What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

Overclocking the ASUS GTX 580 Voltage Tweak Edition

Status
Not open for further replies.

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
With the launch of the GTX 580 less than a week ago, NVIDIA proved they could take the original GF100 architecture and improve it in a number of ways. Not only was overall efficiency increased but the performance per watt attained by the new GF110-based card was leaps and bounds better than the previous ultra high end GTX 480.

To say that we were impressed with the direction NVIDIA took with the GTX 580 would be an understatement of epic proportions. In our opinion it can be considered one of the best cards released in 2010. Performance is there in spades and from all indications, sales have been extremely brisk at a number of North America’s largest retailers.

The one aspect which piqued everyone’s attention at launch was the GTX 580’s willingness to overclock. Unlike past flagship products that are already running at or near their allowable limits, NVIDIA seems to have built in a good amount of headroom into their latest and greatest. Naturally, this has led to board partners trying to wring as much as they can from these cards in order to create their own overclocked versions. Some like EVGA and ASUS had overclocked cards right from the get go while others won’t be all that far behind.

When overclocking is left in the hands of the end-user, how far can these GTX 580 cards really be pushed? In order to answer this, we’re going to take the ASUS GTX 580 Voltage Tweak Edition and push clock speeds to the limits of the stock heatsink. Since ASUS bundles their own overclocking software called Smart Doctor along with all of their cards to increase the core voltage as well. This allowed us to squeeze every last drop out of the card which ASUS provided without resorting to any exotic cooling methods. What kind of performance does equate? We're about to find out...

GTX-580-OC-6.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
The ASUS GTX 580, Final Clock Speeds & "OCP Removal"

The ASUS GTX 580


GTX-580-OC-1.jpg

The ASUS GTX 580 Voltage Tweak is simply a reference GTX 580 with a few stickers on it. It maintains the exact same design as the original NVIDIA card we reviewed last week but its BIOS has been modified slightly for compatibility with ASUS’ SmartDoctor overclocking utility.

GTX-580-OC-2.jpg
GTX-580-OC-3.jpg

Even though this particular card can be pushed to extremely high levels when paired up with the Voltage Tweak ability, ASUS has decided to keep the standard 6-pin and 8-pin power connector layout and fan design.


Overclocking the ASUS Voltage Tweak Edition


After using a trio of GTX 580 cards for the last two weeks, we can honestly say that NVIDIA has released an overclocker-friendly card. Every one of our samples reaches between 875 and 902Mhz without any additional voltage or changes to the default fan speed profile. Memory overclocks also ranged from 1080 to 1150Mhz which is an excellent improvement over the stock 1000Mhz speed.

GTX-580-OC-5.jpg

Using the included SmartDoctor utility, the ASUS GTX 580 nailed 888Mhz core speed without so much as an issue but going above that required a bump in voltage. Its memory meanwhile reached a respectable 1097Mhz or 4388Mhz QDR before the GDDR5’s error correction routines we mentioned in a past article kicked in and performance couldn’t be increased any more.

Something else we wanted to mention very quickly is that the core on ASUS’ “reference” GTX 580 is overclocked by 10Mhz from the factor. In essence, this gives you a “free” performance increase even though such a minor overclock will have next to no impact upon real world gaming performance.

These numbers are very good considering the stock clock speeds of the GTX580 but what we are really after in this article is performance at the highest clock speeds reachable under air with the fan operating at reasonable speeds. For that, we will need to increase voltage a bit…

GTX-580-OC-4.jpg

By pumping the voltage to a moderate 1.138V we were able to push the core to 951Mhz which is a massive 179Mhz over the reference clock speeds. This was attained with a constant fan speed of 67% which is still quiet enough to not be noticed above the din of gaming.

We could have gone higher but we found this core clock / voltage combination offered a good balance of performance output, stability and fan speed. The clock speeds you see above are what will be used for the benchmarks.


A Quick Note about "Power Throttling"


A few days before this article went live, the maniacal “wizards” over at TechPowerUp posted a handy little command line prompt for GPU-Z which supposedly eliminates the power throttling on GTX 580 cards. Basically, this feature is supposed to limit the amount of amperage which is sent to the GPU when certain “power viruses” such as OCCT and FurMark are detected.

Some believe that eliminating this built-in protection will also open up overclocking on GF110-based GPUs but fortunately, that wasn’t meant to be for any of our samples…with air cooling at least. Even when enabling the command line override in GPU-Z, we weren’t able to get one extra Mhz out of any GTX 580.

However, our results can’t be taken as a benchmark if you are using more exotic forms of cooling. There may very well be a point where highly overclocked frequencies smash head first into the limitations NVIDIA placed upon the GTX 580. We just weren’t able to reach them with the reference heatsink. Then again, from our understanding NVIDIA has simply implemented a software solution to cut off Furmark et all at the knees rather than true hardware monitoring of input current.

Just remember that while ASUS maintains their warranty as long as you overclock and increase the voltage from within Smart Doctor, eliminating the GTX 580’s power throttling will basically void your warranty from any of the board partners we have talked to. Honestly though, for anyone not interested in possibly overclocking far above and beyond the limits of what air cooling will allow, disabling this power throttling technology would be completely pointless.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
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 640GB
Power Supply: Corsair HX1000W
Monitor: Samsung 305T 30” widescreen LCD
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate N x64 SP1


Graphics Cards:

NVIDIA GTX 580
NVIDIA GTX 480 (Ref)
NVIDIA GTX 470 (Ref)

ATI HD 5970 2GB (Ref)
ATI HD 5870 1GB (Ref)
ATI HD 5850 1GB (Ref)
ATI HD 6870 1GB (Ref)
ATI HD 6850 1GB (Ref)



Drivers:

NVIDIA 262.99 Beta
ATI 10.10 WHQL + 10.10d App Profiles


Applications Used:

Aliens Versus Predator
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DiRT 2
Just Cause 2
Lost Planet
Metro 2033
Starcraft 2
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
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
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.


1680 x 1050

GTX-580-OC-40.jpg


GTX-580-OC-41.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-580-OC-42.jpg


GTX-580-OC-43.jpg


2560 x 1600

GTX-580-OC-44.jpg


GTX-580-OC-45.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
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.


1680 x 1050

GTX-580-OC-46.jpg


GTX-580-OC-47.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-580-OC-48.jpg


GTX-580-OC-49.jpg


2560 x 1600

GTX-580-OC-50.jpg


GTX-580-OC-51.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
DiRT 2 (DX11)

DiRT 2 (DX11)


Being one of the newest games on the market, DiRT 2 cuts an imposing figure in terms of image quality and effects fidelity. We find that to benchmark this game the in-game tool is by far the best option. However, due to small variances from one race to another, three benchmark runs are done instead of the normal two. It should also be mentioned that the demo version of the game was NOT used since after careful testing, the performance of the demo is not representative of the final product. DX11 was forced through the game’s config file. In addition, you will see that these scores do not line up with our older benchmarks at all. This is due to the fact that a patch was recently rolled out for the game which included performance optimizations in addition to new graphics options.

1680 x 1050

GTX-580-OC-53.jpg


GTX-580-OC-54.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-580-OC-55.jpg


GTX-580-OC-56.jpg


2560 x 1600

GTX-580-OC-57.jpg


GTX-580-OC-58.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
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.


1680 x 1050

GTX-580-OC-60.jpg


GTX-580-OC-61.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-580-OC-62.jpg


GTX-580-OC-63.jpg


2560 x 1600

GTX-580-OC-64.jpg


GTX-580-OC-65.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Lost Planet (DX11)

Lost Planet (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.


1680 x 1050

GTX-580-OC-67.jpg


GTX-580-OC-68.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-580-OC-69.jpg


GTX-580-OC-70.jpg


2560 x 1600

GTX-580-OC-71.jpg


GTX-580-OC-72.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
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.


1680 x 1050

GTX-580-OC-73.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-580-OC-74.jpg


2560 x 1600

GTX-580-OC-75.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
StarCraft II (DX9)

StarCraft II (DX9)


In order to test StarCraft II performance we recorded a typical multiplayer battle on the Agria Valley map and used it as a replay in order to ensure every run was identical to one another. We used the last 3 minutes of the replay which includes the final assault on the enemy base. MSAA was applied in the NVIDIA and ATI control panels for certain tests.


1680 x 1050

GTX-580-OC-76.jpg


GTX-580-OC-77.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-580-OC-78.jpg


GTX-580-OC-79.jpg


2560 x 1600

GTX-580-OC-80.jpg


GTX-580-OC-81.jpg
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest posts

Twitter

Top