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Old 11-09-10, 10:47 AM   #6
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The GTX 580 is considered by some to just be an overclocked GTX 480. That assumption is fairly untrue, given the number of enhancements in the new GF110 architecture and the fact that there are more CUDA cores, SM units, more texture filtering units... but hey, what about an overclocked GTX 580? I mean, heck, if a GTX 580 is supposed to outperform a 480 by 15-20%, then how much value would an overclocked 580 have?

I haven't had a lot of time to mess with overclocking, but I did run a few tests, and at this point, in non-GPU PhysX-related scenarios, I am at what appears to be a conservative overclock of 840 MHz core / 1680 MHz shader clock, and 4500 MHz on the memory. I'll add more to this section of the review at a later time, but for now I've done a 3Dmark run, as well as a Stone Giant run. I feel that these two are a good choice, so you can see the pixel/texture fillrate improvements, as well as improvements in hardware-based tessellation capabilities.

So now this is a GTX 480 plus how many percent? I'm only sort of kidding. I really want to get a GTX 480 hooked up to this test system so I can do a proper comparison, but even just having this card, and already being pleased with its stock performance, the improvements experienced by the overclock are certainly welcomed. I should probably test Metro 2033 and see if I gain some playability.

Temperatures and Noise:

I expected a very hot GPU given the elevated clock speeds and additional CUDA cores etc. The GTX 580 is a pleasant surprise when it comes to heat levels. Ok, you remember that picture of the GTX 580 in my case, right? It looked like a tight fit; something that would likely get pretty hot, right? Well, using the default fan profile with the case closed, at idle using 2D desktop applications the temperatures level out at 45 C. Running without a side panel gets me 6 degrees. 39 to 45 C is a pretty nice 2D temperature, no? For what it's worth LinusTechTips (Youtube) had a 2D temp of 38 C on an open test bench setup. So If you have a large case that is cooled really well, you can likely expect a 2D temp somewhere around 38 to 42 C, which really isn't too bad at all. Moving onto 3D applications, the GPU did get pretty hot in some instances, floating around 84 degrees at peak while free-roving full screen in Stone Giant. Reportedly NVIDIA is throttling clock speeds and/or voltages while running Furmark, and 'll report on this more as I learn more. As for regular gaming, with the case closed up, temperatures topped out at 81 C, but NVIDIA's fan profile, in my opinion was too gentle. I would have liked the fan speed to go up more to keep the temps down a little better. With the case window off, core temperature peaked at 78 C. So a range of 78 to 81 C really isn't all that bad if you consider how hot some other GPUs such as the GTX 465 and HD 4850 get (up into the nineties).

These decent, if exceptional temperatures using the default fan profile show the benefits of the optimizations of the GF110 GPU and its vapor chamber cooler. If you want a Fermi card but are reticent due to temperatures, the GTX 580 may change your mind. Definitely a big thumbs up to NVIDIA for their improvements in this regard.

Regarding noise, the GTX 580 is positively quieter than the GTX 465 (GF100) I had, and honestly doesn't seem to make any more noise than my GTX 460 768MB. That's probably music to the ears of plenty of high-end enthusiasts out there hoping to have a quieter gaming rig, whether it's in single or dual or Tri-SLI format.

On a related note, despite the fact that a 600W power supply is recommended, I kinda figured that my system with its 650W Antec unit hooked to a very-much overclocked motherboard/CPU combo might prove to be unstable. That has not been the case, and despite having a GPU with a fairly high TDP coupled with a high-TDP CPU, I'm able to overclock both. For some reason I don't think this would be possible with a GTX 480.

Last edited by ragejg; 12-20-10 at 12:08 PM. Reason: typo re: GTX 465
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