EVGA GeForce GTX 580 3GB Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: June 22, 2011
Product Name: EVGA GeForce GTX 580 3GB
Part Number: 03G-P3-1584-AR
Warranty: Lifetime
Purchase at NCIX:
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For some, this review will likely be a bitter pill to swallow. Weíve seen countless forum posts of people bitching, whining and complaining that newly released GTX 580 cards donít come equipped with 3GB of GDDR5. They turned their noses up and uttered ďpointlessĒ when MSI introduced their Lightning and Gigabyte first showed the GTX 580 Super Overclock. Both of these sported 1.5GB of memory and they ran circles around the 3GB EVGA card in this review.

The only way we saw the benefits of a 3GB framebuffer was when the deck was seriously stacked its favor. It took ultra high resolutions alongside obscene amounts of anti aliasing to even begin to differentiate between the two memory sizes. But even when the 3GB card pulls away, it usually does so without granting any additional gameplay benefits. Why? Because the underlying GF110 architecture proves to be a rendering bottleneck long before the bandwidth provided by 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory and a 384-bit interface becomes fully saturated.

Another issue we ran into was slightly lower than reference performance at many resolutions and detail settings. This is most likely due to higher latency from the 64x32 modules and increased memory controller overhead. Within games the difference was imperceptible but literally every one of our charts showed a small drop in framerates.

Itís not all doom and gloom for the EVGA GTX 580 3GB though as there are a few games which do benefit from 3GB like Metro 2033. This card was also an excellent choice for consistent performance at higher resolutions since the it tended to provide better minimum framerates. And while we canít definitively prove this, weíll go out on a limb and say these 3GB cards will have slightly more staying power as additional cutting edge DX11 games are released.

The last thing that needs to be looked at is EVGAís price in relation to the immediate competition. Unfortunately, this cardís average price of $589 price puts it within $15 of MSIís impressive Lightning XE 3GB. EVGA seems to be counting that people will be willing to pay a premium for their lifetime warranty, Step Up program and stellar customer support yet the choice between performance and a well fleshed out support structure is going to be a tough one. Nonetheless, there are benefits to both but we wish EVGA hadnít priced their card so close to a competing product thatís superior in nearly every way.

Believe it or not, we wouldnít hesitate in recommending the EVGA GTX 580 3GB if it was priced a bit more reasonably. It has the potential to be a very appealing product as in-game memory requirements increase and the peace of mind a lifetime warranty brings to the table in undeniably appealing. However, it is thoroughly outmatched by MSIís similarly priced Lightning XE 3GB and even Zotacís GTX 580 3GB hits a much more reasonable price point. Letís all hope that we see a slight price cut in this cardís future. If not, it will continue to fight an uphill battle.


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