The dust after the sequence of launches of GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA has finally settled. The GTX580 is the fastest single-GPU solution from NVIDIA’s stable. Every major manufacturer out there launches variations of the stock cards, which are either overclocked or have improved cooling solutions on them. ASUS's ENGTX580 DirectCU II is one of their models based on the GTX580 GPU, but that's not based on the reference design that NVIDIA makes.

Features and Design
The ASUS GTX580 DirectUI's most obvious design change is the cooler on top of the card. ASUS has gone with a dual fan design on this version of their GeForce GTX580. In the process, the card has grown to a much larger size. It now occupies three slots at the rear of the cabinet.

Full throttle overclocking

Full throttle overclocking

The card comes with plenty of connectivity options at the rear end. There are two DVI ports, an HDMI and a DisplayPort. The back of the card also has a metal plate which should help in the cooling of the card.

The GTX580 on the card operates at 782 MHz and comes with the usual 1536 of GDDR5 memory that you find on the stock GTX580. The card supports SLI using three cards. The GTX580 is a thirsty card when it comes to power. It requires 244W of power which it gets using a pair of 8-pin power connectors. A good 600W PSU should be a bare minimum if you’re going ahead with a system that’s as high up the scale as this card.

Advanced output option

Advanced output option

Test rig configuration
Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40 GHz
Motherboard: GIGABYTE P67A-UD3R
Memory: Corsair Dominator GT 6 GB DDR3 (3 x 2 GB)
Hard drive: WD Velociraptor  300 GB
GPU: ASUS GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II
PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000W
The card did well through all of the tests. 3DMark Vantage scores touched 28,644 points and with a GPU score of 24,240 matching the other GTX580 cards we’ve tested so far. It’s faster than the Radeon 6970 as well in this test.

600% more airflow ... wow

600% more airflow … wow

Performance across most of the recent games was exceptional, as well. Games such as Crysis 2, Mafia 2 ran beautifully with frame rates crossing the 70 fps frame rate range. This was noticed with graphics settings fixed at high and even with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering options cranked right up. Even Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed which is considered to be a pretty intensive game on both GPU and CPU managed very playable frame rates.

The card runs very cool and on idle, there’s close to no noise that can be heard from the two fans. The rear plate on the card gets a little hot after you’re gaming on it for a good half hour or so. We ran the card in an environment without an air conditioner as well and we had no issues.

3DMark Test
3DMark score – P28644
GPU Score – 24240

Just Cause 2
Average Frame Rate – 47.25
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Anti-Aliasing – 8x
Anisotropic filtering – 16x

Mafia II
Average Frame Rate – 70.5
Resolution – 1920 x 1080
Anti-Aliasing _ ON
Anisotropic filtering – 16x

Left 4 Dead 2
Average Frame Rate – 201
Resolution – 1920 x 1080
Anti-Aliasing – 16x

Heaven Benchmark
Average Frame Rate – 57.5
Scores – 1449

Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed
Average frame rate: 68.952
Resolution 1920 x 1080

Dual fan cooling

Dual fan cooling

At Rs. 31,000, it’s expensive but it’s a card made specifically for gamers who want to be able to play games with the details and settings turned up. Our only issue is that the card maybe a little too large if you use a microATX board and have other slots with cards in them or if you plan on setting up SLI with this card.

Buying this card also makes sense for the future. With a lot of games being ported from consoles to PCs, we’ve noticed that really fast GPUs aren’t absolutely required. Most of the current games can play just fine with slightly lower settings on far cheaper cards. Buying the GTX580 should be like future-proofing. However, a card should easily be able to handle any demanding games to come.

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