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Gigabyte GTX 580 Super Overclock Review

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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So here we are with another GTX 580 review which just so happens to be the second of five which will be hitting the pages of Hardware Canucks over the next few weeks. Typically, early summer is a relatively slow time for new architecture introductions in the graphics card world and many board partners use this time to expand their lineups with new twists on existing cards.

During Computex, we’ll surely see all manner of custom cards (many of which will never be available in North American retail channels) but Gigabyte has pre-empted much of their competition by already introducing their upper crust single GPU card: the GTX 580 Super Overclock.


Much like the MSI Lightning (and the upcoming Lightning X) we reviewed a little while back, Gigabyte has swung for the fences with this card. There’s a substantial overclock on the core which should result in a good framerate boost. For whatever reason Gigabyte increased memory speeds by an almost nonsensical 100Mhz. Unfortunately, the SoC “only” comes with 1.5GB of onboard memory which could cause an issue since the competition has begun showing off 3GB designs.


One of the main selling points of the Super Overclock series has always been their high-end heatsink design and this card is no different. This Windforce 3X design uses a large vapor chamber that’s topped with a pair of 8mm heatpipes and a three 80mm fans. Unlike some custom designs, this heatsink doesn’t stick out over the custom PCB’s edge which is good considering the SoC is a good ½” longer than the reference GTX 580.


Along with the usual GPU Gauntlet sorting process and Ultra Durable VGA+ design, Gigabyte has also added some extras for overclockers. There’s an Extreme Dual BIOS button which switches between the standard Gigabyte SoC BIOS and one that is tailored to work around the GF110’s cold bug when under LN2. The card does have to be uninstalled to actually access this button but we don’t expect it to be used all that much anyways.

Voltage read points are conspicuous by their absence considering Gigabyte claims this card has them. We couldn't find them in any easily-accessible location, that's for sure.


All of this cutting edge GPU technology is held together by an extensive 14-phase PWM design which is linked up to LED’s on the PCB’s underside. This PWM is also helped along with NEC / Tokin Prodalizer film capacitors mounted next to the aforementioned LEDs.

Naturally, the Super Overclock boasts a hefty entry cost. At $540 it is a good $20 more than MSI’s Lightning which may cause a bit of an issue since both cards should perform identically and offer almost the same feature sets. Can Gigabyte really justify even the slightest premium over the Lightning? We’re going to find out.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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12,857
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Test System & Setup

Test System & Setup

Processor: Intel Core i7 920(ES) @ 4.0Ghz (Turbo Mode Enabled)
Memory: Corsair 3x2GB Dominator DDR3 1600Mhz
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Cooling: CoolIT Boreas mTEC + Scythe Fan Controller (Off for Power Consumption tests)
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB
Power Supply: Corsair HX1000W
Monitor: Samsung 305T 30” widescreen LCD / / 3x Acer GD235HZ 23.5" 1080P LCDs
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate N x64 SP1


Acoustical Testing Platform:

Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K(ES)
Memory: OCZ Platinum 2x2GB PC3-12800
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68 PRO
Cooling: Thermalright TRUE w/Noctua NF-P12
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
Power Supply: Corsair AX1200



Graphics Cards:

Gigabyte GTX 580 Super Overclock
MSI GTX 580 Lightning
NVIDIA GTX 590 3GB (Ref.)
NVIDIA GTX 580 (Ref)

AMD HD 6990 4GB
AMD HD 5970 2GB
AMD HD 6970 2GB(Ref)

Drivers:

NVIDIA 270.61 WHQL
ATI 11.4 + CAP 11.2 R4

Note: Even though AMD claims the “AMD Optimized Tessellation” feature in the 11.1a drivers has not yet been implemented, we have changed the setting to “Off” in order to ensure additional, untested optimizations are not enabled.

Applications Used:

3DMark 11
Aliens Versus Predator
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DiRT 2
F1 2010
Just Cause 2
Lost Planet
Metro 2033
Unigine: Heaven


*Notes:

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR BENCHMARKING PROCESS PLEASE SEE THIS ARTICLE

- All games tested have been patched to their latest version

- The OS has had all the latest hotfixes and updates installed

- All scores you see are the averages after 3 benchmark runs

All game-specific methodologies are explained above the graphs for each game

All IQ settings were adjusted in-game
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Messages
12,857
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Montreal
3DMark 11 (DX11)

3DMark 11 (DX11)


3DMark 11 is the latest in a long line of synthetic benchmarking programs from the Futuremark Corporation. This is their first foray into the DX11 rendering field and the result is a program that incorporates all of the latest techniques into a stunning display of imagery. Tessellation, depth of field, HDR, OpenCL physics and many others are on display here. In the benchmarks below we have included the results (at default settings) for both the Performance and Extreme presets.


Performance Preset



Extreme Preset

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Aliens Versus Predator (DX11)

Aliens Versus Predator (DX11)


When benchmarking Aliens Versus Predator, we played through the whole game in order to find a section which represents a “worst case” scenario. We finally decided to include “The Refinery” level which includes a large open space and several visual features that really tax a GPU. For this run-through, we start from within the first tunnel, make our way over the bridge on the right (blowing up several propane tanks in the process), head back over the bridge and finally climb the tower until the first run-in with an Alien. In total, the time spent is about four minutes per run. Framerates are recorded with FRAPS.


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SKYMTL

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BattleField: Bad Company 2 (DX11)

BattleField: Bad Company 2 (DX11)


To benchmark BF: BC2 we used a five minute stretch of gameplay starting from the second checkpoint (after the helicopter takes off) of the second single player mission up until your battle with the tank commences. Framerates are recorded with FRAPS.


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SKYMTL

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F1 2010 (DX11)

F1 2010 (DX11)



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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Just Cause 2 (DX10)

Just Cause 2 (DX10)


Just Cause 2 has quickly become known as one of the best-looking games on the market and while it doesn’t include DX11 support, it uses the full stable of DX10 features to deliver a truly awe-inspiring visual experience. For this benchmark we used the car chase scene directly following the Casino Assault level. This scene includes perfectly scripted events, some of the most GPU-strenuous effects and lasts a little less than four minutes. We chose to not use the in-game benchmarking tool due to its inaccuracy when it comes to depicting actual gameplay performance.


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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Lost Planet 2 (DX11)

Lost Planet 2 (DX11)


Lost Planet is a game that was originally released on consoles but in its port over to the PC, it gained some highly impressive DX11 features. For this benchmark, we forgo the two built-in tools and instead use a 2 minute gameplay sequence from the second level in the first chapter. The reason we use this level is because it makes use of three elements that are seen throughout the game world: jungles, water and open terrain.


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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
Feb 26, 2007
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12,857
Location
Montreal
Metro 2033 (DX11)

Metro 2033 (DX11)


There has been a lot of buzz about Metro 2033 which has mostly centered on its amazing graphics coupled with absolutely brutal framerates on even the best GPUs on the market. For this test we use a walkthrough and combat scene from The Bridge level which starts at the beginning of the level and lasts for about 3 minutes of walking, running and combat. Famerates are measured with FRAPS and Advanced PhysX is turned off.


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2560 x 1600

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Unigine: Heaven v2.1 (DX11)

Unigine: Heaven v2.1 (DX11)


Unigine’s Heaven benchmark is currently the de-facto standard when it comes to simple, straightforward DX11 performance estimates. While it is considered a synthetic benchmark by many, it is important to remember that no less than four games based on this engine will be released within the next year or so. In this test we will be using a standard benchmark run with and without tessellation enabled at three resolutions,


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