Every once in while we all do something that may not make sense and splurge on an item that defies logic, and treat ourselves to something out of the ordinary. Enter the new GTX 580 from nVidia. For years I have been a fan of performance cards for occasional gaming and graphics work. I always wanted to enjoy and occasional FPS game and have it play smooth and responsive. For the past couple years, you did not need to spend allot of money to achieve that as there were many choices in the mid range that would handle the task easily. Having been an nVidia fan for years mainly due to the stability of their drivers, there had not been much from them that was worthy of owning forcing me to use an ATI 5850 card for the better part of the year. When they released the GTX 470/480 early this year, I was excited to get my hands on one so I purchased the GTX 470 as it was in a more comfortable price range of roughly $300. When I got the card and installed it I was very disappointed at the noise levels and the temperatures. The card would idle at close to 70C and would hit temperatures of 93+C during a gaming session. Just letting the system just idle was enough to heat up the room so I quickly returned it and continued to use my Radeon 5850. Recently they released a wonderful card , the GTX 460, however it is roughly in the same performance range as my ATI 5850 so there was no incentive for me to upgrade.
Step ahead to November 10th when I find out that nVidia is releasing a new card which was somewhat unexpected, that clamed to be faster, quieter, and more power efficient. I read the early reviews of this card and I began to wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat with an overwhelming and uncontrollable urge to hit Newegg. I fought the feeling for a few days but finally after days of fatigue and sleeplessness, I just had to do it. The thought of having of having the worlds fastest single GPU card, the stability of the nVidia drivers, all without the thermal and noise issues of the last version was too much for me to handle. I stared at the shopping cart for 10 minutes debating and finally I hit the order button….
The card arrived nicely packaged and housed in the usual and very boring box from EVGA. Looking at the box all their cards look the same except of course for the big white letters that tell you what it is.
Again, the inside protective packaging is very basic and underwhelming for a card of this price range.
The card includes a mini HDMI adapter to support the third output on the card as well as power converter cables for those who have older supplies or who do not have dedicated PCI express connectors from the power supply. The card graphics on the outside of the outside housing are very basic but nicely done. No fancy artwork or designs on this baby.
This is what it looked like when it was installed. The markings on the side really stand out and there is no mistaking what this card is. Very clean installation and the card is no larger than my 5850.
Conclusions and impressions.
Having used the several ATI cards including my recent 5850, as well as the GTX 470 which I sent back, I must say that this card impressed me in ways well beyond the benchmarks. As there are benchmarks all over the internet proving its might, I made my final decision based on how th card is used everyday. For starters, all the 2D screens where smoother and more responsive across my dual monitor setup, which is something that is not typical on many two monitor setups. In addition the card ran virtually the same thermal profile as my ATI 5850 which is a major accomplishment considering the performance difference between the two. There is also less noise and much less heat than its predecessors even wit an increase amount of performance. The card is amazingly quiet even under load and I was shocked that the card ran 20C less than the GTX 470 and about the same as my 5850. The only down side of this card is obviously the price. This card is a range that is not practical and in most situations, does not make a good value proposition but if you ever want to spoil yourself, this one awesome card that will last you a long time and through many builds. After 4 days, I am still in love and definitely keeping it and have not had any buyers remorse at all… More to come as I have more time with the card.