GTX 580 SLI: Setting New Dual-GPU Records

Today’s main event of course is the performance of the GTX 580 in SLI mode. We hope that it doesn’t spoil things for anyone when we say that the GTX 580 in SLI is setting new records for dual-GPU performance in our charts, a natural consequence of pairing up what was already the fastest single GPU card on the market. Since the results are going to be rather self-explanatory, we’ll skip the running commentary here and stick to the charts.

There are two situations where the GTX 580 SLI doesn’t handily beat everything else: Metro 2033, and Civilization V. The latter appears to be yet another incident where NVIDIA’s apparently faulty Civ5 SLI profile is robbing an SLI setup of performance, while Metro 2033 is a more interesting case. At 1920 the 580 SLI is well in the lead, but at 2560 SLI scaling is breaking down, letting the 5870CF take a slight lead.

Meanwhile in other cases we’re clearly running in to CPU limits even at 2560, as both Wolfenstein and HAWX are definitely hitting the wall; though these are already two of our fastest games before including SLI. The good news is that this leaves plenty of performance for eye candy options, as NVIDIA’s fantastic but expensive Transparancy AA and Supersample AA options for DX10 and DX11 are still available. For the IQ nuts out there that won’t settle for anything less than the best, we managed to get the 580 SLI running Crysis with all Enthusiast settings and 4x SSAA at a playable framerate of 42.8fps – albeit at 1680x1050. Perhaps next year’s 28nm die shrink will unlock enough performance that we can seriously start considering SSAA at the very high end?

As for power, temperature, and noise, the results are in-line with where we’d expect them to be considering we’re pairing up high-end cards. Compared to the GTX 480 everything is peachy; idle power is down 55W(!), load power is down 40-80W, gaming temperatures are down 10C, and even load noise  is way down. Here we see the same 7dB drop as a single GTX 580, bringing the GTX 580 SLI in below the 5970, a single GTX 480, and only slightly above a single GTX 285. Bear in mind that we’re running our cards directly next to each other here to look at the worst case scenario, so given some spacing everything here would be even quieter. Truth be told, we did not really have high hopes here, as we expected the lack of a PCB ventilation hole to take its toll; we’re pleasantly surprised as a result.

On the flipside, we’re still looking at a lot of power consumption – GTX 580 doesn’t change the fact that GF100/110 cards are in their own little universe in SLI compared to the next most power hungry setup, a 5870CF. Meanwhile noise isn’t bad, but if you’re used to a single card then this will probably catch you off guard. So the usual concerns stand with the GTX 580 SLI: make sure you have a solid high wattage power supply, an airy case, and ideally a motherboard with an x16 PCIe slot located farther away from the first one.

Index Normalized Clocks: Separating Architecture & SMs from Clockspeed Increases
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  • TonyB - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    But can it play Crysis?
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Yes, and with full screen supersample anti-aliasing! ;-)
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link


    Ryan, what did I tell you about feeding the BCIPC trolls?

    This is why we can't have nice things.

    But on a more serious note, nice update. I love reading AT's articles! .)

    By the way, was there a reason the original article was posted at exactly 9:00 and the SLI update was posted at 10:00? I looked at a few other articles by you and others and most were not posted exactly on the hour. Just curious, thanks! .)
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    It's nothing in particular. When I put an article stub in the system it gives the article the time the stub was created, which means when I publish it the system calls it several hours old when it's not. So I rewrite the article's time to match up with the current time or something close to it.

    For the GTX 580 article the time listed on it is when the NDA expired and it went up, while for this article it went up a few minutes after the hour so I just put it down on the hour. I could have published this article at any time.
  • wavetrex - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Yea, it f***ing finally can !

    Minimum frames 50 in full res+AA. Amazing!
  • Oxford Guy - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Check out the minimum frame rates in Unigine Heaven at anything lower than 2K res. Worse than 480, even dramatically.
  • Oxford Guy - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

  • wtfbbqlol - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Well you posted this in the original GTX580 review as well. Thought I'd reply once again here.

    The GTX480 minimum framerates, as high as they are at the lower resolutions, are likely a measurement error or anomaly. One only needs to look at the GTX470 to compare. There is not a good reason that the GTX480 can outpace the GTX470 by 100% at 1680x1050.
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    If you notice, one of the minimum frame rate results posted on this site shows the 480 beating the 580. So much for anomalies.

    I'd like to see this examined. Anandtech can easily post minimum frame rates for Unigine and others and answer the question...
  • wtfbbqlol - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    "If you notice, one of the minimum frame rate results posted on this site shows the 480 beating the 580. So much for anomalies."

    Well that's yet another reason I think the 480's minimum framerate at 1680x1050 is a bit suspect. The GTX480 can't possibly be faster than the GTX470 AND the GTX580 by such a large amount, right?

    But I do agree that it would be good to get more than one source of data for this.

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