NVIDIA has recently released its fastest GPU to date, the GeForce GTX 580. Let’s see how it compares to what was until then the fastest NVIDIA GPU, the GeForce GTX 480, and its competitors from AMD.

The video card we are reviewing is the reference model from NVIDIA. When a video card is first launched, all “manufacturers” buy their video cards already assembled from NVIDIA and only add their sticker to it. One or other manufacturer may add an overclocking, but physically all cards are absolutely identical. Only after a while manufacturers start launching customized solutions, changing the cooler and, sometimes, redesigning the printed circuit board.

The new GeForce GTX 580 can be found between USD 520 and USD 580, which puts it as the most expensive video card available on the market today. The Radeon HD 5970, which is the most powerful video card using an AMD GPU, can be bought for USD 500. In this review we will be comparing the GeForce GTX 580 to the GeForce GTX 480 and to the Radeon HD 5970. We also decided to compare the GeForce GTX 580 to two Radeon HD 6870 video cards in CrossFireX mode. Since each one of them cost around USD 260, this setup competes directly with the GeForce GTX 580.

In the table below we compare the main specs of the video cards included in our review. As mentioned, we connected two Radeon HD 6870 in parallel, and the specs below are for only one video card. The Radeon HD 5970 has two GPUs, and the specs below are for only one of the GPUs (this video card has a total of 2 GB, 1 GB connected to each GPU).

Video Card Core Clock Shader Clock Memory Clock (Real) Memory Clock (Effective) Memory Interface Memory Transfer Rate Memory Shaders Price
GeForce GTX 480 700 1,401 MHz 924 MHz 3,696 MHz 384-bit 177.4 GB/s 1.5 GB GDDR5 480 USD 450 – 510
GeForce GTX 580 772 MHz 1,544 MHz 1,002 MHz 4,008 MHz 384-bit 192.4 GB/s 1.5 GB GDDR5 512 USD 520 –580
Radeon HD 6870 900 MHz 900 MHz 1.05 GHz 4.2 GHz 256-bit 134.4 GB/s 1 GB GDDR5 1,120 USD 260 – 270
Radeon HD 5970 725 MHz 725 MHz 1 GHz 4 GHz 256-bit 128 GB/s 1 GB GDDR5 1,600 USD 500

Prices were researched at on the day we published this review. All graphics chip listed above are DirectX 11 parts.

You can compare the specs of these video cards with other video cards by taking a look at our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table and NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table tutorials. 

Now let’s take an in-depth look at the GeForce GTX 580 reference model.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.