updated 09:45 am EST, Tue November 9, 2010
NVIDIA GTX 580 debuts at up to 160pc faster
NVIDIA today at last confirmed the existence of the GeForce GTX 580, its new graphics leader. The design jumps from 480 processing cores to 512 and adds 16 PolyMorph (hardware geometry tessellation) units that significantly boost the performance, especially when they can be fully used in DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1. In extreme cases, a GTX 580 can be up to 160 percent faster than a Radeon HD 5870 in a game like HAWX 2 and 62 percent faster in a DX9/DX10 game like StarCraft II.
It should also be about 30 percent faster than the GTX 480 it replaces, albeit in the synthetic 3DMark test, and promises a relatively new level of detail for all: it can render about two billion triangles per second, a feat which NVIDIA has shown off in its Endless City demo (below).
NVIDIA also claims some efficiency improvements, as the design is as much as 35 percent faster for the same amount of power and also generates less heat. A new vapor chamber cooling block uses water vaporization and condensation to draw heat away from the main GPU without having to spin the fan as much; an adaptive fan can spin down when it's less necessary.
The design continues to support 3D Vision and 3DTV Play, including on multiple displays, and allows for audio pass-through over HDMI. CUDA, DirectCompute and OpenCL are likewise strong points for a design already tailored to general computing and not just graphics. It runs its core and memory clocks higher at 772MHz and 1GHz respectively (versus 700MHz and 924MHz) while still running on a 384-bit memory bus. Most cards will come with 2GB of video memory, two dual-link DVI ports and mini HDMI, though companies are free to customize the specs.
NVIDIA has vowed to make this a "hard" launch with shipping products on the same day and is seeing multiple cards released through partners including ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, PNY and others. Official pricing comes in at $499 but can vary depending on whether it's overclocked or otherwise running beyond stock. Full computer assemblers such as Origin PC are already known to be upgrading their systems with the faster video.
Other, more mainstream GeForce 500 hardware is likely to come in the next few months, including mainstream and notebook chips.