The ASUS GeForce GTX 580 differs from other GTX 580 reference designs in that it has a 10MHz overclock from the factory. This gives it a slight boost in performance, but nothing significant. This is the reason we didn’t compare the ASUS GeForce GTX 580 to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 in all the tests as there was no significant difference in the performance numbers. We showed this to you in the overclocking section in the game AvP where we saw less than a 1% difference. It’s nice that ASUS put a slight overclock on the card and it will surely entice some shoppers, but they need a bigger overclock to make a noticeable difference. The best part about this overclock is that ASUS doesn’t charge a premium for it and that is a good thing.
The sole purpose of this article was to look at SLI performance on a pair of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 video cards. We have to admit it was fun to benchmark and test out this $1050 SLI setup as it isn’t every day you get to play games with this much horse power under the hood. As you could see from the performance benchmarks the GTX 580 SLI setup was pretty much untouchable and was more than impressive. Gaming doesn’t get much better than this and to have all the eye candy turned on and cranked up at 1920×1200 and still being able to reach 60FPS in applications like Heaven 2.1 was awe inspiring. AMD really needs to get their Radeon HD 6900 series cards out the door to compete on the top end as the GTX 580 is really a great performing video card. If you are running a 24″ or larger monitor then you should consider a GeForce GTX 580 SLI setup as there really is no other experience quite like it. A GTX580 SLI setup is also ideal for someone that wants to run NV Surround or stereoscopic 3D with NVIDIA 3D Vision as well. We should also mention that NVIDIA Forceware 263.09 WHQL drivers worked great with our SLI setup and we didn’t have any issues enabling SLI.
Overclocking performance on the ASUS GeForce GTX 580 greatly exceeded our expectations thanks to the ASUS Smart Doctor overclocking utility. We were able to overclock our card from 782MHz on the GF110 core by 18%, up to 926MHz. We were able to hit this impressive number thanks to the ASUS Voltage Tweak. The only negative to this rather massive overclock was the increased power consumption and GPU temperatures. We saw a 43% power consumption increase in 3DMark Vantage, so if you overclock be sure to understand that you are throwing any energy efficiency out the window. Sure, overclocking isn’t about being energy efficient, but going from 358W to 511W peak load is a huge difference. One that you can literally feel in the room after gaming for an hour or two.
When we went to check on pricing we noticed that every single GeForce GTX 580 was out of stock on Newegg! We asked ASUS if there was a supply issue and they said that “the cards have been selling like hot cakes and that they should be back in shortly”. We also reached out to NVIDIA for a comment and they had the following comment.
“We’re shipping as many boards as we can right now. Looks like Cyber Monday must’ve got us. I’m sure Newegg’s stock will be replenished shortly.” – NVIDIA PR
Newegg lists the ASUS ENGTX580/2DI/1536MD5 GeForce GTX 580 ‘Fermi’ video card for $524.99 plus shipping. This puts it right around the same price the other ten GeForce GTX 580 video cards that Newegg has listed for sale. The ASUS branded video card stands out from the crowd as it features a 3-year warranty and comes with that 10MHz factory overclock that we talked about in the introduction. Out of the 11 GeForce GTX 580 video cards for sale on Newegg only two brands of cards even offer an overclocked card right out of the box. The other company is EVGA with their SuperClocked or Black Ops Edition series cards. Those cards feature a core clock of 797MHz, which is 15MHz higher than what ASUS offers, and a bundle with more adapters and a limited lifetime warranty for an extra cost of five dollars. As you can see the market for the GeForce GTX 580 video cards is extremely competitive and at the end of the day it all comes down to brand loyalty, warranty and cost.
Legit Bottom Line: The ASUS ENGTX580 is a monster by itself, but when you run it in SLI the performance is mind blowing both mentally and for your wallet. At $1050 for an SLI setup you get the performance you pay for.