Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum Review

tacohunter52 - 2011-01-19 14:24:39 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: tacohunter52   
Reviewed on: February 21, 2011
Price: $369.99

Introduction:

It's been more than two months since the release of NVIDIA's GTX 570. Since this time, we've seen many different versions of this card from different manufacturers and we already know quite a lot about this card. For instance, it uses the extremely powerful GF 110 core and it's a very affordable high performance card. So where do manufacturers go from there?

Today we will be looking at an offering from Palit, the GTX 570 Sonic Platinum. This is an overclocked edition with a custom dual-fan "Mercury Design" cooler. According to Palit, the factory-overclocked Sonic Platinum edition of the GTX 570 will give a 6% performance increase in DX11-based games. This is a nice little performance boost straight out of the box. Along with the performance boost, we should also see the card run silent and cool.

Closer Look:

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum arrived in a box that was very similar to the Palit GTX 470. The box featured Palit's logo, a picture of the card, and some brief information about the card. Flipping the box over reveals some more information about the card, as well as some information about the card's features. Underneath the features of the card, we can see a list of features from NVIDIA. At the very front of the box is a picture of Palit's frog robot mascot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening up the box reveals a very secure GTX 570. The card is encased in an antistatic bag and surrounded by foam. Removing the foam padding that houses the card reveals the included accessories. These are a DVI to VGA adapter, a 6-pin to 8-pin adapter, a driver CD, and a user's guide.

 

 

Now that we've seen what the card comes in, let's see what it looks like!

Closer Look:

The first thing anyone should notice about this card is that its cooler is far from the reference design. Just like the reference NVIDIA GTX 570, the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum is only 10.5" in length and still uses a dual-slot cooler. However, that is where the similarities end. The card features a completely silver design with black and gray decals. Right in the center of the card are two very quiet fans from Power Logic. Each fan is rated at 3500RPM and only 37.65dB. To the left of the fans is a decal with Palit's logo. To the right is another decal with the GTX 570 decal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as connectivity goes, you'll have a bit more than the reference design. You'll be given the standard two DVI ports, an HDMI port, and a DisplayPort. Powering this card is as simple as using two 6-pin connectors. Just as with the reference design, the Palit GTX 570 has a TDP of 219 watts, and the recommended power supply is a mere 550W unit.

 

 

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum once again follows the NVIDIA reference design in that it is equipped with two SLI connectors. This means, if you've got the cash, you'll be able to pair this baby with up to two more GTX 570s for an easy performance boost. The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum also uses the very friendly PCIe x16 2.0 interface.

 

 

Pulling the cooler off the card shows us how different the "Mercury Design" cooler is from the reference cooler. Unlike the reference card, the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum's massive heatsink is built into the fan shroud. The GF110 core comes directly into contact with the cooler's copper base. You may also notice that each of the card's fans have their own power connectors. This is nice to see considering that other dual-fan coolers will use one power connector between the two fans. Palit didn't forget about the rest of the card's components either — taking a look at the cooler's bottom reveals heatspreaders for each of the GTX 570 Sonic Platinum's important components.

 

 

Taking apart this card's cooler was a bit trickier than other cards I've encountered. In fact, removing the cooler was also more difficult than past GPUs. However, it is possible, and once taken apart, the large-finned cooler does nothing less than impress. What appears to be a giant finned array of aluminum spans almost the entire length of the card. Spread fairly evenly amongst these fans are four copper heatpipes, which should help the cooler to dissipate a massive amount of heat. Flipping the cooler over reveals a nice and smooth copper contact for the GF110 core. After seeing just how large this cooler actually is, I have no doubts that it will allow the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum to run cooler than your average GTX 570.

 

 

Finally, we've got the 40nm GF110 core. This baby is packed full of 480 cores, 60 texture units, and 40 ROPS. Not only that, but the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum's core has been overclocked to 800MHz with a shader clock of 1600MHz. Located around the core, we can see the very familiar Samsung memory modules. This 1280MB of GDDR5 memory is on a 320-bit bus and comes factory overclocked at 4000MHz.

 

 

Now that we've got up close and personal with the card, let's take a look at how it performs.

Specifications:

Bus Interface:
PCI Express 2.0 Support
Microsoft DirectX11:
Yes
NVIDIA PhysX:
Yes
NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround Ready:
Yes
NVIDIA CUDA technology:
Yes
NVIDIA SLI Ready:
Yes
NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology:
Yes
Microsoft Windows 7 Support:
Yes
OpenGL Support:
Yes
OpenGL 4.1 Optimization and Support:
Yes
Dual-Link DVI Support:
Yes
Dual-Link HDCP-Capable:
Yes
HDMI 1.4a Support
Yes

 

Features:

 

 

 

All information courtesy of Palit Microsystems @ http://www.palit.biz/main/vgapro.php?id=1451

Testing:

Testing of the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum Edition will consist of running them and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where they fall on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing, with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing, where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel. I will test the cards at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see the effects of any increases in clock speed. The cards are placed in order from highest to lowest performing in the graphs to show where the cards fall by comparison.

 

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocking the Palit GTX 570 was surprisingly easy and just as surprisingly awesome. Before I touched any of the clock speeds, I instantly increased the voltage and the fan speed as high as they would go. I then started increasing the core and memory clocks in increments of ten. After the core clock had gone 100MHz past its original clock, I was expecting problems, but none came. In fact, I was able to continue increasing the clock speed above 990MHz! I must admit I was not expecting this. In my excitement I decided to try and bring the core clock up to an even 1GHz. Sadly, I was instantly greeted with a system crash the moment I tried to run a benchmark. After this, I began lowering the core clock until stability was regained. I then began to fine tune the memory clock. In the end, I was left with a core clock of 993MHz, a memory clock of 1130MHz, and a shader clock of 1986MHz. I must say, I was extremely impressed with this card.

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

In the past, I had used MSI's Kombuster utility to check for stability coupled with the ability to run through the entire test suite. I have found that some game tests would still fail with this utility, so I have moved to testing with several games at maximum settings through several resolutions to verify the clock speeds that are listed below. Why the change? I have found some cards will play fine at a 4xAA setting, but fail when using 8xAA due to the increased graphics load. If it fails, then the clock speeds and tests are rerun until they pass.

   

 

  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
  7. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

Aliens vs. Predator, developed by Rebellion Developments, is a science fiction first-person shooter and is a remake of its 1999 game. The game is based off the two popular sci fi franchises. In this game, you have the option of playing through the single player campaigns as one of three species, the Alien, the Predator, and the Human Colonial Marine. The game uses Rebellion's Asura game engine that supports Dynamic Lighting, Shader Model 3.0, Soft Particle systems, and Physics. To test this game, I will be using the Aliens vs. Predator benchmark tool with the settings listed below. All DirectX 11 features are enabled.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum performed very well at stock settings. Once overclocked, I was pleased to see it performing about the same as the GTX 580. Not bad!

Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA PhysX and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied — in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses — chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

At stock settings, we saw the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum perform about the same as the HD 6970. Once overclocked, the Palit card was able to perform almost the same as the GTX 580.

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum once again performs very well in this benchmark. The overclock brings it even closer to the HD 6970 in each resolution.

Testing:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is an iteration of the venerable first person shooter series, Call of Duty. Despite its long, successful pedigree, the game is not without substantial criticism and controversy, especially on the PC. Aside from the extremely short campaign and lack of innovation, the PC version's reception was also marred by its lack of support for user-run dedicated servers, which means no user-created maps, no mods, and no customized game modes. You're also limited to 18-player matches instead of the 64-player matches that were possible in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite all this, the game has been well received and the in-house IW 4.0 engine renders the maps in gorgeous detail, making it a perfect candidate for OCC benchmarking. You start off the single player missions playing as Private Allen and jump right into a serious firefight. This is the point where testing will begin. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum outperformed the HD 6970 in every resolution except 2560x1600. Once overclocked, the Palit card was able to outperform the GTX 580 in every resolution except 1920x1200.

Testing:

Just Cause 2 is a third-person shooter that takes place on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. In this sequel to 2006's Just Cause, you return as Agent Rico Rodriguez to overthrow an evil dictator and confront your former boss. When you don't feel like following the main story line, you're free to roam the island, pulling off crazy stunts and causing massive destruction in your wake, all beautifully rendered by the Avalanche Engine 2.0. In the end, that's what the game basically boils down to — crazy stunts and blowing things up. In fact, blowing things up and wreaking havoc is actually necessary to unlock new missions and items.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

We once again saw the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum perform about the same as the HD 6870 at stock settings and once again match the GTX 580 when overclocked.

Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes — Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and OpenGL. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

In the Unigine benchmark, we saw the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum's performance trend continue, at least until the 2560x1600 resolution. At this resolution, we saw it perform under the GTX 480, but once overclocked, it was once again able to perform on par with the HD 6970.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter rivals, the Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to become the Dark Knight.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

Both at stock and overclocked settings, the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum performed in the same spot — just under the GTX 580 and the HD 5970.

Testing:

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a first-person shooter developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts for Windows, PS3 and Xbox 360. This game is part of the Battlefield franchise and uses the Frostbite 1.5 Engine, allowing for destructible environments. You can play the single player campaign or multiplayer with five different game modes. Released in March 2010, it has so far sold in excess of six million copies.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum performed just under the GTX 580 in ever category.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista-based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. "Entry" is 1024x768 progressing to "Extreme" at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum performed as the second best card in three categories. In everything else, it performed just under the GTX 580.

Testing:

3DMark 11 is the next installment for Futuremark in the 3DMark series with Vantage as its predecessor. The name implies that this benchmark is for Microsoft DirectX 11 and with an unintended coincidence, the name matches the upcoming date in number (which was the naming scheme to some prior versions of 3DMark nonetheless). 3DMark 11 is designed solely for DirectX 11 so Windows Vista or 7 are required along with a DirectX 11 graphics card in order to run this test. The Basic Edition has unlimited free tests on performance mode whereas Vantage only allowed for a single test run. The advanced edition costs $19.95 and unlocks nearly all of the features of the benchmark and the professional edition runs $995.00 and is mainly suited for corporate use. The new benchmark contains six tests, four of which are aimed only at graphical testing, one to test for physics handling and one to combine graphics and physics testing together. The open source Bullet Physics library is used for physics simulations and although not as mainstream as Havok or PhysX, it still seems to be a popular choice.

With the new benchmark comes two new demos that can be watched, both based on the tests but unlike the tests, these contain basic audio. The first demo is titled "Deep Sea" and have a few vessels exploring what looks to be a sunken U-Boat. The second demo is titled "High Temple" and is similar to South American tribal ruins with statues and the occasional vehicle around. The demos are simple in that they have no story, they are really just a demonstration of what the testing will be like. The vehicles have the logos of the sponsors MSI and Antec on their sides with the sponsorships helping to make the basic edition free. The four graphics tests are slight variants of the demos. I will use the three benchmark test preset levels to test the performance of each card. The presets are used as they are comparable to what can be run with the free version so that results can be compared across more than just a custom set of test parameters.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum performed very well in our 3DMark 11 benchmark. With the exception of the Entry setting, the card was able to perform in second place with its overclock.

Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using MSI Kombuster, which is paired with MSI's Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using the stability test set to a resolution of 1920x1200 using 8xAA. I will use a 15 minute time frame to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will be a 20 minute cool down with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running the overclocked idle and load testing. For load testing the GTX 580 and GTX 570, I will use Crysis Warhead run at 2560x1600 using the Gamer setting with 8xAA looping the Avalanche benchmark scenario, as I have found this to put a load close to that of Kombuster on a video card. This is needed as a way around the current limiting ability of the GTX 500 series when it detects programs that put an unrealistic load on the GPU, which Kombuster does.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

Lower = Better

 

At stock settings, the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum's cooler performed very well. Once overclocked and the fan speed increased to 100%, we saw the idle temperatures drop. The load overclocked temperatures started to get a little bit hotter, but nothing too extreme.

Testing:

Power Consumption of the system will be measured in both idle states and loaded states and will take into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use MSI Kombuster to load the GPU for a 15 minute test and use the peak load of the system as my result for the maximum load. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system. For load testing the GTX 500 series, I will once again use Crysis Warhead run at 2560x1600 using the Gamer setting with 8xAA looping the Avalanche benchmark scenario.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

Lower = Better

 

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum didn't consume too much power at either of its idle settings. Once put at load, we saw the power consumption shoot up just as the temperatures had.

Conclusion:

Many users came to know and love the NVIDIA GTX 480, but as with all components, it eventually had to be replaced. Luckily for us, NVIDIA replaced the GTX 480 with the more power conscious GTX 570. We've seen a few of these cards from different manufacturers and none of them have been a disappointment. Just as with the other GTX 570s, the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum did everything except make me wish I was using a better videocard. The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum offered an immense amount of performance at both stock and overclocked settings. Throughout our benchmarking suite, it was able to continuously perform on par, or better than, ATI's HD 6970. Not only that, but it was occasionally able to offer up performance equal to that of the GTX 580. The GTX 570 Sonic Platinum overclocked extremely well and performing the overclock was surprisingly easy. Once overclocked, the card gave us a fairly large FPS increase in each benchmark. When it came to temperatures, the Palit card wasn't the hottest and it wasn't the coolest. However, the cooler did work very well, all while staying incredibly quiet. As for power consumption, the Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum stayed about 10W under the GTX 580 — at least until we hit load at the overclocked settings. At this point, the power consumption shot way up, but that's alright considering the performance increase we received.

The Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum's performance isn't all you'll be getting when you purchase this card. You'll also receive all the bells and whistles of owning a GPU from NVIDIA. This includes both NVIDIA CUDA and PhysX technologies. Not only that, but you'll also be able to utilize NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround technology, provided you have the correct setup. This means you'd need at least two of these cards in SLI and the correct 3D Vision Ready displays. You will also be greeted with NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology, OpenGL 4.1, and HDMI 4.1a support. Not too shabby of a bundle!

From what I've seen, this is an extremely great video card and its whole package comes at a very affordable $369. However, this may be a bit much for someone looking to build a casual mid range desktop. That being said, I'd recommend this card to anyone looking to build a higher end gaming computer.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: