A Closer Look
The GeForce GTX 570 & 580 are some of the few graphics cards that use a vapor-chamber technology heatplate to maximize heat transfer between the GPU and the rest of the heatsink. You can also see above that the heatsink cools secondary components like voltage regulation circuitry and memory chips. Overall this seems to be a very capable thermal solution but that also increases its price.
Instead of the 6+8 power configuration on the GeForce GTX 580, ASUS has chosen a 6+6 PCI-Express power setup which is sufficient for this card.
In order to stay within the 300 W power limit, NVIDIA has added a power draw limitation system to their GTX 570 and GTX 580. When either Furmark or OCCT are detected running by the driver, three Texas Instruments INA219 sensors measure the inrush current and voltage on all 12 V lines (PCI-E slot, 6-pin, 8-pin) to calculate power. As soon as the power draw exceeds a predefined limit, the card will automatically clock down and restore clocks as soon as the overcurrent situation has gone away. NVIDIA emphasizes this is to avoid damage to cards or motherboards from these stress testing applications and claims that in normal games and applications such an overload will not happen. I am still concerned that with heavy overclocking, especially on water and LN2 the limiter might engage, and reduce clocks which results in reduced performance. Real-time clock monitoring does not show the changed clocks, so besides the loss in performance it could be difficult to detect that state without additional testing equipment or software support.
The second picture shows the jumps in power consumption over time while running Furmark. Compared to the GeForce GTX 580, it seems that the card can now enter several low-frequency states whereas on the GTX 580 it could only reduce the clock speed by 50%.
The GDDR5 memory chips are made by Samsung, and carry the model number K4G10325FE-HC04. They are specified to run at 1250 MHz (5000 MHz GDDR5 effective).
Just like on the GeForce GTX 480 and 580, NVIDIA uses a CHiL CHL 8266 voltage regulator on their card. This controller offers extensive monitoring and voltage control options via I2C, so it's a great choice for overclockers.
NVIDIA's GeForce 110 graphics processor is made on a 40 nm process at TSMC Taiwan. It uses approximately 3.0 billion transistors which is 200 million less than the GF100. Please note that the silvery metal surface you see is the heatspreader of the GPU. The actual GPU die is sitting under the heatspreader. According to NVIDIA, the die size of the GF110 graphics processor is 520 mm².