|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 Video Card Performance|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 09 November 2010|
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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
UPDATE 11-NOV-2010: This article has been updated to provide results for two $229 EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW video cards in SLI.
Beginning with frame rate performance, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 video card competes at a level comparable to the dual-GPU ATI Radeon HD 5970 and occasionally matched up well against a pair of AMD Radeon HD 6870's in CrossFireX configuration. All three of these options share the same $500 price point, and both offer similar DirectX 11 functionality. In comparison to the Fermi GF100-powered GeForce GTX 480, the GF110 proved that GeForce GTX 580 was far more than an added streaming multiprocessor and clock speed increase; it was the perfect blend of tessellation, shaders, and texture units we first witnessed with the GF104 inside GeForce GTX 460.
In our DirectX 10 tests, 3D Mark Vantage had the GeForce GTX 580 trailing slightly behind the Radeon HD 5970 and CrossFire 6870's in Jane Nash, but then it comes back and matches or exceeds them in New Calico. Crysis Warhead matches the GeForce GTX 580 to the Radeon HD 5970 equally, and both trail behind the Radeon 6870's in CrossFire. In our DirectX 11 tests, Aliens vs Predator puts the GeForce GTX 580 video card behind the Radeon 5970 and CrossFire 6870's, and then positions it between them for Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Then BattleForge, Lost Planet 2, and Mafia II all report the GeForce GTX 580 even with, or outperforming, the Radeon HD 5970 and CrossFire 6870's. Testing with Metro 2033 the GeForce GTX 580 takes a turn South, and both Radeon contenders surpass it. Tom Clancy's HAWX2 clearly works better with GeForce tessellation, putting the GTX 580 and all other NVIDIA products way ahead of AMD Radeon video cards. Finally, the Unigine Heaven benchmark confirms the trends we've seen in all the tests leading up to this, and position the GeForce GTX 580 slightly ahead of the dual-GPU ATI Radeon HD 5970 and trailing shortly behind a pair of AMD Radeon HD 6870's in CrossFireX.
Appearance is a more subjective matter since the rating doesn't have benchmark scores to fall back on. Partners traditionally offer their own unique twist on the design, with improved cooling solutions and colorful fan shroud designs. This might not happen with the GeForce GTX 580, because the video card operates so efficiently that improving an already effective cooling solution would be superfluous. The reference design allows nearly all of the heated air to externally exhaust outside of the computer case, which could be critically important to overclockers wanting the best possible environment for their computer hardware. This deep shroud chamfer also preserves the Fermi GF110 GPU in SLI sets. Overall, the GTX 580 might not look as tough as the GTX 480, but it doesn't need to overcompensate by exposing a few heat-pipes.
Defining value at the premium-priced high-end segment isn't easy, because hardware enthusiasts know that they're going to pay top dollar to own the top product. Even still, value is a fast moving target because the price on these products literally changes by the minute in this industry. NVIDIA suggests that the GeForce GTX 580 video card launch with a retail price of $499.99. It's expected that many of their add-in card partners will bundle a game or factory overclock the GPU to further increase the overall product value. Using the suggested pricing in conjunction with NewEgg's lowest average product pricing (as of 08 November 2010), the cost per frame performance analysis is illustrated in the charts below:
In summary, the GF110 GPU inside the GTX 580 clearly contrasts how far off the mark GF100 was when it launched with GTX 480, possibly lending credibility to the leap in series number (GeForce 400 vs 500). The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 redeems the Fermi architecture with performance results the enthusiast community can finally appreciate, along with reduced power consumption and thermal output everyone can be grateful for. These are all impressive enhancements to the series, and some will argue that it's what NVIDIA should have done with Fermi from the start.
Taking all aspects of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 into consideration, there's really a lot more to like about the Fermi architecture now. The GF110 graphics processor finally has its priorities straight, and the dramatically efficient power consumption levels have reduced heat output to their lowest level in many years. The expensive price tag on the GTX 580 is something consumers of premium top-end graphics products might already be used to, but it's hard to like a $500 price point. I find myself reminded that this video card matches performance with a dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 that was priced at $700 for the longest time, and the few remaining models have come down to Earth. And while the GTX 580 proves itself a contender against the 5970, there's still the small matter of two AMD Radeon HD 6870's combined into CrossFire to consider. This will ultimately be a decision for the consumer, who either wants the best overall performance a single card can offer along with several proprietary features benefits only available from NVIDIA, or they'll settle for two lesser products that produce comparable frame rates.
So what do you think of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580 video card? Leave comments below, or ask questions in our Forum.
+ Fastest single-unit DX11 graphics accelerator available
- Very expensive premium-level product
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.