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

  • medi01 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    They've implied dual card nevertheless.
  • Haydyn323 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    It very specifically says "Dual-GPU Records". Everyone is fully aware at this point that a 5970 has dual gpus in a single card, so there's no reason to make the distinction.
  • soonerkevin - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Can we get Crysis Warhead benchmarks using the Enthusiast setting? It's odd that you use the highest setting for all the other games but not Crysis.
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Assuming we don't drop it entirely the next time we refresh our suite, we'll probably go to all Enthusiast for at least 1 resolution. Up until now, only a couple of cards have been fast enough to run it at anything resembling a playable framerate.
  • Soldier1969 - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    2560 x 1600 res and a AMD 6970 FTW.
  • silverblue - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Let's wait and see. If the model numbering is as skewed as with the 68xx series, the 69xx series may not be as fast as you think... though the dual GPU card should perform better thanks to the improved Crossfire performance with the new cards. Again, let's wait and see, however as two 6870s are quicker and less greedy than one 580, and noting that the 5970 uses much less power than two 5870s (granted, it's technically two 5850s but that doesn't explain all the difference), AMD could have a good dual GPU card on the way.
  • medi01 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    If you ran out of budget could you please ask AMD to send you second 5970 card please?
  • Haydyn323 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    They are unlikely to do so. The 5970 is being phased out of production completely to make way for the 6000 series version that is likely to come soon or to encourage people to instead buy 2x 6870s. Not to mention it's a 700 dollar card.
  • medi01 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Oh, and suddenly it is such a big problem for review site to find several hundred bucks for a card, eh?
  • Haydyn323 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    I don't see what the big deal is. Yes, most likely 2x 5970s will beat 2x 580s.

    If that's all you want to hear; there it is. Just picture an added graph bar with higher fps above the 580 sli in your mind. It works just as well.

    There's really not much point in trying to prove it at this time as ATI doesn't intend to keep selling them much longer. They have no incentive to push it.

    Again for most of the 5970s currently being sold, buying 2 would cost someone $1360 whereas buying 2 580s would be $1000, so it's expected that 5970s should have more total power. Switch this up to 3x or 4x 580s and both price and performance probably go higher for the 580s.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now