True to NVIDIA’s claims of achieving quieter acoustics, the GeForce GTX 580 was barely audible even under benchmarking conditions. The ASUS EAH5870 V2 card used in our review features ASUS’ custom cooler, which is considered to be one of the better ones out there in terms of both cooling performance and noise levels. The GeForce GTX 580 was able to best the EAH5870 V2’s noise levels.
The GeForce GTX 580 also features a new adaptive GPU fan control algorithm that smoothes the ramp up and ramp down of the blower’s speed under load. The ramp up speed is definitely more gradual – we were not able to tell that the fan had actually ramped up unless we really sat down to note the blower’s noise levels.
Even at the blower’s maximum speed, the fan generated a lower pitch and noise level compared to all the other three cards at full blast.
FurMark is a very intensive OpenGL benchmark that uses fur rendering algorithms for GPU stress and stability testing. To test for maximum GPU temperature and power consumption, we use its Xtreme Burning Mode with Post FX enabled. FurMark was allowed to run for about 15 minutes before we recorded the highest temperature posted.
The vapor chamber heatsink design is doing its job well – the GeForce GTX 580 ends up 5°C cooler than the GeForce GTX 480.
Thanks to a new transistor design, the GF110-based GeForce GTX 580 consumes less power than its predecessor at idle.
The GeForce GTX 580 has real-time monitoring for current and voltage for the PCI Express power and edge connectors. NVIDIA suggests that the hardware monitoring dynamically adjusts performance ‘in certain stress applications to keep power within specs’. We were definitely not very amused to discover that the driver was the culprit in throttling FurMark – there are pretty demanding games out there, but all of them perform fine. The workaround we had, was to fire up an older version of FurMark.
An ugly power chart when you look at the numbers alone. That’s what you’ll get when you have a couple of graphics powerhouses on your workbench. But it does seem impressive when you take into account that for about the same power draw (in fact a little less), the GeForce GTX 580 packs 20% more performance than its precedessor.