti Aliasing. The test results showed us that some of games which were tested using the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M SLI run faster than the AMD Radeon HD 6990M CF, like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Need for Speed Shift, Mafia 2, Dirt 3, and StarCraft 2. These games showed that the GTX 580M SLI was on 10-25% faster (GTX 580M SLI is even 66% faster on NFS Shift) than the HD 6990M CF. Crysis 2, Resident Evil 5, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Risen gave us almost the same FPS result (the difference is about 3% of performance). And the rest, including Metro 2033 and Fifa 11 gave the HD 6990M CF more FPS (16% and 60% faster, respectively) than the GTX 580M SLI. Some other test, like DX11: 3DMark 11 showed its outcomes where AMD barely takes the win: 6422 points (Radeon HD 6990M CF) vs. 6199 points (GeForce GTX 580M SLI). But, in the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark, Nvidia takes the lead. Using a resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels, high details, and normal Tessellation settings, the NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 580M SLI delivered an 87.2 fps, while AMD’s Radeon HD 6990M CF system lay further behind at 73.5 fps.
Power consumption matter is one of the things that needs to be concerned. That’s why we include it to our test. At idle, GTX 580M SLI drew less power consumption of 96.9 to 106.8 W than the HD 6990M CF which consumed around 15 watts more (111.8 to 123.9 W). While using 3DMark 06, The GTX 580 SLI fell behind the HD 6990M CF by 17W at load power consumption. Same outcome when we used Bad Company 2 Test, HD 6990M CF consumed nearly 51W less than GTX 580M SLI. Noise Level can be very annoyed when it got too much db. Though they aren’t whisper-silent cards with +40db, on our test HD 6990M CF got quiter around a desible than the GTX 580M SLI at idle. At load, the noise level test showed that the HD 6990M CF is lower pitched than the GTX 580M SLI.
The two of these high-end graphics card are packed in the similar desktop replacement notebook which is has very high price (starting 1000 euros) and some problems, like big form and heavy-weight, high noise emissions, and high power consumption. But despite of that, the double GeForce GTX 580M or Radeon HD 6990M which is connected through SLI or CrossFire can deliver amazing performance in all tests. Although in average GTX 580M SLI has faster performance (around 5%) than Radeon HD 6990M CF, the AMD’s graphics card has more attractive side in a price-to-performance perspective.