|ASUS ENGTX580 GeForce GTX 580 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 22 November 2010|
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ASUS GeForce GTX 580 Video Card Review
Voltage Tweak drives the NVIDIA Fermi GF110 GPU to 925 MHz and produces the most powerful DirectX-11 video card available.
ASUS is a well-known innovator of technology, but there are times when they recognize a good idea and strive to simply make it better. Queue the GeForce GTX 580 video card. Armed with the maximum number of CUDA cores and PolyMorph engines NVIDIA can deliver with the Fermi architecture, the GeForce GTX 580 represents their trophy effort to seize the performance market. While being similar to the GeForce GTX 480, the GeForce GTX 580 design updates the Fermi formula, improves upon the power appetite, reduces heat output, and increases graphical frame rate performance. ASUS raises the GF110 fixed function clock speed from 772 MHz to 782, while the graphics cores now operate at 1564 MHz. 1536MB of GDDR5 video frame buffer use a familiar 384-bit memory bus, clocked to 1002MHz for a 4008MHz data rate. This is before ASUS Voltage Tweak gives us access to unlocked potential...
Using ASUS Voltage Tweak technology and their SmartDoctor software utility, Benchmark Reviews drives GPU voltage from a pedestrian 962 mV at stock speed and overclocks the GF110 GPU by nearly 20% over reference speeds with 1145 mV. The ASUS GeForce GTX 580 competes on two levels: price point and GPU segment. Priced at the $520 price point, the ASUS ENGTX580 competes directly against ATI's dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 and a pair of AMD Radeon HD 6870 video cards combined into CrossFireX. In regard to single-GPU competition, the closest video cards would be ATI's Radeon HD 5870 or NVIDIA's own GeForce GTX 480.
Using the most demanding PC video game titles and benchmark software available at the time of launch, Benchmark Reviews tests graphical frame rate performance of the GeForce GTX 580. Older DirectX-10 favorites such as Crysis Warhead and PCMark Vantage are included, as well as newer DirectX-11 titles such as: Aliens vs Predator, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, BattleForge, Lost Planet 2, Mafia II, Metro 2033, Tom Clancy's HAWX2, and the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark. Built to deliver the best possible graphical experience to a performance-orientated gaming market, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580 video card delivers top-end frame rates with unmatched efficiency.
Everyone who waited for NVIDIA to launch their Fermi graphics architecture felt like they had held back once it was finally released. The GF100 graphics processor that was packaged into the GTX 480 used less than its full potential, and it didn't create the wide performance margin everyone expected between competitors. Seven months later, NVIDIA has returned with their updated Fermi GF110 GPU, delivering all 512 CUDA cores in the GeForce GTX 580. Featuring a tweaked graphics processor that runs much cooler and uses less power than the GTX 480, the ASUS GeForce GTX 580 is tested by Benchmark Reviews against the Radeon 5970 and CrossFire 6870 video cards, along with two overclocked GeForce GTX 460's in SLI, using the latest DirectX-11 video games.
Something happened to the Fermi architecture between the time it premiered as GF100 and when it began to really turn heads as GF104: the ratio of shaders and texture units was perfected. The original GF100 GPU placed too much emphasis on tessellation, and not enough on overall graphical performance. As a result of finding the right balance, the GF104 graphics processor on the GeForce GTX 460 became an overnight sensation for gamers. Now evolved into the GF110 GPU, all 512 cores understand their purpose and propel the GeForce GTX 580 to a level only rivaled by the competition's best and most-expensive dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 graphics card. Trimmed down to a modest 244 watts of power consumption under load, the GTX 580 outperforms its predecessor in both power efficiency graphical performance.
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by ASUS.