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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 Review: The Fastest Graphics Card Today

Featuring the re-worked GF110 chipset, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 580 promises to be a speed demon while guzzling less power and not threatening to set your room on fire. The last time this much hype surrounded an upcoming NVIDIA graphics card, was the GeForce GTX 280 way back in 2008. Anyhow, we put our ASUS ENGTX580 sample through its paces, to find out how good the GeForce GTX 580 really is. Will the new NVIDIA flagship impress?

While the NVIDIA GF100 chipset already featured 16 Streaming Multiprocessors for a total of 512 CUDA cores, the GeForce GTX 480 shipped with one SM disabled. The decision to have only 15 SMs can be largely attributed to the massive heat output of the GF100. No doubt the GeForce GTX 480 was easily the fastest single GPU card around, but operating temperatures and power consumption figures were definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Today, we are looking at the GF110 chipset, which the new GeForce GTX 580 is based upon.The GF110 is a re-engineering of the GF100 down to the transistor level. To improve the performance per watt ratio, NVIDIA used higher speed transistors on more critical processing paths, and lower leakage ones on less timing sensitive paths. A large percentage of transistors were modified, reducing overall power consumption.

Both the GF100 and the GF110 have the same SM configuration, but the GF110 chipset also incorporates two key architectural enhancements for better performance clock-for-clock over the former: support for full FP16 texture filtering and new tile formats, which increases performance in texture-heavy applications and improved Z-cull efficiency respectively.

Apart from these two enhancements, the GeForce GTX 580 has the complete 512 CUDA cores, 16 SMs, and higher operating frequencies, thanks to the transistor rework. According to NVIDIA, we should see a card that is markedly faster than its predecessor, yet generating less power.


GeForce GTX 480 vs. GeForce GTX 580 Specifications Comparison

  GeForce GTX 480 GeForce GTX 580
CUDA Cores 480 512
Texture Units 60 64
ROPs 48 48 
Core Clock 700MHz 772MHz
Shader Clock 1401MHz 1544MHz
Memory Clock 3696MHz 4008MHz
Memory Configuration 1.5GB GDDR5, 384-bit 1.5GB GDDR5, 384-bit 
Transistor Count 3 billion 3 billion
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
TDP 250W 244W 


Without further ado, let’s get up close and personal with the GeForce GTX 580, shall we?


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