EVGA GTX 580 FTW Hydro Copper 2 Review

15 thumbs up

Performance Summary: With the launch of the GTX 580, NVIDIA continued to lay claim to the fastest single GPU video card available. The EVGA GTX 580 FTW Hydro Copper 2 simply takes the lead up a few notches. Going into this review, we took note of the higher GPU and memory frequencies offered on the card and expected to see a performance boost relative to the increase in graphics horsepower. What we saw was a complete domination of our benchmark suite. The factory overclock resulted in FPS increases in every test we ran when compared to the stock GTX 580. On average, we saw an 8% performance jump. Furthermore, the HC2 eclipsed the overclocked HD 5970 by 5%, making it the fastest card in our comparison group.   


 

In the past, we've found that one advantage of buying a graphics card with a pre-installed GPU water block is a cost savings for the total package compared to purchasing the card and water block separately. This was the case with the GTX 480 FTW Hydro Copper we reviewed last summer and previous water cooled graphics cards before it. Does that hold true for this product? Unfortunately, not this time around. The GTX 580 FTW Hydro Copper 2 goes for $699. Since EVGA doesn't offer an air cooled FTW GTX 580, we'll take the next best thing and use the SuperClocked GTX 580, which retails for $519. The Swiftech / EVGA full cover water block is not sold separately so we don't have exact pricing on it, but we found comparable water blocks for about $140. Going the do-it-yourself route, the total comes out to $659, which is $40 less than the HC2. But the cost savings does not take into account the time and effort it requires to replace the stock heatsink with a water block. Furthermore, the HC2 arrives with a guaranteed 850 MHz overclock versus the uncertain speed you would reach using another model.



To wrap things up, let's look at the options available in the ultra high end market. The most expensive consumer graphics card you can buy is the Asus Ares HD 5870 X2 4GB, which retails for $1099. The next best thing from AMD's camp is the XFX HD 5970 Black Edition, a slightly overclocked version of the 5970 which sells for $719. On the other side of the fence, the only competition for the HC2 comes from similarly overclocked GTX 580s. The card we used in the comparison group from MSI held up pretty well in the benchmarks and retails for only $509 online. It's worth noting that EVGA is currently the only company that offers a liquid cooled GTX 580 model. Until we see what the upcoming dual-GPU GTX 5-series card can do, the GTX 580 FTW HC2 is the fastest GeForce card you can buy today.

With higher frequencies and lower temperatures, EVGA gives enthusiasts and gamers a product that provides dominating performance in one neat package. Yes it's extravagant and expensive, but those willing to spend this much money on a video card will not be disappointed. For example, our retail sample hit a rock solid stable 1005 MHz with only a slight voltage increase and minimal effort. From a performance standpoint, we couldn't be more pleased. With a lifetime warranty, attractive design, single slot form factor, extraordinary performance, and low temps, we highly recommend the GTX 580 FTW Hydro Copper 2 from EVGA.

 

 

  • Very low operating temps
  • Runs dead silent
  • Plenty of overclocking headroom
  • Single slot form factor
  • PhysX and CUDA Support
  • OC utilities included
  • Lifetime warranty

  • Expensive
  • Requires additional liquid cooling hardware
  • Heavy

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Maxishine has videos on youtube of these in tri-SLI on the EVGA SR-2.

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It would be more practical if they produced a stand alone pump and radiator for this! This is a niche market so they probably wont see much profit from this since full water systems are still pricey and hard to maintain.

If they made an adaptive H50 pump/radiator that is simple and can be manufactured in various sizes for multiple cards and pluged in without the need to go full water! Then they will probably see more profit from the extra sales of the add on components from making things simpler for their customers. I am sure they can easly adapt thier current CPU pump system to these cards at little or no cost for the conversion. Since more people ar switching to the sealed liquid coolers for the CPU's having a similar system for the GPU Would be the next logical step!

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I've got 3 of these running in SLI with an Intel i7 with a standalone LC system for the CPU, ASUS Rampage III Black Ed MB, 24G RAM (getting it all recognized was a trick), and modified Thermaltake Xaser VI case, with the 3 inch bays removed to make room for a 3-fan radiator and LC tubing.  Just finished getting it all put together, but it screams even before any OC.

Hints for anyone considering GTX 580 Hydro Copper - multiple card setup - you NEED a huge case, the Thermaltake I got still needed to be torn apart to fit everything.  Don't plan on using the PCI slots for much of anything else (though I was able to squeeze in the specialized sound card that came with the MB, JUST under the 3rd GPU).  Also, buy a bunch of extra clamps, and do not overtighten the valves, you'll bow the washers and create a drip.  Finally, don't get cheap on the pump.  The thing is there to protect your $2,100 worth of GPUs (3 x $700 newegg)... 

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