The GTX580 arrived in virtually the same box as the 560, the only difference is the wording and a lack of "Overclocked" written across the front. Around back we find a detailed explanation of several features found on the card in multiple languages. Inside is the card itself, an SLI connector, dual 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe connector and a bundle of documentation and a software / driver disc. The bundle is extremely lightweight for a premium card - no video adapters of any kind.
The GTX580 is built on a black PCB with a large DirectCU II dual 80mm fan cooler; in fact, it's essentially the same cooler found on the 560, just on a larger scale. The fans feature a dust-proof design which means the housing assembly and bearings and double sealed. ASUS claims this will increase the lifespan by up to 10,000 hours.
DirectCU means that the cooler is designed with copper heatpipes that directly touch the GPU core for better heat dissipation. This is the same type of design that many heatsink manufacturers use in their latest CPU coolers. ASUS claims that this cooler will speed up heat dissipation by a whopping 600%. Additionally, this cooler is designed to expel some heat out of the rear of the case rather than simply dumping it inside the case which will ultimately heat up nearby components like the memory and CPU.
ASUS is also able to get improved graphics performance from their card by utilizing Super Alloy Power technology. This tech is based on a special blend of metals that are highly magnetic, heat resistant and anti-corrosive to reduce power loss, enhance durability and achieve cooler operation. Super Alloy Power was internally developed by ASUS which delivers a 15% performance boost, 2.5x longer lifespan and up to 35C cooler operation. SAP can be found in key components like chokes, capacitors and MOSFETs. ASUS additionally employs a Super Hybrid Engine which optimizes power consumption between high and low intensity power profiles in real-time.
I really liked the cooler on the 560 and if this one can do as good a job as that one did, I'll be a happy camper.
At the back of the card are two DVI connectors, an HDMI connector and a native DisplayPort connector. Large ventilation slots have been cut into the triple-wide bracket for adequate airflow. As such, note that this card will occupy three expansion slots. Across the top of the card are dual SLI connectors and dual 8-pin power connectors. The card measures 11.5" long so be sure to measure inside your case for fitment before ordering. And since the card requires two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, you will need a compatible power supply (or enough 6-pin adapters) to power it.
The circuit in the ASUS 580 uses 8 GPU power phases which draws less power from the motherboard, resulting in a more stable overclock.
Let's move on and load the card into the test system for some overclocking and benchmarks!