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GTX 580 - choosing a manufacturer?

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December 21, 2011 11:11:24 AM

Hi folks,

Looking for a little advice and hoping people can share their views.
I've had my ATI 5770 for a while now, and have been considering an extravagant upgrade to a Nvidia GTX 580 to try to get the best out of my system (I've kind of flip/flopped between manufacturers for the last 15 years or so, but I've found the ATI drivers a bit weak for the last few years)

but as it's a pretty big purchase I'm a bit nervous. I've been reading reviews on tom's and 3d Guru, but have been struggling to find any group tests - so I've compiled a brief list - with my thoughts on each:

Asus GeForce GTX 580 782MHz 1536MB PCI-Express HDMI (DirectCU II) = Always thought their mother boards were great, but I read one review stating that the fans were fouling the casing and it responded badly to overclocking

PNY GeForce GTX 580 805MHz 1536MB PCI-Express HDMI XLR8 OC Edition = not a manufacturer I know anything about, but looks a reasonably well made card

MSI GeForce GTX 580 800MHz 1536MB PCI-E HDMI Twin Frozr II/OC = I had a ropey MSI motherboard years ago, but I understand their software is among the best

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 580 795MHz 1536MB PCI-Express 2.0 x16 HDMI = I knid of got the impression that their build quality isn't always the greatest

Gainward GeForce GTX 580 783MHz 1536MB PCI-Express HDMI Phantom = looks well made, an optimised for low noise rather than speed, but again another manufacturer I know little about.

Also see there are cheap cards from Inno and KAF2 & Zotac - the former have quite poor software (had a GT7900 a few years back) while the latter pair I hadn't heard of untill today

any advise or links to group tests greatfully recieved.

regards
KEF

PS will be paired to a 6 gig I7 860, with Raid 0 drives and a new 650 watt modular PSU - mainly for gaming, usually hooked up to a DVI 1080 monitor but also (very occasionally) a 1080 3d TV and an old 768 projector.

a c 88 U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 11:16:04 AM

The MSI graphics cards have been awesome lately , the coolers are great and so is the build quality, they also overclock very well.
I've never been a fan of MSI for mobo's , but for graphics cards they have been up there with the best.
You could also look into an EVGA GTX 580.
December 21, 2011 11:16:31 AM

I have the Gigabyte model (exact same one as mentioned here but 3-fan edition) so I can definitely give that a point for reliability and performance and build quality is far from low quality..

It's a heavy sturdy card besides the plastic covering obviously which would break if you drop it. (Pretty sure any card would break though).

It's also VERY quiet! :D 
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a c 88 U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 11:18:57 AM

The gigabytes are quite good , the windforce coolers work very well and it isnt loud, they also have good overclcoks out of the box.
December 21, 2011 11:27:27 AM

Thanks for the input guys, will look much closer at the Gigabyte and MSI cards

But then, bombshell ..... at the risk of looking stupid I've just been looking at ATI 6970's - have they dropped in price recently - I thought they were much closer to the 580's.

but I see a Gigabyte ATI Radeon 6970 900MHz 2GB PCI-E HDMI OC Windforce 3x
can be had for £279 vs £379 for the 580 - if there's only about 10% between them (from the Tom's Metro 2033 chart) the extra cost is even harder to justify.

I wish I wasn't such a skin flint - but what ever I get I'll immediately suffer buyers remorse.
a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 11:51:13 AM

Another bombshell, AMD releasing the 7900 models in 2 days...wait for those, they advertise a min 50% performance increase.
December 21, 2011 2:31:20 PM

Ah ha, that would explain a price drop since I last looked at card prices.

really glad that I checked in here before committing to such a big outlay. Will wait with baited breath for the 7900 data.

thanks for your input guys - but if anyone else has any comments on the various manufacturers in the mean time I'll read on with interest.

regards
KEF
a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 2:51:34 PM

I'll just share my experience with EVGA. I purchased some 580s from them. I broke one. I literally broke a R33 chip clean off the board. I won't go into how. I sent them a detailed explanation of exactly how I caused the damage, and photos. They accepted the RMA. I shipped it. With a 1-day turnaround, I had another 580 on the way. These are the reference 3GB 580s. I've overclocked all three of them to 900-950mhz w/o issue. They are water cooled though with EK blocks so I have some extra thermal headroom.

That's my lil story. 1 580 won't give you completely maxed visuals at 1080p in every game, so I'd wait for the details on the 7900s before going forward. In the meantime, enjoy reading all the tech news and benchmarks. ;) 
December 21, 2011 3:17:10 PM

crisan_tiberiu said:
Another bombshell, AMD releasing the 7900 models in 2 days...wait for those, they advertise a min 50% performance increase.


Do not expect 50% increase...You will be dissappointed! Just Saying. 10-20% is a more reasonable expectation based on some of the lastest information/specs people have been getting based on current cards.

The OP would definitely see more of a increase obviously, and should wait for this release if he can wait a few weeks/month since the first release is still rumored for tomorrow and will be very limited if it is. The next release is around Jan 9th, and even then might still be hard to get your hands on a card.
a c 236 U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 3:45:56 PM

Here's review on the Asus

http://www.guru3d.com/article/asus-gtx580-directcu-ii-s...

Adding up all the fps in each of the games tested comes to 629 fps

But, have yo considered that the Asus 580 Cu (816 MHz) for $530 costs just $70 more than:

$460 Two Asus 560 Ti TOP http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So saving $70 gets you 862 fps, that 580 gets ya 629 ..... that's a 37% speed increase for less money.

Yes, you'll wanna get an 850 watter instead of the planned 650 watter but that eats only $30 of the difference:

$60 650 watt XFX Core Edition http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$90 850 watt XFX Core Edition http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Of course this all assumes that you have a SLI capable MoBo.....and for comparison purposes, twin factory OC'd Twin Frozr 6950's get 759 fps in the same test suite and 6970's 825......both for significantly more money
a c 236 U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 3:46:39 PM

crisan_tiberiu said:
Another bombshell, AMD releasing the 7900 models in 2 days...wait for those, they advertise a min 50% performance increase.


The 50% claimed increase in in tesselation not fps.
a c 236 U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 3:54:19 PM

clonazepam said:
I'll just share my experience with EVGA. I purchased some 580s from them. I broke one. I literally broke a R33 chip clean off the board. I won't go into how. I sent them a detailed explanation of exactly how I caused the damage, and photos. They accepted the RMA. I shipped it. With a 1-day turnaround, I had another 580 on the way.


Just to give ya another side of the story. My son bought a factory OC'd EVGA FTW GTX 295 back in the day when it was "da bomb". It never could perform at the guaranteed factory OC.....it couldn't even get 10% of the way between reference and the factory OC. Every phone call went exactly the same way .... Lets spend 20 minutes in the BIOS adjusting DRAM voltages and other non-applicable things, let's blame the MoBo (Rampage Extreme), lets blame the PSU (10.0 performance rated SG-850) .... my response would be I can put two factory overclocked Asus cards in there in SLI and they are at 15% above the factory OC with none of the BIOS tweaks or PSU / MoBo issues. Twenty-something phone calls, 5 RMA's and 18 months later, they finally sent a reference single GPU current generation card.
a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 3:58:52 PM

Yea, if I were you(and I'm doing the same too) I would wait for the ATI 7990 to see what it does. Besides, the price of the 580 will prolly drop a little more between now and then too =D
December 21, 2011 5:30:45 PM

thanks again folks,

# The dual card route won't work with my poxy Dell motherboard (lazy purchase I now regret), if I could I'd try Crossfiring my spare 5770 (another daft story)
# I'm in no hurry so I can afford to wait and see what happens with the new ATI cards next year - bit disappointed to see that NVidia haven't tried to price match the ATI cards at this price point
# To be honest though I am thinking that if the 7900 cards are coming in around the £400 mark I might still settle for the 6970, unless they are significantly better.

as an aside, apart from Metro 2033, what other games would a 580 or 6970 struggle with at 1080 maxed detail?
December 21, 2011 5:36:06 PM

Just been on the 3d guru site, they have a leaked price for a 7970 at the euro equivalent of £478 - too pricey for me anyway
a c 254 U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 6:01:13 PM

Kef said:
Ah ha, that would explain a price drop since I last looked at card prices.

really glad that I checked in here before committing to such a big outlay. Will wait with baited breath for the 7900 data.

thanks for your input guys - but if anyone else has any comments on the various manufacturers in the mean time I'll read on with interest.

regards
KEF




New bombshell!
I'm sure we all remember the last time we waited for the next great release from AMD and what happened with that----BULLDOZER!!!
a c 254 U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 6:11:07 PM

A great company that stands 100% behind thier products is Evga and I would go with an Evga GTX 580 and the model numbers that end in AR come with a limited lifetime warrenty. The cards might be more expensive than the 6970 but the lifetime warrenty has to be worth something and what other company provides that kind of warrenty. You can enjoy your card knowing that if something were to go wrong with it you are covered. I have always gone with them and they do honor the warrenty because I RMA'D a card after one year and got a new one back.
December 21, 2011 6:49:05 PM

Just a side note on the EVGA warranty. Back in my younger days, I purchased an EVGA card (can't remember maybe a 8000 series GT card) for a computer I built for my brother. After about a year and a half the card started having issues after many hours of troubleshooting over the phone I tried to RMA it for him (note he was located at the time in AK and I was in VA). Anyways long story short I did not register the card... Low and behold since it was not registered it was not covered under that *Lifetime Warranty*, instead a 1 year warranty on parts. This factor has made me never choose a EVGA card again. In fact lately all I have chosen are XFX cards granted they mainly taylor to AMD cards now, for another 10 or 20 dollar premium XFX offers Double Lifetime Warranties and I believe you can register them at any point (also I think that transfers to a second purchaser or owner as well).

Just my 2 cents....
January 25, 2012 11:42:58 AM

Hi folks,

If you're interested is a silly story I have an update on my updgrade dilemma...

While doing all my homework I ran across test results for the dual GPU 6870X2 and was pretty blown away by it's performance at that price point (circa £300) - every review had it out performing the 580's

Being such an unusual design (and bearing in mind I can't go down a multiple card route) I though this would be a really good solution.

So just after Christmas I picked up a VTX3d - disaster!!!

A full day battling with driver errors had me uninstalling/cleaning/reinstalling continually. Finally got it to work, provided the case was open and on it's side?? I think the problem was that the card is so heavy but so flexible that it's flexing in the pci slot and failing the system at POST.

When working the frame rates looked great at ultra detail levels on 1080, but for some reason it seemed pretty horrible, jerky and disjointed (even at 140fps in MW3). Also the noise - wow unbelievable - made worse by the case problem.

So perhaps unsurprisingly I sent it back to the seller and I went back to the internet to do more homework.

A week later I decided 7970 was too expensive, and I don't plan on ever going multiple display, in which case my original 580 option seemed the most appropriate (and a chance to get away from AMD drivers).

Narrowed down to Asus or EVGA, and finally settled on a Asus GTX580 Direct Cu II for £360.

Arrived last night and started the install.

First snag it's even bigger than the x2 - forcing me to break out a hacksaw to remove a HDD tray to clear the top mounted power connectors (all this in a mid sized Dell XPS)

Once in - driver installation was a breeze, fired up skyrim at ultra 1080 – gorgeous - albeit dropping to <30fps in whiterun, but still feels perfectly smooth.

Spent the rest of the night playing MW3 online missions again with everything maxed at 140fps.

In summary, took a while to get there, but couldn't be happier (may consider overclocking just to squeeze a bit more out of skyrim!!)

Thanks for your input guys. (I should have listened first time and saved myself all those postage charges)

regards
Ken
a b U Graphics card
February 7, 2012 9:54:48 PM

Glad to hear you're now happy with the results. I was curious about those 6870X2s because at one point, or many, but specifically when i was looking around, you couldn't find any 6990s or 6970s in stock. This was awhile back. Then I remembered the stuttering issues when using xfire/sli on the low and mid-range tiered cards. Maybe that's part of the problems you encountered.

Anyway, Happy Gaming!
!