Zotac GTX580 Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Zotac GTX580 Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

We waited and waited. Eventually after somewhat of a delay nVidia launched their Fermi range of cards to much excitement from all of us. Or at least it was excitement until we realised that they had been reduced in performance in a vain attempt to get them to remain remotely cool, but even then they were woefully noisy and hot. A pair of GTX480s in SLI gave out a similar amount of heat to an exploding star, and about the same noise.

nVidia secretly went back to their labs and greatly revised the Fermi 100, and here it is. Much sooner than any of us expected we have the GTX580. This comes hot on the heels of the recently released AMD 6-series cards and so undercuts AMDs own high-end graphics package, the HD6990. As this is the first time for a while that nVidia have hit the market before the equal AMD card we can't wait to see how the gauntlet has been thrown down.

nVidia claim this is everything the GTX480 should have been, with all the hardware tricks and tweaks turned on and a greatly revised cooling solution. They go so far as to call it the best graphics card on the market. Of course claims and reality don't always meet.

Let's have a look at the specifications and see if this is a revolution or purely an evolution.

Technical Specifications

So what are the main points? Firstly nVidia have finally unlocked all the shaders so the card is operating at full power. The GTX480 had them cut from 512 back to 480, but here they're all available for our use.

Despite this nVidia have also given the core speed a kick up the behind and greatly increased the speed across the board which has the obvious benefits everywhere.

Slightly less obvious are some under-the-hood tricks employed to also reduce the load, and therefore heat, of the card whilst dedicating more time to producing high frame-rates. This is largely due to an improved algorithm that determines what is visible and what is hidden, and so the card spends less time rendering polygons that will be hidden on the z-axis. The other major change is the ability of the GF110 to filter a texture per clock cycle. This will have the most visible frame-rate benefits in games that use a lot of texture filtering such as the high-dynamic range option in the popular Bethesda range of RPGs.

So with that said, here are the specifications.

  • New ZOTAC GeForce® GTX 580 graphics card
  • World’s fastest DirectX® 11 graphics card
  • NVIDIA® Fermi architecture – DirectX® 11 done right
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 580 graphics processor
  • Engine clock: 772 MHz
  • 512 unified shaders
  • Shader clock: 1544 MHz
  • 1536MB of GDDR5 memory
  • 384-bit memory interface
  • Memory clock: 4008 MHz
  • PCI Express 2.0 interface (Compatible with 1.1)
  • Microsoft DirectX® 11 with Shader Model 5.0 and DirectCompute support
  • OpenGL® 4.1 compatible
  • NVIDIA® CUDA ready
  • NVIDIA® 3D Vision™ Surround ready
  • NVIDIA® SLI™ ready (3-way)
  • Hardware video decode acceleration technology
  • HDMI 1.4a compliant
  • xvYCC Color & DeepColor compatible
  • Hardware-accelerated Blu-ray 3D ready
  • ZOTAC® Boost Premium software bundle included
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Most Recent Comments

10-11-2010, 02:47:19

tinytomlogan
Finally the NDA for the retail cards has lifted so barely 8 months after the GTX480 hit the market nVidia have released their next card, the GTX580. Does it fix the issues?

Continue Reading

10-11-2010, 03:01:24

AMD_PBz
Another Great Review Bryan

And The best Review Video's on you tube Tom

Another Top notch job to both of you Lads !

Best Line Ever!

"Considering the main problem with the GTX480 was it being hotter than Katy Perry wearing nothing but a smile"

10-11-2010, 04:07:15

Rastalovich
Be interested in what you thought of the drivers. What we've picked up was that it seemed as if just the identifiers were in the 262.xx, and that 263.xx atleast should have some 5xx 'special stuff' in them.

The oc too, somewhere around 100mhz should really be achieveable as there will be something like a 835 or 850 "oc" variant on the market using the same cooler and the usual crappy compound.

Not really worth it if you got a tamed 480. But £400 should really be the stock versions price prior to christmas, dropping to £350-375 in Q1.

10-11-2010, 04:35:33

Runebeard
Impressive stuff indeed. I'm almost tempted to splurge some student loan on one of these

I'd deffo rather turn the fan up a little bit more than let temps creep up, I play my games quite loud so wouldn't hear it anyways.

Great combined effort though guys, keep it up

10-11-2010, 04:47:28

Techyandy
"It's got an Nvidia badge on it...I'm gonna go buy it!" Haha, so true

I am interested now to see where the 6970 comes out in relation; will it be better? Or will it be 10% less powerful but at a £100 lower price point?

10-11-2010, 06:24:07

silenthill
Iíve seen the sli performance for the 580 on GURU 3D and it is very similar to the 480 so for me no upgrade & no selling my 480ís on eBay, I think Iíll wait for the next generation or something with at least 50% more kick to justify the huge price tag and also there are no games that really demand more power right now so the Christmas dough will have to go this year on something ells.

10-11-2010, 06:24:23

F-alienware
At last. At pigging last a decent review pitting it against other cards of the ilk.

Being brutally frank I am still not sold. I would still rather have the lightning for its build quality, back plate and (IMO) better cooling solution.

I would say hats off to Nvidia but I can't. Mostly because I feel for those who bought the 480 who really should have got this card.

Is it a good card? yes. But there are still forks in the road that lead to where it is now.

There is one great part to this card though. 4 series cards are now dropping through the floor in prices. This morning I stopped over at OCUK only to find they are selling the EVGA 460 1gb for £135 or so. This is actually the most awesome part to come from the 5 series launch. Most of the 4 series were very fast cards. Obviously the 460 doesn't need any fettling to get right but the 470 can now be had, with a Gelid Icyvision (which isn't the best cooler but does make it behave) for £200. And the 470 beats the 5850 by quite a margin (in all of the tests and reviews it only lost in Anno whatever the heck that was, taking a clear lead in absolutely everything else).

Again, you guys absolutely rock. I love this review because it gives a very good understanding of exactly what this card can do when pitted against the cards that are in the same pricing bracket AND the one that was the pre 'what the 480 should have been'.

So a big thankyou as always. I can't quite put my finger on it but there's just something very honest and very real about OC3D reviews that I can't seem to find anywhere else. Maybe it's the fact that the reviewers here (and IMO Bryan above all else, sorry other reviewers ! ) are so passionate about the job in hand. I mean, there I was last night literally with my hands together praying that the lightning could be used in this review. And there it is.

*applauds*

10-11-2010, 06:28:07

Bungral
This touches on what I was going to ask..

I was reading that the 480's performance actually suffered as it got hotter.

Look at some of the 580 benches here, it looks like it has been throttled on certain games at certain settings. While this was probably still playing silently, would the performance have increased should you have manually bumped the fan speed up and in turn lowered the temps so if throttling was happening, it would be aleviated and fps may have increased.

Reason I ask is that I tend to set my own fan profiles manually and as Runebeard said, I'm not fussed at all by noise from the fan while gaming.

Oh yeah, nice review by the way Brian... One thing you might want to update though is talking about the cooler.. You say it's a big lump of copper and heatsink but don't once mention the vapor chamber part of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runebeard View Post

Impressive stuff indeed. I'm almost tempted to splurge some student loan on one of these

I'd deffo rather turn the fan up a little bit more than let temps creep up, I play my games quite loud so wouldn't hear it anyways.

Great combined effort though guys, keep it up

10-11-2010, 06:32:42

murphy7801
Want to see what a non ref one can do from some one like msi or gainward

10-11-2010, 06:37:26

silenthill
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post

At last. At pigging last a decent review pitting it against other cards of the ilk.

Being brutally frank I am still not sold. I would still rather have the lightning for its build quality, back plate and (IMO) better cooling solution.

I would say hats off to Nvidia but I can't. Mostly because I feel for those who bought the 480 who really should have got this card.

Is it a good card? yes. But there are still forks in the road that lead to where it is now.

There is one great part to this card though. 4 series cards are now dropping through the floor in prices. This morning I stopped over at OCUK only to find they are selling the EVGA 460 1gb for £135 or so. This is actually the most awesome part to come from the 5 series launch. Most of the 4 series were very fast cards. Obviously the 460 doesn't need any fettling to get right but the 470 can now be had, with a Gelid Icyvision (which isn't the best cooler but does make it behave) for £200. And the 470 beats the 5850 by quite a margin (in all of the tests and reviews it only lost in Anno whatever the heck that was, taking a clear lead in absolutely everything else).

Again, you guys absolutely rock. I love this review because it gives a very good understanding of exactly what this card can do when pitted against the cards that are in the same pricing bracket AND the one that was the pre 'what the 480 should have been'.

So a big thankyou as always. I can't quite put my finger on it but there's just something very honest and very real about OC3D reviews that I can't seem to find anywhere else. Maybe it's the fact that the reviewers here (and IMO Bryan above all else, sorry other reviewers ! ) are so passionate about the job in hand. I mean, there I was last night literally with my hands together praying that the lightning could be used in this review. And there it is.

*applauds*
Thanks for your feelings

10-11-2010, 06:39:22

F-alienware
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungral View Post

This touches on what I was going to ask..

I was reading that the 480's performance actually suffered as it got hotter.
It probably did. Due to the really high levels of heat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungral View Post
Look at some of the 580 benches here, it looks like it has been throttled on certain games at certain settings. While this was probably still playing silently, would the performance have increased should you have manually bumped the fan speed up and in turn lowered the temps so if throttling was happening, it would be aleviated and fps may have increased.
It does throttle. But not because of heat, because of wattage consumption. I mentioned this yesterday. This means that heavy overclocks are out. Adding third party coolers to bring the temps down more and massive overclocks are out. Meaning that this card pretty much has to be taken out of the box, overclocked as much as you can before hitting the brick wall and then that's it. Once the card consumes over 300w it automatically throttles to stop it getting too hot. But, sadly it's not at a temp level that it throttles. If it was then like the 480 that could be controlled with an uber cooler. Sadly though they're a bit more crafty than that. With any luck some one on techpowerup will find what does it in the bios (if it's even a bios call) and get rid of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungral View Post
Reason I ask is that I tend to set my own fan profiles manually and as Runebeard said, I'm not fussed at all by noise from the fan while gaming.

Oh yeah, nice review by the way Brian... One thing you might want to update though is talking about the cooler.. You say it's a big lump of copper and heatsink but don't once mention the vapor chamber part of it.
Noise when gaming doesn't fuss me either. Good speakers and a bloody good headset get rid of that

Quote:
Originally Posted by silenthill View Post

Thanks for your feelings
I feel your pain man. I got a 280. Then they release the 285 and my 280 went bang.

I wouldn't even mind if there was a large gap between these card releases but it's almost like they just don't care about rubbing stuff into people's faces.

10-11-2010, 06:42:27

Bungral
I do have to say the GTX 470 at £175 for the Gigabyte OC version with Mafia 2 free is a pretty amazing deal really.

You can get them a touch cheaper but I'd go with Gigabyte for their top drawer 3 year warranty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post

There is one great part to this card though. 4 series cards are now dropping through the floor in prices. This morning I stopped over at OCUK only to find they are selling the EVGA 460 1gb for £135 or so. This is actually the most awesome part to come from the 5 series launch. Most of the 4 series were very fast cards. Obviously the 460 doesn't need any fettling to get right but the 470 can now be had, with a Gelid Icyvision (which isn't the best cooler but does make it behave) for £200. And the 470 beats the 5850 by quite a margin (in all of the tests and reviews it only lost in Anno whatever the heck that was, taking a clear lead in absolutely everything else).

10-11-2010, 06:50:15

F-alienware
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungral View Post

I do have to say the GTX 470 at £175 for the Gigabyte OC version with Mafia 2 free is a pretty amazing deal really.

You can get them a touch cheaper but I'd go with Gigabyte for their top drawer 3 year warranty.
Yeah deffo. POV give a three year tho tbh. And out of all of the cards I saw theirs (just IMO of course) had the best looking sticker on

It's like that sexy blue bird from Avatar screwed an Nvidia executive

10-11-2010, 06:50:30

SnW
Didn't the F@H client work ?

10-11-2010, 06:53:24

Bungral
Where is the POV repair centre though?? That's the pain in the arse for me. I've had to send cards over to Japan before which cost a small fortune... Gigabyte is something like Milton Keynes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post

Yeah deffo. POV give a three year tho tbh. And out of all of the cards I saw theirs (just IMO of course) had the best looking sticker on

It's like that sexy blue bird from Avatar screwed an Nvidia executive

10-11-2010, 06:56:05

silenthill
I feel your pain man. I got a 280. Then they release the 285 and my 280 went bang.

I wouldn't even mind if there was a large gap between these card releases but it's almost like they just don't care about rubbing stuff into people's faces.

[/quote]

Iíve got used to it because NVIDIA & AMD(ATI) donít care about customer loyalty anymore and thatís because there lost in this crazy competition between them, believe me if there were more graphic chip manufactures in the market this situation ( rubbing stuff into people's faces ) would not exist and customer loyalty will take first priority.

10-11-2010, 06:58:55

F-alienware
They never did Silenthill.

A part of the reason why PC gaming has gone down the toilet is the speed at which they keep changing hardware and banging out new cards.

*old git mode well and truly on*

Niii, in my day the Voodoo was out for nearly two years before the Voodoo 2 came along. And then another two years before the 3000 series AGP cards hit the shelves.

A year after that the race was on

Where Voodoo used to make two cards on the same series of GPU chip they now make at least ten. Screwing every one that bought one a month ago with every new release. I wouldn't even mind if there were enough games coming out to feed the idea of flooding the market with new hardware, but people are still using Crysis Warhead as a benchmark and it STILL doesn't run as well as it should

It's just absolute b*ll*cks mate.

10-11-2010, 07:11:53

murphy7801
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post

They never did Silenthill.

A part of the reason why PC gaming has gone down the toilet is the speed at which they keep changing hardware and banging out new cards.

*old git mode well and truly on*

Niii, in my day the Voodoo was out for nearly two years before the Voodoo 2 came along. And then another two years before the 3000 series AGP cards hit the shelves.

A year after that the race was on

Where Voodoo used to make two cards on the same series of GPU chip they now make at least ten. Screwing every one that bought one a month ago with every new release. I wouldn't even mind if there were enough games coming out to feed the idea of flooding the market with new hardware, but people are still using Crysis Warhead as a benchmark and it STILL doesn't run as well as it should

It's just absolute b*ll*cks mate.
So i see you bought 3 gtx 480's then to have that attitude

10-11-2010, 07:26:27

F-alienware
What attitude? what are you talking about?

10-11-2010, 07:28:24

SnW
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post

What attitude? what are you talking about?
I think he is offended by the rolling smiley

F@H..

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1461/15/

10-11-2010, 07:29:41

F-alienware
Well I wasn't rolling it at him was I?

I was rolling my eyes at the speeds ever so slightly faster cards are released. Making the one you just paid £400 for worth far less.

Hardly an attitude.

10-11-2010, 07:31:37

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rastalovich View Post

Be interested in what you thought of the drivers. What we've picked up was that it seemed as if just the identifiers were in the 262.xx, and that 263.xx atleast should have some 5xx 'special stuff' in them.

The oc too, somewhere around 100mhz should really be achieveable as there will be something like a 835 or 850 "oc" variant on the market using the same cooler and the usual crappy compound.

Not really worth it if you got a tamed 480. But £400 should really be the stock versions price prior to christmas, dropping to £350-375 in Q1.
This card really would not go over 835 dude, may be a lower binned chip as a part of the silicone lottery

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnW View Post

Didn't the F@H client work ?
I had to go and pick this card up by hand YESTERDAY, so sadly we just did not have enough time with this review. We will get round to covering it though boys.

10-11-2010, 07:37:33

Runebeard
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

This card really would not go over 835 dude, may be a lower binned chip as a part of the silicone lottery
Gotta be, as I've seen Palit already do a factory overclocked 580 with the Core running at 835, and usually there's still a little more to be eeked out if you tell it you love it enough. I'd like to think you'd be able to get at least 850 on the core. Plus in the video, Tom did say the Zotac didn't allow for voltage changes, unless I'm going mad again?

10-11-2010, 07:39:14

SnW
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

I had to go and pick this card up by hand YESTERDAY, so sadly we just did not have enough time with this review. We will get round to covering it though boys.
Aaa i see still a great review , thank you for that

i am going to get another GPU this week so a bit in the wiggle game in regards what to get

10-11-2010, 08:15:35

THD
Thanks for another great review

Very much liked the part where you clearly explain/show that in the Furmark test the card has a kickback to keep temps low and the card can actually run really hot.

Though you say its not as bad as it seems I rather wait to see if the 6970 can get same performance at cooler lvl's ,but thts just me

Seen a few discussion on that already pro and against but your conclusion looks to leave no room for discussion.

Now just have to wait till the 6970 drops and then take my pick

10-11-2010, 08:26:17

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by Runebeard View Post

Gotta be, as I've seen Palit already do a factory overclocked 580 with the Core running at 835, and usually there's still a little more to be eeked out if you tell it you love it enough. I'd like to think you'd be able to get at least 850 on the core. Plus in the video, Tom did say the Zotac didn't allow for voltage changes, unless I'm going mad again?
Indeed. Cos afai(we)k, there hasn't been any special favors up to this point - we're not in that teritory yet. That really would skew the prices and offend people tbh.

Word on the unofficial streets in 875+ is more than possible.

So yeah, lottery time.

10-11-2010, 08:30:08

tinytomlogan
The zotac did not have voltage options and the driver capped out instantly when you tried to set anything above 860 on this card.

10-11-2010, 08:49:26

F-alienware
Quote:
Originally Posted by THD View Post

Thanks for another great review

Very much liked the part where you clearly explain/show that in the Furmark test the card has a kickback to keep temps low and the card can actually run really hot.

Though you say its not as bad as it seems I rather wait to see if the 6970 can get same performance at cooler lvl's ,but thts just me

Seen a few discussion on that already pro and against but your conclusion looks to leave no room for discussion.

Now just have to wait till the 6970 drops and then take my pick
ATI are doing it too mate.

Basically both companies have said how they don't like Furmark and want it taken out of reviews, so they are introducing throttles onto the cards. And, unlike the throttles of old (5900 series Nvidia GPUs) that were based on temps these new throttles are based on wattage.

ATI used to have a clever trick with the 9700 and 9800 GPUs. They put on some sort of fuse or resitor that would blow or change if you overclocked the card. At which point they would void warranty. However in the few years since they have realised the mass market in overclocking (see MSI's stance on it).

The problem of course is how many of these cards are returned (see BFG). You may well sell more, but giving people free reign to blow them up and send them back isn't really good for business. It also doesn't make you look very good (see the 280 and 260 failures/baked cards).

Ah, here we go.

http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i1...n/cwarhead.jpg

Proof if ever it was needed that the card is merely hiding the truth. Forgive me if I am wrong (could well be !) but those temps using the auto fan (driver controlled) are only around 8c less than the 480. And given that the temps of the 480 were utterly unacceptable.. Well... I hope people can get my opinion now.

All they seem to have done is used a few crafty tricks to hide the problems with Fermi. Also remember I am a fermi owner !

And *this* is why I was so desperately awaiting the review HERE. Because let's be honest, who has seen temps like that in any other review on the internet?

Pray tell guys... Was that temps taken with the card in a day to day PC or on a testbed?

10-11-2010, 09:10:09

Taurus
mmmmmmmmmmmm Katy Perry wearing nothing but a smile!

10-11-2010, 10:12:44

Runebeard
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post

Proof if ever it was needed that the card is merely hiding the truth. Forgive me if I am wrong (could well be !) but those temps using the auto fan (driver controlled) are only around 8c less than the 480. And given that the temps of the 480 were utterly unacceptable.. Well... I hope people can get my opinion now.
Lol I see where you're coming from man.

You do have to remember though, as you said yourself, these are the temps with a driver controlled fan. Even on Vantage, the fan wasn't very audible in videos and that was on an open test bench. Clearly, it was set to keep noise down rather than temps! I reckon if you put it in a case to cut down the noise somewhat and upped the fan speed profile to a more reasonable level, you'd be able to get those load temps nearer the 80*C mark or even lower depending on the stress test at hand.

10-11-2010, 10:44:08

Delusion77
Its an impressive card! But i wouldnt call it a 580. its more of a 485. Just nvidia doing what they do with their weird naming i guess.

Before any1 goes out and buys this, wait till ati has the 6970s out so the prices will drop!

10-11-2010, 10:52:16

F-alienware
Quote:
Originally Posted by Runebeard View Post

Lol I see where you're coming from man.

You do have to remember though, as you said yourself, these are the temps with a driver controlled fan. Even on Vantage, the fan wasn't very audible in videos and that was on an open test bench. Clearly, it was set to keep noise down rather than temps! I reckon if you put it in a case to cut down the noise somewhat and upped the fan speed profile to a more reasonable level, you'd be able to get those load temps nearer the 80*C mark or even lower depending on the stress test at hand.
Just imagine what this card could do though with a proper banging cooler on it? Without needing a wattage throttle?

Obviously it's going to be cool and quiet. Obviously the new cooler (even though it looks as Joke removed as it may be offensive to some.) is better but if this thing was truly unleashed it would be worthy of the name 580.

It just feels to me like a bit of a skank. Underneath all of the cooler and quieter malarky is the reason for it. I mean yeah, even as is it's faster than a 480 and quiter and cooler. But if it had a good cooler, more OCing potential and all that it would totally bury a 480.

And I suppose at least then it wouldn't have been "What the 480 should have been" and wouldn't have sounded so patronising to the poor sods who bought 480s

10-11-2010, 11:15:12

Todd
Sounds like it's taking off when playing Crysys, there

Anyway, great review guys. I'm not going to quote Alien but if you see the price drops on the 4XX series you'll fall off your comfy chair.

10-11-2010, 11:18:48

F-alienware
£165 plus shipping on OCUK for the cheapest one mate.

I paid £173 three weeks back free shipping

Amazingly though they have opened a portal to the next world of valueage though. SLI 470s will take a flying poo on the 580. Funny how they always seem to undercut themselves

Doubt any one will actually complain though

10-11-2010, 11:36:24

Todd
We'll just have to wait and see what the 69xx can do.

10-11-2010, 12:23:44

Complex!
For black ops max fps: /com_maxfps 0 @ console lol

10-11-2010, 13:02:05

cl0ck_ed
Quote:
Originally Posted by Complex! View Post

For black ops max fps: /com_maxfps 0 @ console lol
Yep, looks like all the cards are capped at 90fps or so on your blackops review. Setting it to max will change both the max and average scores!!

Really surprised that teh gtx480 lighning beats the gtx580 in some of the games. I rally do not understand that as the clocks speeds are so similar??

10-11-2010, 13:33:19

Runebeard
Quote:
Originally Posted by cl0ck_ed View Post

Really surprised that teh gtx480 lighning beats the gtx580 in some of the games. I rally do not understand that as the clocks speeds are so similar??
It's probably to do with the drivers I'd imagine. The 580 had to use the driver cd it came with, whereas the Lightning can use the new 260.99 drivers, which have probably been better optimised for some games.

10-11-2010, 14:17:48

F-alienware
Or the throttle

10-11-2010, 17:58:23

Delusion77
Hey u guys see Sparkle computers already has a GTX580 with a 3rd party cooler (Arctic Cooling modle, probably the Accelero Xtreme Plus). they call it the calibre if you want to search it up

10-11-2010, 18:05:39

F-alienware
Yeah tis just that with purple fans lol

30-11-2010, 19:58:25

murphy7801
Looking back on old artcle one of these gpus out does 2 his 5870 in crossfire man how far we came in such a short time !
Reply
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