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Asus GTX580 Direct CU II Review – the ultimate 580?

We have changed our method of measuring noise levels. We have built a system inside a Lian Li chassis with no case fans and have used a fanless cooler on our CPU. We are using a heatpipe based passive power supply and an Intel SSD to keep noise levels to a minimum. The motherboard is also passively cooled. This gives us a build with completely passive cooling and it means we can measure noise of just the graphics card inside the system when we run looped 3dMark tests. Ambient noise in the room is around 20-25dBa. We measure from a distance of around 1 meter from the chassis and 4 foot from the ground to mirror a real world situation.

Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on only the video card. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.

KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum

When idle, both fans are spinning at a little over 1,100rpm which means that the card is basically inaudible. When gaming, the fans only spin up to around 1,600 rpm, generating around 33.7 dBa of noise. This increases a little when under Furmark load, but nothing significant. The cooler is certainly quieter than the reference solution (around 5dBa).

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  • Tech Head

    Lol Asus are insane. love it, even if I could never afford it

  • Raymond E

    Some of the best reviews on the net here, without a doubt. awesome work.

  • Fugger

    Man, that got me hard.

  • Thomas

    well thank god its not another AMD review ! great job on the testing. that card is amazing looking and in performance. cant see it anywhere for sale. not that I can afford it mind you, but im curious.

  • Pinnacle of power

    Read it and weep AMD ! these cards are kicking ass all over the world πŸ™‚

  • KoRn

    I would sell my left kidney for this card, what an amazing bit of work from ASUS. well showcased on KG, great review.

  • Manny

    I love the metal coolers, this is way out of my league, but i love the metal cooler on the msi card you reviewed today too. so much nicer looking than plastic crap. (HIS blue cooler springs to mind!)

  • Tim

    Something interesting has happened to me since November. I generally opted out of AMD hardware. not because its poor or bad, but because nvidia have always been better.

    Reading all the reviews here lately and especially the FLeX 6870 review has really made me want to get into 3 or even 4 screen setups. I know a stunning card like this ASUS board will do it, if you end up with two of them, but the cards alone would cost one thousand quid. Two HD6870’s and 3 24 inch screens would cost the same as two of these cards.

    its horses for courses and im still not sold on AMD drivers, but its got me thinking. At least I have till the summer before I work out what to do. (getting married soon!)

  • Tri Color

    Absolutely love it. its Asus insanity again. engineering overload πŸ™‚ great job.

  • Ned

    Nice to see you reviewing some nvidia hardware again. Always enjoyed reading your reviews of the new hardware. This is certainly one hell of a sexy card, but the price is a little too rich for my blood. Still, great to read and a good highlight on ASUS, as its often with sapphire!

  • Natty

    good lord, what a monster of a card. My 5670 is shaking.

  • Dave

    Imagine four of these in SLI, how good would that be !

  • Maddys boy

    Lovely bit of work from Asus there. Totally overkill, but we all love that, right?

  • BenJamin

    I still these cards are overpriced, not just the Asus one, but the 580s in general.

  • Roger

    The backplate is mounted with screws in a reverse position, that’s unusual.

  • Trev

    Nice cooler design, wonder how it would compare against the arctic cooling extreme.

  • Longjohn

    I see a problem, it’s really too powerful for a single screen, but to use it across 3 you need two of them.

  • Sammy

    I will be ordering this when I can find one.

  • Bob cat

    We all love the attention to detail, but I would love to know how many of these really do sell, a few thousand worldwide maybe? How many did the ares sell?

  • Kern

    Awesome! I love Asus designs

  • Colin flapjack

    Id still rather have an hd6970

  • Ewitry

    I like my games but I see no real need for this power. I’ve still got a 5870 and at 1920×1200 its brilliant. I’d rather have a new CPU and a psu πŸ™‚

  • MadOne

    Why no direct comparison with a standard GTX580 ?

  • aberkae

    Price, link, availability?

  • Dave

    @ Madone.

    Why would you compare results against a reference GTX580? the clock speeds are basically the same.

  • Raymond

    It says in the article,. only SLI for 3 screen gaming. so you would need two of them.

  • Pedro Duarte

    One question … how did you do the stability testing on your overclocking? I have one and… is that 973Mhz core and 4700 memory furmark stable? I think that 1.125v is not enough for those clocks … at least, not to pass furmark πŸ™‚ I’m really curious on how did you do the stability testing πŸ™‚

  • Bear in mind every card will be slightly different. How far can you push yours? I generally test with unigine for artifacting, it’s a great stress test and easily to see when issues occur

  • Pedro Duarte

    I only test with furmark … and my is topping out at 961Mhz, 4335Mhz mems … at 1.15v …

    That’s why i’m kind of doubting the 1.125v will resist to furmark … but that’s me πŸ™‚
    Runing 3dmark 2010 it will do 976Mhz without crashing and 4450 on the memories … but that’s not 100% stable because at furmark benchmark … once it gets at 98% the fans stop and the graphic driver gives stops responding …

    But yes, i know not all cards are equal πŸ™‚ I was just thinking about the testing method … because, those 4700 memory is huge … it’s 350Mhz more than mine … not even talking about the core because it’s “not that high” …

  • Interesting, I’ve had two and I get similar with both cards. Is your memory artifacting in games or is it just fur mark stress testing?

  • Pedro Duarte

    Nope… it just crashes the graphic driver… no artifacts what so ever. I can run it at 961 and 4315Mhz zero problems … more than that … caboom πŸ˜›

    It simply quits the application … sometimes i get a reboot, other just crashes the explorer and graphic driver 😑

  • Paul

    Furmark has it’s own issues as stated over at Guru3D, it’s been shunned!

    “Note: As of lately, there has been a lot of discussion using FurMark as stress test to measure power load. Furmark is so malicious on the GPU that it does not represent an objective power draw compared to really hefty gaming. If we take a very-harsh-on-the-GPU gaming title, then measure power consumption and then compare the very same with Furmark, the power consumption can be 50 to 100W higher on a high-end graphics card solely because of FurMark.

    After long deliberation we decided to move away from FurMark and are now using a game like application which stresses the GPU 100% yet is much more representable of power consumption and heat levels coming from the GPU. We however are not disclosing what application that is as we do not want AMD/NVIDIA to ‘optimize & monitor’ our stress test whatsoever, for our objective reasons of course”.

    Original link: http://www.guru3d.com/article/liquid-cooling-overclocking-geforce-gtx-580-danger-den/8

    Worth a note I thought.