Enter the GeForce GTX 580 review. If two weeks ago somebody told us that today NVIDIA would be hard-launching a new high-end graphics processor under a new product family (the GeForce GTX 500 series), we'd have laughed out loud. We were too busy looking in AMD's direction for its new high-end GPU in the works, which is still nowhere in the horizon. It's that freaky moment in which you're slowly treading your way in a fairly linear horror FPS game, and turn around to find a monster breathing down on you. If the fact that NVIDIA was working on releasing a new high-end successor to the Fermi based GTX 480 today wasn't surprise enough, the fact the GeForce GTX 580 is claimed by NVIDIA to be the "best" GPU, and not just the fastest, certainly is. The GTX 480 gave us more than satisfactory performance, but was a bit of a let down on the thermals, and power consumption fronts. The claim that NVIDIA made the GeForce GTX 580 to outperform the GTX 480 and have better thermals and lower power draw certainly raises some eyebrows, because NVIDIA is building the GF110 GPU on a TSMC 40 nm process, just like the existing GF100 "Fermi".
NVIDIA's GF110 graphics processor is still based on the Fermi architecture and the GTX 580 review's architecture diagram looks exactly the same as the 512 shader GF100 version. However, GF110 can certainly be described as built from ground up. NVIDIA is said to have made improvements to GTX 580 key components at the level of transistors, making sure that there are lower latencies between components on the GPU, and electrical leakages are minimized. In GTX 580's 3 billion transistor chip that draws over 200W of power, leakages are the main enemy to power efficiency and overall chip stability. The GeForce GTX 580 packs 512 CUDA cores (up from 480 on the GeForce GTX 480), and features 64 texture memory units (TMUs), 48 raster operations processors (ROPs), and a 384-bit GDDR5 memory interface holding 1.5 GB of memory. The clock speeds are also upped from the previous generation, 772 MHz core, 1544 MHz CUDA cores, and 1002 MHz memory. The GTX 580 is capable of rendering 2 billion triangles per second (a staggering figure). Other than that there are no other major changes to the GeForce GTX 580 feature set.