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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB Review and SLI Testing - GF110 brings full Fermi

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
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Testing Configurations and Pricing Wars

Sometimes it's nice to just be testing a high-end graphics card for a change.  With the recent surge in GPUs in the $150-250 range, a return to the $450-550 space meant a completely new set of cards was going to be up in the air for comparison.  Of course, we didn't just test a single GTX 580, we had to see how these cards scaled in a dual-GPU, SLI configuration.



Mmm, 1024 cores of goodness

Digital Storm actually sent us an incredibly impressive gaming system for review that included a pair of GTX 580s as well as a 6-core Intel processor overclocked to 4.4 GHz.  Needless to say the performance on this rig is astounding, but we didn't have time to get the full review done in time for this launch but expect to see it later this week. 

Testing Configuration

As I mentioned on the previous page, the new GeForce GTX 580 will release today with an MSRP of $499; that puts it into an interesting competitive stance.  Of course we will be compare it to the GeForce GTX 480 to see how this new GPU compares to NVIDIA's previous top-of-the-line option but what about AMD?  There are two options for this and we included both: the Radeon HD 5970 2GB dual-GPU card and the 2GB variant of the single-GPU Radeon HD 5870. 

Now, I want to get this out of the way right now: I have been disappointed in the lack of availability on the HD 5970 for a long time and with prices hovering around the $650-699 mark for the last year or so, it hasn't been a great option for consumers.  Just last week AMD called to tell me that Sapphire was going to start offering a Radeon HD 5970 card for $499 starting over the weekend; obviously this is not just convenient timing.  That card is in fact available (see previous link) but I have very little faith that it will either stay at that price or stay available for the holiday season.  For now, let's take it as a fire sale just to piss off NVIDIA.

The Radeon HD 5870 2GB cards are obviously much more available and can be found anywhere from $399 to much, much higher based on the overclocked speed you want.  

Finally, the GeForce GTX 480, despite being overtaken by the GTX 580 today, can be found for $450 or under depending on rebates.  That puts the landscape as so:

  • GeForce GTX 580 - $499
  • Radeon HD 5970 - $499 (for now)
  • GeForce GTX 480 - $450
  • Radeon HD 5870 2GB - $400

In our benchmarks you will find those exact cards compared side by side.  Also, just as interestingly, you will also see this comparison:

  • GeForce GTX 580 - $499
  • GeForce GTX 580 SLI - $998

  • Radeon HD 5970 - $499
  • GeForce GTX 460 1GB SLI - $400-450

Now THAT is interesting - how will the pair of GTX 460 1GB cards that you can pick up for less than the price of a single GTX 580 compare to it?  That could make an interesting enthusiast choice if it works out.  And of course, we'll be looking at just how impressive a pair of GTX 580s can be in an SLI configuration. 

You will likely also notice a completely new
benchmark suite on PC Perspective - we have needed a refresh for quite
some time and we finally got it.  Unfortunately for us that mean 40+
hours of benchmarking; for you that means much more current and relevant
results!

Here is our test system setup for the benchmarks:

  • Testing Configuration
  • ASUS P6X58D Premium Motherboard
  • Intel Core i7-965 @ 3.33 GHz Processor
  • 3 x 2GB Corsair DDR3-1333 MHz Memory
  • Western Digital VelociRaptor 600GB HDD
  • Corsair Professional Series 1200w PSU
  • Benchmarks used: 3DMark Vantage, Unigine Heaven v2.1, Metro
    2033, Lost Planet 2, Civilization V, F1 2010, Bad Company 2, Left 4 Dead
    2
Let's get to it!
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