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ASUS GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II vs Gainward GeForce GTX 580 Phantom 3 Graphics Card Review

by Stuart Davidson - 4th February 2011
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ASUS GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU 2 and Gainward GeForce GTX 580 Phantom 3 3GB Graphics Card Reviews

Gainward GeForce GTX 580 Phantom 3

Gainward package their Phantom3 in a stylish box with various logos on the outside that cover the key features of the card. Inside we find a software disc, discount voucher, documentation then the bundle is rounded off by a set of Molex to PCIe power cables and DVI to VGA dongle.

Gainward use a similar PCB layout to the standard NVIDIA card however this is actually a custom design. The 11" black PCB is covered by a large 2.5 slot width cooler which has a plastic cover sitting over aluminium fins. Underneath the fins are six copper heatpipes and these sit on three 8cm low noise fans which draw air through the cooler, passing it onto the PCB.

Equally as important to the redesign is the fact that this card has 3GB of GDDR3 available to the GPU rather than the standard 1.5GB.

For outputs Gainward have gone with a much more desirable selection than the reference card and include dual DVI, full size HDMI and a DisplayPort connector. When gaming, or at the desktop, we can connect two screens at a time to this card and in SLI mode there is the option to add a third for surround gaming. For power inputs the Phantom3 has one 6-pin and one 8-pin connector, just like the reference card.

NVIDIA clock the reference design card at 772MHz core and 1544MHz shader and 1000MHz memory. That isn't sufficient for Gainward though and as well as doubling the memory on this card they have overclocked it to 783MHz core, 1566MHz shader and 1005MHz memory. This is of course on the 512 CUDA cores which connect to the 3GB of GDDR5 via a 384-bit memory bus. PCIe 2.0, DirectX 11, DirectCompute 5.0, CUDA, PhysX and OpenCL are all supported on this card as is acceleration of high definition content and the card can output 7.1 audio over HDMI.

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