3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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Getting Ready for GeForce GTX 580 Upgrade for Stereo 3D Gaming

December 1st, 2010 · 11 Comments · Other S3D Tech

I just got my hands on the brand new GeForce GTX 580 a.k.a. the new high-end single GPU by Nvidia and I was frankly quite surprised in a good way from it. If you remember when the GTX 480 was announced there were a lot of people complaining that the video cards based on that GPU were getting very hot and noisy when they are under load. I’ve been using GTX 480 for a while now, but I’ve solved all my possible problems by going with water cooling for the video cards, so they are kept cooler and they are not noisy and I would recommend to anyone going for a single or especially dual GTX 480s to go for water cooling instead to stay with the default air cooler. On the other hand the new GTX 580 is surprisingly cool while remaining quite silent even under high load, after about an hour with the card running Fur Mark at extreme settings it was about 74 degrees Celsius and the fan was running at just 56% meaning pretty much silent. If you ask me Nvidia should’ve gone out earlier with the new cooler using vapor chamber technology not only for the GTX 580, but the 480s should’ve been equipped with it too and they would’ve been ranked much higher in all the reviews than they were due to the heat and noise complaints. So the GTX 580 is perfectly usable with the air cooling and can even handle some overclock without the card getting much noisier, reaching to a level that you will find it uncomfortable, so well done Nvidia.

But back on the water cooling, the main reason I wanted to get my hands on a GTX 580 was to see if the new cards will be compatible with the full cover water cooling block from EK for the GTX 480 since I already had these. After seeing the first GTX 580 photos I was pretty sure that the water cooling blocks will also fit on the new cards, but today I was able to personally confirm that if I go for GTX 580 I will not have to replace my older (are they old already?) water cooling blocks for the GTX 480. This was pretty much enough for me to consider upgrading to GTX 580 from GTX 480 and due to that I’ll be doing some benchmarks, comparing the older top model and the new top model in stereo 3D mode. I just want to be sure that I’ll be getting even better results while gaming in stereo 3D mode with GTX 580 than with GTX 480, and while waiting for the new Crysis game, I’ll have to do with the Metro 2033 for being one of the heaviest game titles even when not in S3D. So expect some results later on and meanwhile I’m taking my tools and am going to work on the PC to replace the video cards… ;)

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Nvidia With a New High-end GPU, Namely the GeForce GTX 580

November 9th, 2010 · 8 Comments · General 3D News

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… ;)

Amazon is still a bit short on GTX 580 listings, but the first are there…
At Newegg however there are more GTX 580 and there is promotion with 10% off…

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Getting Ready To Play Mafia II in Stereoscopic 3D Mode

August 24th, 2010 · 13 Comments · Stereo 3D Games

While waiting for the game Mafia II to arrive very soon I took the time to make sure that the Green Reactor 3D Test PC using water cooling for the processor and the video card(s) is ready to take on the challenge head on. The system now has two GTX 480 video cards working together in SLI, of course water cooled as well as the CPU in order to ensure quiet operation and very high performance… plus some overclocking of course. The good news is that the two 480s are enough to handle the game in 1920×1080 resolution, with maximum details, AA enabled, PhysX set to High and in stereo 3D mode on top of all that with an average framerate of a bit over 30 fps at any time according to the benchmark available in the demo. That is of course with the Core i5 750 CPU running on default frequency along with the two GTX 480s also running on default frequencies, and with a bit of overclocking for all of them like 4 GHz for the CPU and 840 MHz for the GPU and 4468 MHz for the GPU things are looking much better with an average framerate of almost 40 fps. And hopefully the final game will be even more optimized and perform even better than the heavy benchmark built inside the recently released game demo, and I’m not going to have to wait much longer in order to be able to confirm that. Meanwhile, are you ready for the Mafia II challenge on your hardware in order to play it with max details, PhysX and in stereo 3D mode with 3D Vision of course… did anyone actually get a dedicated video card for the PhysX?

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