Zotac GTX580 Review
So after all that, is the GTX580 another GTX8800 or another FX5800?
When we first got the Zotac out of the box we have to confess we were somewhat taken aback. Considering the main problem with the GTX480 was it being hotter than Katy Perry wearing nothing but a smile the decision to go back to a cooler that appeared simpler at first glance was surprising.
The great news is that looks are deceiving. Under that austere shroud lurks a piece of copper and aluminium so big you could probably make a set of saucepans out of it. It's not just a size queen though because it definitely does the job.
With power comes noise and although we hate to hear our cards whining away all day, we know that a lot of you don't really care when the performance was as good as the nVidia offering. Thankfully the GTX580 is kept well under control in all but the most extreme circumstances without resorting to Delta levels of noise thanks to its redesigned cooler. It is hugely quieter than the old GTX480 and even a HD5970.
Performance is exactly as advertised. nVidia said it's the best single GPU, and we really can't deny that. If the GTX480 was an untamed beast, then this is a wolf in sheeps clothing. The performance is savage. Unrelenting. When started getting the first results up we were so stunned we double-checked. But it truly is an absolute stonker. Quicker than Tom when there is a beer on offer.
Surely all this must come with some downsides?
Well yes, of course it does. But they are not as bad as you may fear, in fact they really are two sides of the same problem.
The problem is the GTX480. It promised so much and delivered so little. Unless what you wanted was a way to contribute to global warming. If you've only just, and when we're talking about £400+ for a bit of hardware then any time in the last 12 months counts as only just, splurged on a GTX480 then the chances of you wanting to do it again are slim. The chances of getting a fair price for your old one are even slimmer. Although you can't say we didn't warn you of the risks when we reviewed it.
It's also about £100 more than the GTX480, and roughly the same as the GTX480 Lightning it was up against. So in one fell swoop nVidia have brushed under the carpet the whole GTX480 fiasco and hope you all get selective amnesia and rush out to buy the GTX580. Thankfully if you didn't buy a GTX480 there aren't any downsides, and if you did this is good enough to soothe the pain.
In the cold harsh world of hardware, where big is good, bigger is better and fastest is best, then you absolutely should rush out and buy the GTX580. It's a phenomenal achievement and is everything that we should have seen in the spring.
We can only mark it down on it following so closely on the heels of its father and being a bit pricey, but it's an easy winner of our Silver award and has such fearsome power it has to win our Performance award too.