What can you do to improve the speed of the world’s fastest single-GPU graphics card? Easy, add another one for double the processing power! The few past GeForces have shown impressive performance scaling with SLI, so we expect nothing less from the GTX 580.
Aside from measuring the performance improvement obtained by adding a second GTX 580, some scores from our previous graphics cards tests are also included in the result charts: GeForce GTX 480, Radeon HD 5970, Radeon HD 6870, and Radeon HD 6870 in Crossfire. As for the GX 580, two reference cards were used. One is a sample unit from NVIDIA, while the other comes from MSI; each has a default clock speed. Before moving on to the tests, let’s examine their technical specs first.
|NVIDIA GTX 580||NVIDIA GTX 480||AMD HD 6870|
|Fabrication Process||40 nm||40 nm||40 nm|
|Transistors||3 Billion||3.2 Billion||1.7 Billion|
|Die Size||320 mm²||526 mm²||–|
|Core Clock||772 MHz||700 MHz||900 MHz|
|Memory Size||1536 MB||1536 MB||1024 MB|
|Memory Clock (effective)||4008 MHz||3696 MHz||4200 MHz|
|Power Connectors||8-pin + 6-pin||8-pin + 6-pin||2x 6-pin|
|Min Recommended Power Supply||600 Watt||600 Watt||500 W|
|Bus Support||PCIe 2.1 x16||PCIe 2.1 x16||PCIe 2.1 x16|
To make an SLI setup, you will need two GeForce cards. It’s better if both cards are identical to each other to ensure maximum compatibility. You will also need a motherboard that provides at least two PCIe x16 slots with Intel series 5 chipsets for Intel users, or nForce chipsets for AMD processors. In addition, for the two GTX 580 graphics cards, you need a power supply with two 6-pin and two 8-pin connectors.
Greenish artifacts were visible on the screen when we tried to connect the two GTX 580s using just one SLI bridge. The problem was solved by adding another bridge. It appears that you will have to use both SLI connectors on the GTX 580 for the setup to work properly. We also ran onto similar issue with the GTX 480.
After the driver has been installed, simply open the NVIDIA control panel and enable the “Maximize 3D Performance” option to activate SLI.