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ASUS GTX 580 Review

ccokeman    -   November 29, 2010
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Conclusion:

When you look at the performance delivered by the ASUS GTX 580 when run in its stock configuration, the numbers compare with the those of the reference GTX 580 with some increases here and there across the testing suite. The 10MHz improvement in base clock speed does offer up a small boost in games. However, ASUS was not going to let that be the only point of difference with this card and included its Smart Doctor utility to get the most from the GTX 580. By utilizing this utility and tweaking the voltage, I was able to increase the clock speed from the base 782MHz on the GF 110 core by 23%, up to 962MHz. On the memory, the scaling was not as dramatic, but still went up by 14% to 1140MHz. This allowed the already fastest single GPU in the market to scale well beyond what the reference card was able to deliver. Using the voltage tweak software, I did not see any indication of the voltage monitoring capabilities of this card reducing performance, so that is another hurdle that seems to be overcome as long as you do not use programs such as Furmark and OCCT to test for stability. When run at stock speeds, the ASUS GTX 580 was either equal to or better than the HD 5870 in 18 out of 40 tests run. When overclocked, the differential was just as close at 17 out of 40 tests run, easily outdistancing the GTX 480 and HD 5870, the two prior single GPU top of the line offerings from both the NVIDIA and AMD camps.

The cooling performance of this offering from ASUS mirrors the reference versions results at the factory clock speeds and voltages. When you start increasing the voltage, the card does need to work to get rid of the heat. At the 85% fan speed limit, the ASUS GTX 580 still comes in at four degrees cooler than the stock testing, where the fan speed is automatically controlled. Now, as we all know, the blower-style fan is not the quietest solution out there when you start bumping up the RPMs on the fan. By limiting this card to 85%, the noise penalty is kind of cut off at the pass. Even at 85%, the card is not terribly noisy. The fan is not pitchy, but has more of a hum, making it not quite as annoying a sound profile, but you still know it's there. By dropping the fan speed a little further to the high 70% range, the noise is further reduced with close to the same cooling efficiency.

Putting two of these cards together and using the Smart Doctor software suite has already resulted in the ASUS GTX 580 showing serious performance increases. This added performance has already led to some new 3DMark records being set with tri-GPU and quad-GPU setups. Having this additional performance means running a 3D Surround setup should be a breeze, enabling a higher level of eye candy along with the out-of-screen effects. ASUS has put together a package with the GTX 580 that offers best-in-class performance with some massive upside in performance all for the same retail price as the rest of the non overclocked cards on the market.

 

Pros:

  • Overclocking
  • Voltage Tweak
  • Smart Doctor
  • Massive Performance Increases
  • Lower Noise
  • Vapor Chamber Cooling
  • PhysX Support
  • Tri-SLI capabilities
  • Surround Support
  • 3D Surround Support

Cons:

  • Pricing
Editors' Choice



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: The Video Card
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Far Cry 2
  6. Testing: Metro 2033
  7. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  8. Testing: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  9. Testing: Just Cause 2
  10. Testing: Unigine 2.1
  11. Testing: Batman: Arkham Asylum
  12. Testing: Resident Evil 5
  13. Testing: 3DMark 06
  14. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  15. Testing: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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