PNY GTX580 Liquid Cooled Review
Let's get one thing out of the way straight away. When we first saw the PNY XLR8 GTX580 we chuckled. It looks so strange, almost like a standard card has sprouted a growth, that we almost dismissed it. We're delighted we didn't.
Sure it might not be the belle of the ball, but when you talk about GPUs we only care about two things. Is it easy on the ears, and is the performance enough to blow our socks off?
The PNY is answers a resounding yes to both questions.
Starting with the most obvious thing, the performance is exceptional. It's the fastest pre-overclocked GTX580 we're aware of, and yet it still has plenty of untapped power and can be pushed up to a fairly stratospheric 965MHz. Even better and unlike some cards we've tested the overclock makes a clear difference to the performance too. At "stock" it's very fast, but if you're willing to overclock it, and who wouldn't be, then it becomes blazingly quick. 34000 P-Score, nearly 40 FPS average in The Witcher 2, the PNY is definitely the daddy when it comes to giving big numbers.
That's only half the story though.
The rest of it is the phenomenal performance of the bizarre cooling arrangement. It needs a bit of careful prodding because if you don't remember to turn the stock fan up to keep the GDDR5 and voltage regulators cool then the card quickly becomes hot enough to bake a potato upon. But a quick trip into the nVidia control panel sorts that out and you're left with a card that is about as loud as a standard card, the extra 120mm fan on the radiator obviously adds the noise that the reduced speed of the stock fan removes, but is amazingly cool. 51°C is mind-blowingly low for a card at these speeds.
One would assume that a card at this level of factory overclock, water-cooling, and a five year warranty would break the bank. Although it's a bit more expensive than a standard card at around £470, it's actually very good value considering a stock card is about the £400 mark and this has so much more.
We shouldn't like it as much as we do. But we do. We really do. It's quick and, despite the quirky looks, works outstandingly well. It has to be a Gold Award.