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ASUS GTX 580 Review

ccokeman    -   November 29, 2010
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Testing:

Testing of the GTX 580 video card from ASUS will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where it falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing, where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel. I will test the card at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. The drivers used in this test will be the 10.10 Catalyst drivers for AMD and the 260.89 Forceware drivers from NVIDIA for all cards save the GTX 580. Tests will be conducted at both stock and overclocked settings to gauge performance when an increase in clock speed is applied. There is a change in how our graphs are now setup, with the card being tested highlighted in GREEN for NVIDIA based video cards and RED for AMD Radeon card. As our tests are very comprehensive, we hope this makes it a little bit easier to pick them out of the crowd. The cards are placed in order from highest to lowest performing.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

  • ASUS GTX 580 962/1924/1140MHz

Overclocking the GTX 580 from ASUS is a little different than the reference card because of the inclusion of voltage tweaking in ASUS's Smart Doctor utility. What a difference a little voltage tweaking makes in the overall clock speed increases. By pushing the voltage, the card responded well all the way up to 962MHz with the maximum allowable voltage of 1.213v applied in the Smart Doctor Utility. That's a 180MHz jump over the factory clock speed for the CUDA cores. The reference design card used in OverclockersClub's NVIDIA GTX 580 review used without voltage tweaking limited the card to a meager 56MHz increase. When it comes to memory overclocking, the way to test now with memory that features error correction is to increase the clock speed until you see performance degrade or eventually a lock up. These increases represent a 23% increase in clock speed on the core and a 14% increase on the memory. These increases should bring measurable performance increases to be shown in the results of the benchmark testing. Bare in mind that, when overclocking and especially when increasing the voltage applied to the silicon, you are going to run at higher temperatures than you may be accustomed to running, even with the improvements to the GPU. To minimize the temperature impact, I ran the fan on the ASUS GTX 580 at 85% (maximum allowable with ASUS's Smart Doctor utility). The cooling fan's noise signature was the same as the reference version with the fan being audible, but not overly noisy. The fan pitch was more of a hum than a whine, with the increase of the airflow creating the majority of the noise.

One thing that was a shocker was the over current protection system utilized by NVIDIA that throttles current to the card if there is an increase in the current demand associated with so called power virus programs such as OCCT, Furmark and Kombuster. To this end, NVIDIA installed hardware on the PCB that detects this increase and pulls down the current to keep the card temperatures down and keep you from killing the core. There is now a way to defeat this, as shown by Techpowerup, but would not be recommended for use with an air-cooled card. If you plan on playing with some dry ice or liquid nitrogen then go for it, but with air only it's a risky proposition.

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

In the past, I had used MSI's Kombuster utility to check for stability coupled with the ability to run through the entire test suite. I have found that some game tests would still fail with this utility, so I have moved to testing with several games at maximum settings through several resolutions to verify the clock speeds that are listed below. Why the change? I have found some cards will play fine at a 4xAA setting, but fail when using 8xAA due to the increased graphics load. If it fails then the clock speeds and tests are rerun until they pass.

   

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
  7. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  8. Resident Evil 5
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption



  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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