Today Nvidia has officially announced their new top model, the GeForce GTX 580 GPU that is to be the successor of the previous high-end GPU of the company, namely the GTX 480. What Nvidia is saying about the new card is that iy is faster in terms of performance, more energy efficient and with quieter cooling that the GTX 480. The new cards has some architectural “power-ups”, like for example bumping the number of the CUDA cores to 512, 16 PolyMorph Engines as well as faster default operating frequencies of both the GPU and the video memory, which of course brings the level of performance up as compared to what you get from a GTX 480. At the same time the power consumption has been improved as well as the default air cooling solution that supposedly will allow higher performance while maintaining lower power usage and quieter cooling fan operation. The new reference cooler for the GTX 580 uses the so called Vapor Chamber Cooling Design that is a key moment for improving its efficiency and lowering the level of noise coming from the video card even when it is fully loaded.
Aside from the higher operating frequencies, as already mentioned the new GTX 580 GPUs also have additional functional units for tessellation, shading, and texturing as well as some architectural enhancements for full speed FP16 texture filtering and improved z-cull which in terms results in the higher performance you will get from the new video cards. According to Nvidia the architectural improvements of the GTX 580 GPU help you get an average of between 5% and 10% faster performance and the 512 CUDA cores and higher operating frequencies will get you another 10% to 15% for an average of 20% to 30% higher total performance from the GTX 580 as compared to GTX 480.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 Specifications:
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB
Graphics Processing Clusters: 4
Streaming Multiprocessors: 16 +1
CUDA Cores: 512 +32
Texture Units: 64 +4
ROP Units: 48
Graphics Clock: 772 MHz +72
Processor Clock (CUDA Cores): 1544 MHz +143
Memory Clock (Data rate): 4008 MHz +312
L2 Cache Size: 768KB
Total Video Memory: 1536MB GDDR5
Memory Interface: 384‐bit
Total Memory Bandwidth: 192.4 GB/s +15
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear): 49.4 GigaTexels/sec +7.4
Fabrication Process: 40 nm
Transistor Count: 3 Billion
Connectors: 2x Dual‐Link DVI‐I, 1x Mini HDMI
Form Factor: Dual Slot
Power Connectors: 1x 6‐pin, 1x 8‐pin
Recommended Power Supply: 600 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP): 244 Watts -6
Thermal Threshold: 97°C -8
* The superscript numbers in green show the change as compared to the specs of GTX 480.
The additional performance you’ll gain from the GTX 580 is definitely welcome if you play games in stereo 3D mode with 3D Vision, and especially if you already have a 3D Vision Surround setup with two or more video cards in SLI as there more performance is more then welcome for the ultra high total resolution you get with the 3 combined 3D monitors. However if you just got your system equipped with a single GTX 480 or let alone with two or more of these cards you probably won’t be very keen on replacing them and especially if you’ve added full cover water cooling blocks on the 480 and integrated these into the loop of a fully water cooled computer just like I did. However inspecting closely the reference PCB of the GTX 580, I’ve found out that it is pretty close to the one used for the GTX 480, with just some minor differences and that can mean that the GTX 480 water blocks from EK have a chance of fitting over the GTX 580. And the other thing that kind of worries me a bit is the new power monitoring hardware introduced with the GTX 580, not that it is not a good thing to keep the power consumption in a specific level, but what about if you are an enthusiast and overclocker and get a good and more efficient water cooling on the card in order to squeeze every last bit of performance possible out of the video card? I mean that this new power monitoring dedicated hardware circuitry on the graphics card that is performing real‐time monitoring of current and voltage on each 12V rail (6‐pin, 8‐pin, and the PCI‐Express edge connector) might as well turn out to be a bit limiting factor in terms of overclockability of the new video cards and although I hope not, this is yet to be confirmed.
I do hope to soon be able to test the new GTX 580 when it becomes available around here, to see how well it performs in stereoscopic 3D mode and how it compares to the 480s. But I seriously doubt that I’ll be replacing the GTX 480s in my test system with the new 580s for now as after building the test PC with GTX 480 and getting a 3D HDTV, the upgrade budget is way over the limit for this year. So while waiting for the GeForce GTX 580 to become available in my region sometime probably at the end of this month, I’ll direct my attention to another product that gets officially released today and that is the game Call of Duty: Black Ops – an official 3D Vision Ready title that I’m sure a lot of people besides me are eagerly awaiting… ;)