Nvidia Releases GeForce GTX 580 Graphics Card

Priced at $499, the GTX 580 includes 512 CUDA cores and is based on Nvidia's Fermi architecture for parallel processing. The GTX 580 is 10.5 inches in length, with three-way SLI allowing multi-GPU gaming, 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors, and DL-DVI and mini-HDMI outputs. It runs at a graphics clock speed of 772MHz and a processor clock speed of 1544MHz, and its 1.5 GB of 384-bit GDDR5 memory runs at a speed of 4.0 Gbps.

"The GTX 480 is the fastest GPU currently on the market and the GTX 580 is even faster," said Justin Walker, product manager for Nvidia's GeForce line, in an interview. Walker says the GTX 580 offers a performance boost of 20 to 35 percent over the GTX 480.

Based on Nvidia's performance tests, which compare the processing speed of graphics processors on a number of games, the GTX 580 consistently outperforms its precedent, the GTX 480, as well as two AMD Radeon DX 11 GPUs, the HD 5870 and the HD 6870.

Nvidia is also raving about the GTX 580's sixteen polymorph engines, which offer precise visual detail for gamers. Nvidia says its increased number of tessellation engines allows exceptional geometric realism by rendering graphics at a pace of 2 billion triangles per second.

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"AMD's GPUs have a single tessellation engine, that's often where you get a bottleneck," Walker said. "You can see the improvement in the geometric detail of the graphics with 16 tessellation engines," he added.

Nvidia has also taken customer feedback into account in designing the GTX 580.

"We also focused on making the card quieter and improving the performance-per-watt," Walker said of the GTX 580. Walker said Nvidia had received some feedback revealing noise issues with some of its more powerful cards and therefore designed its new card for quieter gaming with a custom vapor chamber, external venting, and new adaptive GPU fan control.

In addition, the GTX 580 includes new built-in hardware monitoring for managing power-intensive application loads. These include real-time monitoring of current and voltage on each 12V rail and the ability to dynamically adjust performance in order to keep power running at the level of the specification.

The GTX 580 will be available through various manufacturers, although Nvidia declined to name specific companies.