I've looked at a couple of video cards over the past few months, each being more powerful (and expensive) than the previous. It all started with MSI's R6850 which retailed for $177.99 at the time of our review. Next on the list was the ASUS GTX560 Ti which showed a marked improvement over the slower AMD offering, albeit at roughly $75 more expensive. Today we will bump things up to the higher-end of the spectrum as we analyze the ASUS GTX580 DirectCU II graphics card, a $500 premium GPU featuring a core clock of 782 MHz, 512 processor cores and an effective memory clock of 4008 MHz. This card is factory overclocked by 10 MHz (772 MHz reference) but ASUS also offers a higher factory overclocked version of this card at 816 MHz.
Despite being nearly a year old at this point (released on November 9, 2010), the GTX 580 still offers serious performance in today's most graphic-intensive games. Sure, there are faster cards available but you will pay more and unless you are using a 30" monitor with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, odds are you won't need something more powerful for standard single monitor gaming at this point. Let's take a closer look at the detailed specifications before moving ahead to the card itself.
Next up is unboxing.