ZOTAC GeForce GTX 580 1546MB Graphics Card Review

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Overclocking the ZOTAC Geforce GTX 580

Being that this is a reference GPU, I wasn’t expecting a lot of extra room for overclocking. But, after seeing the specs for the ZOTAC GTX 580 AMP edition, it seemed feasible that even a reference card should be able to get close if not keep up.

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Surprisingly, the reference card matched the AMP edition quite easily. This kind of boost isn’t close to possible with the GTX 480 due to the heat. Still, the idea that anyone can purchase the stock ZOTAC GTX 580 and clock it up to match the AMP edition is a sweet bonus. Essentially, this offered 13 extra average frames in Batman and 8 extra in Mafia II with PhysX enabled.

Temps and Noise Results

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The revised Fermi GTX 580 GPU contains some enhancements tuned to offer frequency increases across the spectrum without increasing power consumption. The GPU is also suppose to be more efficient with the power it does consume thus resulting in lower operational temperatures which means the likelihood of less noise. While it may seem improbable, we have to test these statements. Here is what our newly tuned GTX 580 card offered.

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The numbers here caused me to do a double take as well. Honestly speaking, the GTX 580 is literally a pleasure to use especially when gaming as the card realistically refused to get noisy except when Furmark was being used. But, that’s just a worse case scenario test and not even close to how the card will realistically be used 99% of the time. You can actually expect the cooler fan to produce less than 32dB on the average while hardcore gaming.

Final Thoughts

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The ZOTAC GTX 580 made me question whether or not I had a hand picked card given the data I gathered. NVidia’s Fermi GTX 580 improvements coupled with ZOTAC’s own internal tweaks has resulted in a much quieter and cooler video card than the once dominant reference GTX 480. They’ve even gone as far as putting a more aggressive Zalman VF3000 series VGA cooler on many of their AMP! editions just to ensure their customers are happy.

Fortunately for ZOTAC and all NVidia partners alike, the GTX 580 doesn’t really require aggressive cooling. It would be kind of a shame to omit such a sweet cooling solution on future cards especially the AMP! editions because this new reference cooling solution does work.

The GTX 580 launches at $499US and we can expect the ZOTAC NVidia Geforce GTX 580 graphics card to fall in line. This is actually the same price that GTX 480 launched at. Given all the improvements at the same price, the ZOTAC GTX 580 earns the Editors’ Choice Award that the ZOTAC GTX 480 failed to earn the first time. Well done!

Pros

  • More energy efficient, higher performance, lower noise.
  • Fastest DirectX 11 video card available
  • PhysX ready and hungry for action

Cons

  • The cost of playing with the best of the best!

Overall Rating: 9.0 /10.0

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About

As our Senior PC Hardware Editor, Eric has been working with tech since before serving in the military where he really got to play with some very cool hardware. As for his prowess on the virtual battlefield, don't let the teddy bear exterior fool you. He can frag and pwn with the best in just about any first person shooter. You may run in to him at LANs, tech shows, and gaming shows, so do say hello.

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