Will three fans enable Gigabyte to capture the single-GPU performance crown?
We found the Asus Matrix GTX 580 Platinum that we reviewed in the November 2011 issue to be pretty badass: It’s a solid, factory-overclocked card that’s impressively easy to push even harder. But it’s also three slots wide and requires two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Gigabyte’s GTX 580 Super Overclock (model GV-N580SO-15L) takes Nvidia’s GPU even further, pumping the core from a stock 772MHz all the way to 855MHz, and the card’s 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory from a stock 1,002MHz to 1,025MHz (the Matrix GTX 580 comes out of the box with its GPU running at 816MHz and its memory at 1,002MHz). And the Gigabyte takes up only two slots and uses just a single 8-pin power connector.
Gigabyte, like Asus, provides software to help you overclock the card even more, but Gigabyte’s card lacks the other engineering amenities that Asus provides, including voltage control, insta-max fan speed, and reset-to-factory-settings buttons. This renders Gigabyte’s offering less forgiving when it comes to pushing the envelope. The Super OC ships with three cooling fans, which must be better than the two on the Matrix, right? Well, the card remained cool enough during our benchmarks, but we also found it to be noisier under load than the Matrix card.
Gigabyte's GTX 580 Super Overclock requires just two expansion slots and one 8-pin PCIe power connection.
With those thoughts in mind, let’s discuss performance: Gigabyte’s card edged out Asus’s, but it was by no means a clean sweep: the Asus Matrix card won several benchmark categories, with Unigine Heaven being the most notable. Several other results—including Just Cause 2 and Metro 2033—were essentially ties. So the Gigabyte’s performance is pretty good, but it’s not quite as over-the-top as we had expected. Also, take a look at the difference in power consumption. This is where Asus’s careful binning of GTX 580 GPUs comes in: The Matrix consumes much less juice than the Super Overclock, which likely will leave you more headroom for overclocking.
All these factors are reflected in the card’s street price, which is $10 less than the Asus (and Gigabyte was offering a $20 rebate at press time). So the Super Overclock delivers fewer features and a little less performance and headroom, but also a lower price tag. You’ll need to decide which factors are most important to you.
Good performance at base clocks; requires only one 8-pin PCIe power connector.
Consumes more power; somewhat noisier; likely offers less room for overclocking beyond the factory’s numbers.
Gigabyte GTX 580 Super OC
EVGA GTX 580 SC
Asus Matrix GTX 580
XFX Radeon HD 6970
3D Mark Vantage Perf
Unigine Heaven 2.1 (fps)
BattleForge DX11 (fps)
Fary Cry 2 / Long (fps)
HAWX 2 DX11 (fps)
STALKER: CoP DX11 (fps)
Just Cause 2 (fps)
Aliens vs. Predator (fps)
F1 2010 (fps)
Dirt 3 (fps)
Metro 2033 (fps)
Power @ idle (W)
Power @ full throttle (W)
Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition in an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB of DDR3/1333 and an 850TX Corsair PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows Ultimate. All games are run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA.