This’ll be a quick review of the Palit GeForce GTX 580 which was delivered to my door just a few days ago. And, might I add, the postman who delivers all of our post really is the nicest chap in the world.
The GeForce GTX 580 is Nvidia’s current, top of the range, bleeding-edge graphics card solution for gamers whom want the absolute best performance from a single card. This thing is a monster. Much like the GTX 570, the GTX 580 also sports the superior vapour chamber cooling method to ensure that your beastly hardware remains as cool as possible, without having to sacrifice on performance. The baby is also relatively quiet; whatever noise it may or may-not be generating is easily drowned out by any ambience noise, and that of my other component’s fans whirring away.
Anyhoo, I’m £385 down now. But I’m also up a GTX 580, so that’s good enough for me. I pre-ordered mine via Amazon UK for, as mentioned previously, £380 before the V.A.T. price increase kicked in. As of my writing this, you’re looking at £408 for the please, right now, which is still a fair enough price considering just how mind-numbingly awesome this card is. If that’s all you needed to know — “is it mind-glowingly awesome?” then, yes. Yes, it is.
I’ll continue on with my brief, mini-review regardless, mind, as I’ve started now. I’ll primarily be focussing on gaming benchmarks, as that is what happens to interest me and, hopefully, those of you whom might be reading this article.
We used the following hardware
|Processor||AMD Phenom II x4 965 Black Edition|
|Data storage||3x 1TB Samsung Spintpoint F3 HDD|
|Graphics card||Palit GeForce GTX 580 (1536MB)|
|Memory||4GB Corsair Dominator CL9|
|Motherboard||Asus M4A79T Deluxe|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
|Power supply||Corsair TX950 (950 watts)|
Let’s begin with a quick image-by-image walkthrough of how the GTX 580 went from the postman’s hands… into mine… hands. Yeah. GO.
All settings were absolutely maxed out… to the max. Well, except for one case: Crysis: Warhead, but more of that later. All DirectX 11 features enabled, where applicable. All games were played in offline single-player modes in order for me to have to worry about online latency ‘hiccups’ affecting the benchmark results.
Aliens vs Predator (2010)
I decided to test AvP during the during exterior area of the facility during the ‘Colony’ mission. I was hoping to capture some actual combat footage but, alas, it seems my previously ‘complete’ save-file didn’t survive the recent transfer process to my backup hard drive. Reformatting my primary hard drive also means that the file has been lost forever.
Regardless, even with everything maxed out, AvP still ran relatively smooth. There were a few dips below 50 FPS, but overall performance was very impressive.
Worth noting: The DirectX 11-exclusive ‘Advanced Shadows’ options is quite the resource hog. Disabling this feature will result in some substantially higher performance read-outs. However, in keeping with the ‘maxed out’ rule of thumb that I’ve been going with, I went and enabled it.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
With the DirectX 11-specific HBAO option enabled, most modern graphics cards will struggle to keep up consistently high framerates. The GTX 580, however, took virtually everything that Bad Company 2 had to throw at it.
I decided to test the GTX 580 and see how it handled the second, rather hectic mission called “Cold War.” Suffice to say — the GTX 580 more than impressed during this segment of the game. Chaotic firefights where grenade explosions and gunfire effects were handled effortlessly.
Okay, yes, even the GTX 580 struggles with the ‘Enthusiast’ option. Considering that the GTX 580 is currently the most powerful single-GPU card available right now, and Crysis Warhead is nearing its third year of release, it really does make you wonder how many years it’ll be before graphics cards come out will will trounce this game.
Still, while there were a fair amount of dips under the 60 FPS mark, Crysis Warhead still ran comfortably smoothly. In the GTX 580′s defence: I did load up a particular “busy” save file, which launched me into a fight that was choc-full of enemies flanking me, explosions going off, and generally all manner of anarchy going on.
I’m still very much looking forward to revisiting this game after I’m done with my current ‘play-list’. Hopefully by then I’ll have invested in a second GTX 580 and be able to enjoy flawless performance on a dual GTX 580 SLi configuration. I’ll need to upgrade my motherboard to a newer SLi-compatible model, too…
Dead Rising 2
I’m reluctant to say that Dead Rising 2 is a particularly GPU-stressing game, primarily because that would be a lie. There’s still a fair amount of fancy graphical punch on show in the game that would otherwise bring a weaker graphics card to its knees. Despite my benchmarking statistics informing me that there were a few dips below 60 FPS, I really, really wouldn’t have guessed it. Performance felt absolutely silky smooth, and dishing out a healthy dollop of zombie genocide has never been so enjoyable.
I’ll be honest: I’m absolutely useless at racing sims. I really am. I let the AI-controlled cars from the built-in benchmarking tool do the driving on my behalf. Absolutely flawless performance. Dirt and sand was kicked up by car tires to beautiful, almost life-like effect. The GTX 580 allows you to crank all of the DirectX 11 settings up to the max and still enjoy incredible performance. In my limited experience of driving simulation games, I haven’t seen a more realistic, visually appealing racing experience to date.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The
Perhaps this game is getting on a bit, but that doesn’t stop it from being among my all-time favourites. Just roaming the great outdoors was an absolute treat and even climbing to the highest mountain and gazing on into the distant fortress that is the “Imperial City” didn’t even make the cause the card to break a sweat.
Of course, you could argue that Oblivion is getting on a bit, that much may be true, but very few modern cards (if any besides the GTX 580) can boast of never dropping below the 60 FPS line. Absolutely staggering.
Just Cause 2
Sadly, despite having had this sitting in my Steam library since May ’10 when my fabulous mother-in-law purchased this on my birthday, I still haven’t managed to get round to peroply taking this for a spin. Aside from the brief 30 minutes I managed to sneak in before being enveloped by Splinter Cell: Convcition, that is.
I decided to use the first 60 seconds of ‘The Dark Tower’ benchmark demonstration as a means to see how the GTX 580 held up against this game. I was very pleased with the results.
I decided to go solo on this one. Don’t get me wrong, the multiplayer element of this game is superb, but I didn’t fancy the idea of having to have to worry about lag from online matches screwing with the performance figures. I also decided to try out the new Santa’s Evil Lair map which was introduced in a recent Steam update, and the only map which I had not yet encountered during the online rotations. Needless to say: My ignorance of the map layout lead to some rather quick deaths.
Also: the GTX 580 destroyed this game — in a good way. The “specimens” looked wonderfully, beautifully horrifying, and performance almost literally could not have been better. Aside from overclocking or chucking in a second card in SLi mode, that is.
Left 4 Dead 2
I decided to see how the card help up against the seemingly-endless waves of zombies during the finale of The Passing campaign. Benchmarking began almost immediately after meeting up with the original survivors and exiting through the descending elevator — where the “horde” is immediately alerted to your presence.
Flawless performance. Even the billion-and-one zombies littering the screen couldn’t make the card throw in the towel.
I actually purchased this game during the recent Christmas sale on Steam and only after acquiring the GTX 580 did I feel this game was worth visiting for the first time. During the 30-odd minutes playtime I managed to steal from the game during my testing. I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable this gangster yarn was turning out to be.
Benchmarking took place during the initial World War II segment of the game, where plenty of heated gun-fights are taking place.
Metro 2033 is sometimes referred to as the “Crysis of 2010,” simply because it’s extremely demanding requirements and habit of bringing modern cards to their knees.
I decided to benchmark the first 10 minutes of the game, simply because my old save file was another of the casualties of a recent failed back-up attempt. The card held up splendidly during my encounter with the two mutant creatures and, while there was noticeable slow-down, the game was still very playable and enjoyable regardless.
Red Faction: Guerilla
The engine of Red Faction: Guerilla allows for your to take advantage of the brilliant “Geo-mod” technology and blow the crap out of the environment. This was a surprise favourite for me in 2010 and having revisited it just to test out the GTX 580 ended up in me falling in love with the game all over again.
Despite many considering RFG to be a simple “console port,” this game is still pretty demanding of modern hardware. The eye-candy produced as a result of you raising hell on the colonies of Mars really does take its toll on your rig. When there’s plenty of explosions going off, then there is some pretty noticeable slowdown. But, for the most part, performance is very, very tolerable. I can’t wait to test this one out in an SLi configuration.
Resident Evil 5
Fortunately, Resident Evil 5 includes a pair of handy benchmarking tools, which are both readily accessible from the main menu. For the purpose of this test, I ran with the ‘Fixed Benchmark’ option. Sadly, the built-in tool does not display the minimum and maximum FPS results, so I instead continued on with using FRAPS to measure performance as opposed to RE5′s own internal benchmarking.
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Benchmarking took place during the opening half-tutorial sequence, half-action introduction portion of the first mission.
Tomb Raider: Underworld
I’m still working my way through Tomb Raider: Underworld and enjoying every moment of it, but I decided that perhaps the “Coastal Thailand” mission of the game would be the ideal candidate to test the GTX 580 as this, in my opinion, is among the most beautiful locations to visit during Lara’s adventure, and also sports what I consider to be the most intricate details to the environment.
Even during the wildly expansive sections of the level, the card was barely taxed and didn’t even drop below 80 FPS. Just incredible.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
Much like driving simulations, I’m not all that great with real time strategy games. I am a huge fan of ‘em, however, and my lack of skill certainly won’t put me off from pre-ordering a digital copy of the Retribution expansion pack for Dawn of War II.
I must say this: I used the internal benchmarking tool that is present in the game and it certainly does a good job of stressing your hardware. However, during the actual campaign, I was faced with very little slow-down. The benchmarking results below are the results of using the in-built tools. You can expect absolutely first-class performance during the relatively ‘calmer’ single player campaign.
|Overall||9 / 10 |