Analysis and Conclusions
With a known quantity like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 GPU, overclocking and performance results are fairly easy to predict and in our review of the Gigabyte GTX 580 Super Overclock, we got what we expected. Depending on the game in question, the Gigabyte GTX 580 Super Overclock was anywhere from 6-9% faster than the reference design with Metro 2033 and Battlefield 3 taking the top honors there. Games like Skyrim saw just slightly less scaling, as we would expect with the dependence on CPU performance.
This is one of the fastest GTX 580 cards we have ever tested out of the box, though since the release of the AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB card in early January the overall single-GPU performance crown has moved away from the NVIDIA kingdom. By no means does ths make the Gigabyte GTX 580 Super Overclock a bad card (or ANY GTX 580 for that matter) but you need to make the judgment based on pricing and budget more closely now.
The GeForce GTX 580 has the same feature set that we have seen since the card’s initial release back in 2010 and not much changes here with Gigabyte’s overclocked model. You still get two simultaneous display outputs (compared to AMD’s three), support for PhysX games (if you care about that kind of thing), SLI and more. Gigabyte adds a unique and more efficient cooler to the mix as a bonus and with improved cooling you should be able to push the 855 MHz clock speed even higher should you feel the need.
One feature that cannot be overlooked is driver support – NVIDIA quite simply has better drivers than AMD as we have seen over the past 6 months or so. The primary problem comes with AMD’s lack of timely driver improvements for new games in both single and multi-GPU configurations. When a user buys a $400+ graphics card they demand, and should receive, day-of driver releases to make sure their gaming investment is fully utilized for all the titles they want to play. Consistently, NVIDIA has been able to do that while AMD has lagged behind, even with the monthly driver releases. By no means is NVIDIA perfect here, but they are proving they ARE better.
Pricing and Availability
The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB Super Overclock is currently available at Newegg.com, Amazon.com and other places with the price tag of $539. That is about $40 more than the reference design GTX 580 and about $20-30 less than the Radeon HD 7970 3GB cards. The problem with the 7970 is strictly on availability; since it was released on January 9th, we have had a nearly impossible time find cards in stock reliably and usually would only see a single SKU in stock for an hour or so.
Is the Gigabyte Super Overclock worth $40 more than the reference GTX 580 cards? That is an interesting discussion as I believe the GTX 580 is a bit overpriced as it stands today. Still, for the 8% price increase you do get about 8% better performance and a noticeable drop in temperatures with the custom cooler so if you are already going this direction, the Gigabyte model is a great option.
Gigabyte should be proud of its GTX 580 Super Overclock card as it is one of the last and best NVIDIA GF110 graphics cards on the market. Even though there are some other models like the ASUS MATRIX and EVGA Classified that are more impressive visually, the Gigabyte card gets almost the same things done but with a much more conservative looking design and specs. We know that the GeForce GTX 580 isn’t going to be the top option from NVIDIA for long but in today’s market, it is one of the best NVIDIA-based graphics cards options you can buy.