TechSpot

Which graphics card for gaming?

By Sarmad
Aug 21, 2011
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  1. I'm looking to buy a GTX 580 for PC gaming. I aim to be playing on a 1920 x 1080 display. What parameters should I be looking for (eg speed of GPU, Shader, DDR5, DDR5 RAM size), chipsets, format support. Under what situations would I need a card with 3 GB RAM? It's important that the card I get is silent,

    I notice at Scan.co.uk, this one by MSI is indicated as a "Hot Seller" Scan.co.uk: MSI 1536MB GeForce GTX 580 Twin Frozr II/OC NVIDIA Graphics Card - N580GTX Twin Frozr II/OC, however, according to its specs, its it's missing the OpenCL Support and OpenGL 4.1 that's listed for other cards.

    This one by Palit (I can't say I heard of them) has 3 GB RAM for only 20 more than the MSI Scan.co.uk: Palit 3GB GeForce GTX 580 NVIDIA Graphics Card - NE5X580010FB but I don't know what the hidden downside is, since other 3 GB cards ae way more expensive. There's the Gigabyte Super Overclock with 855 MHz GPU for £423.10, but I don't know if the extra MHz make much difference and worth the extra money.

    What are the good manufacturers to go for, or does it not matter? Is there any advantage of getting an ATI/AMD-based card over nVidia these days? The reason why I'm going for nVidia is because of the extra support for features such as PhysX and 3D Vision.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.
     
  2. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,941   +725

    GPU speed : Immaterial at 1920x1080. Standard is 772M core/ 1002M memory (4008MHz effective) anything more is overclocked- A few frames per second more. Unless youre benchmarking you wont notice the difference.
    Shaders : Locked at twice the frequency of core regardless of card.
    GDDR5: All GTX 580's are GDDR5 (Samsung 1250MHz/5000MHz effective iirc)
    RAM capacity: 1536MB or 3072MB. 3GB is wasted on a single screen regardless of whether it's 1920x1080/1200 or 2560x1600/1440.
    Every chipset that has provision for a PCIe x16 slot can use the card.
    Format support ????
    For a single screen, very little. vRAM dependant games (F1 2010, Dragon Age II, Civ 5 for example) can show a little improvement at 2560x1600 resolution. At 1080p there are virtually no situations where you would need 3GB.
    Then you'll need a watercooled card.

    All GTX 590/580/570/560Ti/550 etc have full OpenCL 1.1 support (added with Forceware driver 280.19 last month) and OpenGL 4.1.

    Palit are the worlds third largest producer of graphics cards. They also own the Gainward brand (as well as XpertVision which may be defunct)
    Smaller warranty period generally and doesn't have the same cachet (snob value) as other tier one vendors (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, EVGA)
    Steve (TechSpot) reviewed the card. You decide.
    One of the main selling points is the 3-fan design -i.e. quiet
    Reference design = Makes no difference (warranty aside)
    Custom design = weigh up the factors that are important to you. Quietness, warranty, price, performance. Google reviews.
    Uh, you don't think that this should have been your first question?
    The GTX 580 doesn't represent good bang-for-the-buck -take it from me - I own two of them (EVGA and PNY). At 1920x1080 resolution a HD 6950 1GB card is sufficient performance unless you can distinguish between 4xMSAA and 16xCSAA
    If PhysX is important then buy an Nvidia card.
     


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