ASUS GTX 580 Reviewccokeman - November 29, 2010
Category: Video Cards
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Introduced just two short weeks ago, the GTX 580 from NVIDIA gave us what we had been waiting for since November 2009 — a Fermi-based graphics solution that was not a cut-down version of the architecture. We finally got the fully functional version with its 512 CUDA cores instead of 480 or fewer with the lower class cards, the GTX 470 and 460. The performance delivered by the GTX 580 rivaled that of the HD 5970 2GB in some games and easily out performed the GTX 480 and the best single GPU card in the AMD product stack, the now year+ old HD 5870. This means that the green camp has a new performance leader with the GTX 580. It runs cooler, uses less power (for those who use that as a measure of a successful product), and just plain kicked ass when put to the test!
While I have looked at the reference version of the GTX 580, this one is from ASUS and comes to us equipped with a slightly higher clock speed on the core and the ability to tweak voltages using the ASUS Smart Doctor utility for added performance — something that was not available with the reference version. The claim from ASUS on the voltage tweaking ability is an improvement of "Up to 50%" by using this technology. Without the voltage tweak ability, the reference card delivered less than stunning overclocking increases based on a percentage basis. But after playing with the Smart Doctor software, the ability to increase the voltage brings on the pain without the fear of the hardware-based current monitoring kicking in to limit performance. So let's see just what ASUS gives us with its version of the GTX 580.
The packaging of the ASUS GTX 580 has pretty much remained unchanged over the past year with the warrior on his stallion looking to take your gaming experience to another level. The packaging stands out on a shelf as it should with that kind of visual appeal. The green background lets you know this is an NVIDIA card in lieu of an orange or red background. The front of the package has a large Voltage Tweak medallion that touts the 50% faster performance logo. Underneath are the features of the NVIDIA GTX 580 that include 1536MB of GDDR5 memory, Full DirectX 11 support, CUDA and PhysX support, with the GTX 580 name underneath. The back side lists the features of this series. To the right is an image that illustrates the connectivity options with messages about DirectX 11 and the Voltage Tweak software to the left.
Opening up the packaging, you get the elegant-looking black cardboard shell that holds the GTX 580 and the accessory bundle for this card. The bundle is split between the thin box on top and the compartment to the right. The card is stored underneath, encased in a foam enclosure, keeping it safe in transit.
The accessory bundle that comes with the GTX 580 is slim by most accounts, but it comes with what you need to get it installed in your system. You get the driver and utility disk, a manual, dual 6-pin PCIe to a single 8-pin connection, and a single mini HDMI to HDMI adapter to round out the package. Like I said, slim, but containing what you absolutely need to get the job done.
We've seen the packaging and what is included with this card from ASUS, so let's delve a little deeper into the card.