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qubit's GT 1030 v GTX 580 showdown!

Are you thinking of buying a GT 1030?


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qubit

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#1
Some of you asked for a performance comparison between the current Pascal based bottom end GT 1030 graphics card and the old Fermi based top end GTX 580 from 2011, so here it is. @P4-630 @Artas1984 @Frick @Prince Valiant this is especially for you!

I've benched them using Unigine Heaven 4.0 and the tl;dr version is that the GT 1030 has about 55% of the performance of the GTX 580 in DX9 and DX11 modes. Not too bad for such a low end card, even with the large generational gap between them.

Now, with that out of the way, I thought I'd have a bit of a benchathon this weekend, so expanded the number of cards to test, all of which I own. I have several more cards than this, but there has to be a limit somewhere, lol.

Here are the contenders, with TPU review links where possible. The review may not be of the same exact model, but will be functionally identical.

Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme Edition 8GB
MSI GT 1030 OC Edition 2GB (with passive cooling)
MSI GTX 780 Ti Gaming 3GB
Zotac GTX 580 Amp! Edition 1.5GB (reference cooler)
Palit GT 520 2GB (with active cooling)
Zotac GTX 285 1GB (reference cooler)
XFX 8800 GTX 768MB (reference cooler)

Just a note about the older cards not working. I had trouble getting the much older 8800 GTX and GTX 285 to actually give a picture, although the PC gave the POST beep and Windows booted otherwise. Turns out the gold PCIe connector pads had developed some visible tarnish on them which prevented good contact being made. Cleaning them with isopropyl alcohol fixed the problem, with the cards working perfectly after that. One to watch out for if your card plays up.


DRIVER

The oldest cards, the 8800 GTX and GTX 285 are no longer fully supported by NVIDIA so were run with the latest available Windows 10 64-bit driver, version 342.01. All the rest were run with the very latest version, 384.76.


The test rig is the one in my current system specs:



I used Unigine Heaven 4.0 in DX11 and DX9 modes. Since the 8800 GTX and GTX 285 only support DX10, I had to drop down the DX version for it to work. I chose DX9, because that was widely used, while hardly anything was released using DX10 and hence not representative of real world performance.

I used the Ultra quality settings, as shown:

DX11 with Normal tessellation level


DX9



RESULTS

Note that it wasn't possible to run the tests with ambient occlusion switched off for some reason. I would have preferred not to use it, because in my opinion it doesn't add that much to picture quality while hammering performance, so it's not worth it. This was especially true with the weaker cards and made them look a lot worse than they were otherwise. Dropping the quality down to Medium helped a lot, too.






One thing to strike me immediately, is that all the DX11 cards gave better performance in DX11 mode, even with tessellation on. With tessellation off the performance was considerably better, putting it significantly ahead of DX9. This is in line with the efficiency improvements touted for DX11.

Unsurprisingly, the GTX 1080 totally dominated all the other cards, with the GTX 780 Ti coming in a distant second place, having about 62% of the performance. This is still enough for good performance in many games where the 3GB RAM limitation isn't a problem.

The GTX 580 made a reasonable job of smoothly rendering the scenes at these punishing settings, with many of them being rendered a lot faster and hence smoothly than the average 45-50fps seen here would suggest. It did it with a lot of huffing and puffing though with that noisy reference cooler! Killing ambient occlusion would have improved the performance considerably, resulting in perfectly smooth animation throughout.

The GT 1030 gave about 55% of this performance with the animation looking decidedly stuttery, but just about playable at a push. Again, just killing that pesky ambient occlusion would have resulted in markedly better performance, offering reasonably smooth framerates at about double the speed. Putting the quality setting to Medium would then result in very respectable performance indeed.

So, if you have a GTX 580 don't replace it with a GT 1030 expecting better framerates. Only do so maybe if you're not playing demanding games and want a quieter card that consumes much less power and has newer features. Even then, at £65 to £70 it's not exactly cheap right now, so you're probably better off going with a GT 1050 if you can, which offers much better performance.

It's interesting to see how the legendary 8800 GTX from waay back in 2006 was unplayable at these settings although it was a DX9 powerhouse back then. It even supported the brand new DX10, for which there was next to nothing that used it at the time. Shows just how far the mighty have fallen! Even without ambient occlusion, it wasn't really up to much. Hit it with some older games though and it will still rock.

The GTX 285 was about 50% better, but at these framerates still useless. Back in its day it felt like a supercharged 8800 GTX.

And now we arrive at the runt of the litter: the little GT 520. At roughly 2.6fps, it was a full-on slideshow and so much so that the application's interface was hammered too, with me barely able to select the options. Turning off ambient occlusion gave all of 4-5fps. Wow. This means that its big brother of the same generation, the GTX 580 is about 20 times faster, a staggering difference! And the GTX 1080 completely embarrasses it with 70 times the performance.

Comparing the two bottom end cards, the GT 1030 and the GT 520 showed just how far low end cards have come, with the GT 1030 having about 11 times the performance. For anyone thinking that these low end cards have stagnated, think again - Pascal is potent even in its smallest form. Nowadays they have to beat half decent integrated graphics processors, so they can't be too low performance.


NOISE PERFORMANCE

Of course, another important parameter is the noise that these cards make when running a stress test like this and boy were some of them loud!

The 8800 GTX and GTX 580 where by far the noisiest, being really obvious about the effort they were making, with the 8800 GTX sounding like it was going to take off. The GTX 285 was still pretty loud, but better. All of those cards were still reasonably tolerable however, because there was just a lot of windrush noise rather than any irritating buzzes or whines. Credit to NVIDIA for thinking about this aspect of performance. Note that they all sound a lot quieter when normal gaming.

Surprisingly, the GT 520 was pretty quiet, possibly because it may not have a temperature controlled fan and the GPU was cooking...

The quietest card was unsurprisingly the passive GT 1030, which didn't even exhibit any perceptable coil whine and worked with total stability under heavy stress. Impressive. I wouldn't risk Furmark on it though with that passive cooler. It was pretty hot to the touch afterwards though, as were the rest of the cards.

The GTX 780 Ti made a clearly audible noise, but still pretty good for a card being stressed to the max, showing what a good non-reference cooler can do. I can tell you that in normal gaming this card is very quiet indeed.

Finally, the GTX 1080 was whisper quiet, taking all this in its stride, not making any more noise than if it was playing normal games and no throttling, thanks to that brilliant cooler. It did however exhibit that annoying revving problem I've posted about which is a design fault.

For this reason alone, I don't recommend this card like I used to, despite its improved framerate performance over a GTX 1080 FE and even some other non-reference cards and cooler temperatures. Idiotic problem with a simple and cheap solution that Zotac should have implemented.
 
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#2
Interesting set of testing... thanks for taking the time!

I giggled a bit though when you said this "punishing" settings of this benchmark, lol! Its pretty cpu limited even at dx11 extreme, and much worse at dx9. Even with the lower end modern cards. I wonder what overclocking your 2500k to 5 ghz has on all these results...and particularly the old low end cards and your 1080.

What clocks did you run it at?? Your copy/paste shows stock, right?
 
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P4-630

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#3
Oh that poor GT520.... Pity my nephew... He's gaming with a GT620 which isn't much better....

Thanks for taking the time testing and posting @qubit !!:)
 
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qubit

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#4
@EarthDog hey yer welcome, bud. :)

Yes, the CPU and all the cards are at stock and I checked for bottlenecking by running the benchmark at the low low price resolution of 640x480 with the GTX 1080 which gave 220fps average. Hence, I can safely say that the CPU wasn't the bottleneck in this test. Especially so with all the other much slower cards.

@P4-630 Yer welcome! :) Between fighting with dysfunctional graphics cards (it took a while to figure out the connector issue lol) and the awkward charting functionality of Excel 2016 and then writing it all up and proofreading it, it was quite a journey!
 
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#5
Yes, the CPU is at stock and I checked for bottlenecking by running the benchmark at the low low price resolution of 640x480 which gave 220fps average. Hence, I can safely say that the CPU wasn't the bottleneck in this test.
I suppose you meant on the 1080? That doesnt prove much about a cpu bottleneck though. You can still see improvements with resolution drop and still be cpu limited. Id be interested in seeing the 1080 and 1030 and the 520 run with the cpu at 5ghz in the dx9 and dx11 tests. :)

Edit: Ive just seen it, a lot, before in hwbot heaven dx11 amd dx9. But its typically with high(er) end+ cards, though with modern processors. Because of this experience, im thinking a couple cards are being artifically held back by a several year old processor at stock speeds...bith in dx9/11. im curious to see what it would happen in low end modern cards and old cards (1030) like the 520.
 
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qubit

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#6
I suppose you meant on the 1080? That doesnt prove much about a cpu bottleneck though. You can still see improvements with resolution drop and still be cpu limited. Id be interested in seeing the 1080 and 1030 and the 520 run with the cpu at 5ghz in the dx9 and dx11 tests. :)

Edit: Ive just seen it, a lot, before in hwbot heaven dx11 amd dx9. But its typically with high(er) end+ cards, though with modern processors. Because of this experience, im thinking a couple cards are being artifically held back by a several year old processor at stock speeds...bith in dx9/11. im curious to see what it would happen in low end modern cards and old cards (1030) like the 520.
I guess if we bolted on a faster process it would increase that 1080's score some, but I reckon it would only be by a few frames. Unfortunatelty I don't have one to test with Indeed during scenes where the framerate goes sky high, say 300-400fps the CPU could definitely bottleneck.

I see you've got a 7700K in your rig. Why don't you do a quicky comparison with a GTX 1080 of some description, run it at 640x480 and see what you get? I'd be intrigued.

And ya, on the 1080, I made an edit. :D

I'll have to post the exact 3D driver settings for you to make it comparable, that's all.
 
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#7
I guess if we bolted on a faster process it would increase that 1080's score some, but I reckon it would only be by a few frames. Unfortunatelty I don't have one to test with Indeed during scenes where the framerate goes sky high, say 300-400fps the CPU could definitely bottleneck.
This is why I requested to put your CPU to 5Ghz to see what happens with that subset (1080, 1030, 520). It doesn't take 300-400 FPS to have a CPU bottleneck either. Ive witnessed it with a 7700K already. That said, the 7700K is not up and won't be...so I cannot test just to show you screenshots. Which reminds me, I need to update my rig specs. :)

As far as settings go (in the future), to keep things simple, but less flexible, use the Hwbot Heaven version. It has a 'wrapper' with a DX9 bench and DX11. The config file shows the details if you are curious as to what its set at (DX11 is max/full tess, etc - not sure what DX9 is). Will keep settings the same, etc... but again less flexibility to change settings - easier for others to repeat.
http://downloads.hwbot.org/downloads/hwbot_unigine_heaven_v103/index.htm
 

qubit

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#8
I'm sorry, but I'm not so keen to overclock it nowadays, especially not to that extreme. It hit 5GHz when new, but it ran pretty hot on air and I only did it for a few minutes without stressing it too much. I think I may have hit something like 5.2GHz and it still had more to give, it was ridiculous, but the temps were far too high so I stopped there before I damaged it. I wonder how it would have done with a proper watercooling setup. I'll hazard 5.3-5.5GHz when new.

It should do 4.5-4.7GHz without too much trouble, but I have to reaquaint myself with the BIOS settings to do it properly ie loadline calibration set to off, taking the mobo off auto voltage etc so it won't be immediately, unfortunately. Um, confession, I didn't do it properly the last time and the PC became unstable after a while, so I don't wanna repeat the same mistake. I put it back to stock years ago and never got round to this again, meaning to research it properly before the next attempt. Part of the reason was the slow pace of improvement in Intel CPUs so I wanted this thing to last rather than risk it burning out. Replacing a CPU, mobo and RAM is expensive!
 

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qubit

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#10
1030=rebagged 285 just about lol (process refined 285)
Similar framerate performance, but a lot of other improvements such smaller size, much lower power, lower noise, DX12 and various other little improvements which all add up.
 

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#11
Similar framerate performance, but a lot of other improvents such smaller size, much lower power, lower noise, DX12 and various other little improvements which all add up.
Hence the parentheses lol
 
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#12
Thanks for going through with this. About what I expected, aside from the GT1030 which did better than I thought it would. I wonder if the next low end cards will perform a little better for the reason you mentioned (integrated competition).
 
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#13
I love the GTX 1050 ti though
 
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#14
I guess if we bolted on a faster process it would increase that 1080's score some, but I reckon it would only be by a few frames. Unfortunatelty I don't have one to test with Indeed during scenes where the framerate goes sky high, say 300-400fps the CPU could definitely bottleneck.
Ok, took the time to run it on the 7900X. It was only at 10c/10t. I ran 3Ghz and 4.3GHz. What is weird is I was able to get one screenshot, and the rest, it was the black screen so I have them on my phone if you need proof, lol!

3 GHz DX11 - 29.4(min), 184.3(avg)
4.3 GHz DX11 - 37.4(min), 215.5(avg)

3 GHz DX9 26.3(min), 163.2(avg)
4.3 Ghz DX9 35.9(min), 172.2(avg)

My 1080 boosts to 1962 MHz with stock fan profile. Your card is faster clocked by 50 Mhz base clock and likely more with boost so it 'should' be faster all around. You can see from the 3 GHz results, it is beating your 3.7 GHz by 9 FPS (a few percent) already. Clock it to 4.3 GHz and it shoots up to 215.5 FPS...even with the second fastest IPC part out there. The odd part is, DX9 results are pretty much the same, though i have less clocks by 700 Mhz. After overclocking it only jumped to 172. I wonder what the settings are in the Hwbot DX9 that changes it.. perhaps using AA as none is used here.

Oh well, just some more numbers to chew on. :)
 

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#15
Cheers ED. Here are my NVIDIA driver settings to make everything identical. That DX11 result is a fair bit faster, I'll give you that. Interesting.

What I've never seen is a benchmark/fps counter which shows whether the CPU is waiting for the GPU or vice versa at any given moment. I think it would be very revealing for helping to understand results like this. I reckon it boils down to your GPU waiting less time for the CPU than mine. Could be that the extra cache, newer architecture etc smooths out little bottlenecks.

My mum has an i3 Ivy Bridge CPU (forget exactly what model I put in there now) in her PC and I swear there's a smoothness about the desktop on that PC that's not quite there on mine, so I can believe that further architectural improvements will make this gap wider.

Oh and I believe you, no need for absolute proof. :)





 
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#16
I assumed default settings (its the reviewer and ocd in me to not stray from default on those settings as most dont). Also, triple buffering is for when vsync is used...

Anyway, if you have time, clock your cpu to as high as you are comfortable (wuss! :)) and see what happens to your fps... also confirm your 'settled' boost clock on the gpu as well.

Im just shocked cpu does more for the higher end test... there has to be some other choke point with dx9...

Edit: also curious to see if/where the cpu doesnt start adding significant amounts (what tier card)
 
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eidairaman1

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cdawall

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#18
Yea I got a 1080Ti for my HTPC card instead...I think I'm being excessive again.

It is curious to see how close it performs to some greats of old lol
 
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#19
Awesome, love that you made an actual presentation on all of this.

What I've never seen is a benchmark/fps counter which shows whether the CPU is waiting for the GPU or vice versa at any given moment. I think it would be very revealing for helping to understand results like this. I reckon it boils down to your GPU waiting less time for the CPU than mine. Could be that the extra cache, newer architecture etc smooths out little bottlenecks.
The one thing I have seen do this, is DOOM with their performance metrics on max, agree with the fact that this should be a feature somewhere.
 

Frick

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#20
Thanks! :toast:

I have no idea how illustrative Heaven is for gaming though. I did play through Warlords of Draenor with a GT520, so it is actually surprisingly capable.
 

Frick

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#21
Heeyyy I just realized the MX150 (the mobile part) is the same as the GT 1030. Here's hoping it will find its way to <14" laptops, then I might actually get one.
 
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#22
Any progress on overclocking your CPU and seeing what happens to the GPUs here Qubit?
 
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#23
I have to agree Unigine Heaven is rather old , not sure how representative it is when it comes down to illustrate performance in more recent games. I would imagine that in something like Doom GTX 580 would fall short significantly.
 
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#24
Thx, @qubit ! Wanna see some gaming tests!
I've already queued a pair of LP GT1030s on my wishlist: one for my cousin's workstation, and another one for my 100% passively cooled HTPC.
From what I've heard, it's somewhere between GTX750 and 750Ti in terms of performance, but at TDP levels of the 2nd gen GT730! Which means, once again, 90% of my steam library is playable at 1080p Med/High.
 

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#25
Thanks everyone, it's great to see all this interest over my mini review. :toast:

@Frick I'm sure that the card can play that game. This was a punishing max details test on a demanding benchmark, which isn't the way one would normally use these low end cards so no wonder performance was so awful. It always fascinates me how they do technically run it though, even if it's only a couple of frames per second, lol. The only difference between that and a £600 card is the calculation time to draw the scene - and it's so critical!

@EarthDog As I said before, please don't wait for the overclocking test as it won't be immediate and I want to make sure I do it properly so I don't damage the CPU with overvoltage. I'll try to get to it eventually though in the next few weeks.

@Vya Domus It might be old, but it still uses DX11 fully and puts a big load on the graphics card, so I think it's still perfectly valid. If anything, it's likely to be more punishing than most games and hence lower framerate. Heaven 2.5 gets a better framerate, for example.

Thx, @qubit ! Wanna see some gaming tests!
I've already queued a pair of LP GT1030s on my wishlist: one for my cousin's workstation, and another one for my 100% passively cooled HTPC.
From what I've heard, it's somewhere between GTX750 and 750Ti in terms of performance, but at TDP levels of the 2nd gen GT730! Which means, once again, 90% of my steam library is playable at 1080p Med/High.
This review shows it to be somewhat less powerful than a 750 Ti, so I think a GTX 1050 would be a better buy for gaming. I agree that it's best to get the latest generation of graphics cards for the best support and features though.

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/nvidia-geforce-gt-1030-2gb,review-33949.html
 
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