The GTX580 will slide into the top spot that the GTX480 used to occupy and hit the streets for the tidy sum of $499.99. But wait there is actually more to this. The GTX580 will be completely replacing the GTX480. That means that the GTX480 will be going away after the launch and ramp up of the GTX580. GF100 is becoming a GPGPU-only product, selling as Quadro and Tesla boards.
What this means to consumer market? You are seeing one of the first times that nVidia has replaced a GPU mid-stream like this. Well ok, not really it is important to remember that the GTX480 was supposed to launch in early November 2009. So what we are seeing here is a fairly normal timing, but an abbreviated schedule. When we first looked at the GTX480 we felt that its pricing was a little outside the day-to-day performance that we saw. We can tell you that we do not feel that with the GTX580. While the $499.99 price is steep, it is not beyond market expectations and the performance is certainly much more in tune with this price than what we saw from the GTX480.Conclusion
When we first saw the specs on the Fermi GPU we were very excited about its potential. However one delay after another combined with issues at TSMC and then rumors that the GTX480 would not have access to all of the CUDA Cores it was designed with began to diminish our enthusiasm. Then when we finally did see the GTX480 we found it to be a very hot running card that needed a lot of power to just to operate. We were not terribly impressed with the raw performance of the GTX480, but we did start to see some of the original potential. In our opinion nVidia was starting to get back some of their image quality. The colors were more vivid, the textures seemed cleaner and the games we had played over and over felt a little more ‘alive’. Still the GTX480 was too hot, too power hungry and did not perform as well as it should have.
Now we see the GTX580 on the scene, it does perform like the GTX480 should have. It can run fast without setting off fire alarms or doubling your power bill. It is exactly what the GTX480 should have been last year. While we are not completely finished with our testing, so far we have been impressed.
Given that we heard the news from AMD's partners about the delayed launch of Radeon HD 6900, it just may as well be that the GTX580 ends the 2010 as the fastest single GPU graphics card on the planet.
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