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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  • Oxford Guy - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    There is already more than once source.

    Anandtech's article shows the 480 beating the 580 in a minimum frame rate bench. I believe the game is Crysis, but I'm not sure.

    So, coupled with the review I posted from techgage -- there are already multiple sources.

    We need to see Anandtech show minimum frame rates for Unigine.
  • wtfbbqlol - Saturday, November 13, 2010 - link

    Hmm, don't see it. I scanned the Anandtech GTX580 review for it but couldn't find it.

    BTW I'm just getting a slight sense that you are more than a little worried about this...
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, November 13, 2010 - link

    Anandtech only posted minimum frame rates for Crysis. In those posts, though, we see that the 480 SLI beat the 580 SLI at 1920 x 1200.

    That is part of the pattern shown more obviously by the Unigine benchmark results I posted.

    Anandtech needs to post minimum frame rates for Unigine at least to resolve this issue.

    As for me being "worried"... I fail to see your point. If you don't think the 480 crushing the 580 in Unigine at lower than 2K res is worth investigating, that's your point of view.
  • B3an - Saturday, November 13, 2010 - link

    It's less than a 2 FPS difference... who cares?

    The 6870 and 5850 both beat the 5870 in that chart, which is also faster. Things like this are not that rare. It's nothing. Probably drivers.
  • wtfbbqlol - Saturday, November 13, 2010 - link

    Ok I see you were referring to the SLI results. I looked in the single-GPU review.

    Anyway, 2fps out of 55fps is kinda within a margin of error. And even in that Crysis minimum framerate graph, the single GPU GTX580 is faster than the single GPU GTX480. It looks like all the dual-GPU cards are started to get bottlenecked by the CPU/non-GPU parts of the system which is why the results are so clumped together.

    As for the Techgage results I am more than a little skeptical. As explained before there is no reason why a GTX480 can beat a GTX470 twofold, let alone GTX580. That super high minimum framerate may very well be a bug. It's the only video card in Techgage's graph that's far away faster than anything else. Doesn't make sense at all.

    And I believe you are doing a disservice by being so fixated on this minimum framerate issue without applying basic statistical analysis to the problem.
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    OMG ROFLMAO! You posted the same thing in the original 580 review thread and it's still funny as hell! :-/

  • Oxford Guy - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Do you want to post links to the minimum frame rate Unigine Heaven tests you've done?

    You, know... something productive?

    No. Then move along.
  • jewie27 - Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - link

    Wrong question. Can it play Battlefield 3 in 3D Vision Surround?
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    No 5970 CF?
  • tech6 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    It must be a conspiracy! ;-)

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