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
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • anactoraaron - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    They must be under new management as of this year because the best deals there these days are on watches and coffee makers LOL. Seriously when Best Buy starts to beat you on components and not just on laptops (BB has been beating newegg on laptop prices for at least 2 years now) something is wrong. Newegg is not the company we have grown to love anymore, and it's sad. I haven't bought anything there (but continue to buy tech items) this year... and this comment made me laugh:
    When we first saw Newegg post their GTX 580s for sale our jaw dropped as they were all $50-$80 over NVIDIA’s MSRP
    However after checking out MWave, Tiger Direct, the EVGA Store, and others, we saw at least 1 card at MSRP at each store...
    So it's official
  • Hauk - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    They run graphics cards sales like the stock market. There's someone inside very skilled and knowledgeable about the industry. They're an 800,000 pound gorilla when it comes to graphics cards.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    I use newegg for the reviews, and Google Shopping to buy.
  • alha - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Looking to upgrade a folding rig, and have been watching the new Nvidia cards with interest, since the 4xx rolled out. I read an early review of the 580, and one thing mentioned was like 380 million circuits (?) were disabled to get the heat down, and gaming perf up. If main concern is folding perf, heat and power consumption be damned, would the full bore, un-gimped 480 be theoretically better for this? Seems that the price currently for either version "superclocked" is somewhat close, so $ isn't really a dealbreaker, just want the best perf. Thoughts?
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    I think the last page shows that Stream Processors perform the same, whether in a 580 or 480. As Ryan pointed out, Folding and SmallLux performed 6-7% higher, the same increase in SP's that the 580 has. To get an index of performance for any Fermi part, just multiply the number of SP's with the core clock.
  • IceDread - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Why are there no 5970 in crossfire in the tests?
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Yeah, I already commented on that much earlier. It's said they didn't have a second 5970.
  • medi01 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    The problem is, not only is "oh, we didn't have second 5970", (card that is out for how many month?) a rather strange excuse, but even it still doesn't justify claiming nVidia got a "new record" in dual config.
  • Haydyn323 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    They said "dual gpu" config. A 5970 has 2 gpus in it already. Thus one single 5970 vs 580 SLI is comparing 2 gpus to 2 gpus.

    Crossfire 5970 would be quad gpu vs 2x 580 gpus in SLI.
  • piroroadkill - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    This is about price points, not the technical details.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now