NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580: A New Flagship Emerges

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Total System Power Consumption

Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover a few final data points--namely power consumption and noise. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you all an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet

NVIDIA claimed reduced power consumption and increased performance with the new GeForce GTX 580, and that's exactly what we saw in our tests, although the differences were not dramatic. The GTX 580 used less power both at idle and under load than our reference GeForce GTX 480, which was an early sample we received when the product first launched. The newer, overclocked, non-reference GeForce GTX 480 (the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SoC), however, also used less power than the reference card, despite a much higher clocked GPU and memory. It seems with some maturity and refined power delivery circuitry, the power consumption of the GeForce GTX 480 can be brought down as well. While there are improvements here, the power consumed by NVIDIA 3-billion transistor GPU is simply on another level in comparison to AMD's latest products.

While we're on the subject of power consumption, we should also talk a bit about heat and noise as well. First, let's talk about noise. To put it simply, the GeForce GTX 580 doesn't make much noise at all. The new cooler design employed on the GTX 580 is virtually silent when the card is idling at the Windows desktop and under load we'd say it is about as loud as a stock Radeon HD 5870, which is to say it is not very loud at all. In terms of noise, the GeForce GTX 580 is a clear improvement over the GTX 480. The GeForce GTX 580, however, still get's nice and hot though. Idle GPU temperatures hovered in the 45'C range, with peak temps that broke the 90'C mark.

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