|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 Video Card Performance|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 09 November 2010|
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GeForce GTX 580 Detailed
In many ways the new GF110 graphics processor is no different than the original GF100. NVIDIA claims that the Fermi block diagram is identical between the two, and only the ratio of tessellation, shader, and texture units has been refined. This means that the GF110 shares the same 530 mm2 die profile, shared memory, dedicated L1 cache, and 768KB L2 cache as the GF100. The thermal threshold is reduced to 97°C, and the transistor count moves down from 3.2-billion to 3-billion. Benchmark Reviews offers our NVIDIA Fermi Graphics Architecture guide for a more comprehensive look into the Fermi GPU.
NVIDIA's GF110 GPU inside the GeForce GTX 580 maintains the same six 64-bit GDDR5 memory controllers (384-bit total) to facilitate high bandwidth access to the frame buffer. This also means that the same printed circuit board design could have been used for the GTX 580, and it was, but with several new twists. The first obvious change is the lack of blower fan openings in the PCB. The other changes are much more subtle, but make a big impact on functionality.
Circled below are the electronic components responsible for power management on NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580 video card. Benchmark Reviews uses GPU stress tools such as FurMark to measure maximum power usage, although admittedly no video game exists that would ever create comparable power demands. NVIDIA now dedicates hardware circuitry to the task of monitoring power consumption as well as temperature, adjusting performance to protect the graphics card from damage.
With so much circuit board real-estate still undeveloped, add-in card partners may choose to re-design the GeForce GTX 580 PCB so long as NVIDIA offers engineering information. Other changes could potentially include the use of higher-density DRAM modules, replacing the Samsung 128MB 1250MHz K4G10325FE-HC04 GDDR5 IC's with 256MB IC parts such as: Samsung 1250MHz K4G20325FC-HC04 GDDR5, or 1500MHz K4G20325FC-HC03.
NVIDIA designed the GTX 580 for 244 watts Thermal Design Power (TDP), however the 6+8-pin power connections are good for up to 400W on demand. Keep this in mind when shopping for a power supply unit, because NVIDIA recommends a 600W PSU for the GTX 580; although I personally feel that a 800W PSU would be a safer suggestion in terms of upgrade longevity.
NVIDIA has designed triple-SLI capability into their upper-level 'GTX' family Fermi video cards: GTX 465, 470, 480, and now the GeForce GTX 580. Even though SLI and triple-SLI are possible, careful consideration for heat must be given to overclocked computers systems, since multiple GPU's inside the computer case will further extend the CPU's heat range.