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Wednesday, 09 February 2011 11:47

Gainward GTX 580 3GB Phantom tested - 2. A closer look at GTX 580 3GB Phantom

Written by Sanjin Rados
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Review: Running cool and armed with 3GB

Gainward GTX 580 3GB Phantom looks great, but more importantly – the graphics card sports quiet cooling, whose performance is good enough to cool down the fastest GPU up to date, GTX 580 (GF110). At first glance one may suggest that the Phantom is passively cooled, but one would of course be wrong. Three 80mm fans are placed under the heatsink and are barely visible from the outside.

 GTX_580_phantom-box-front_2

A large aluminum heatsink in a black plastic frame covers the entire card, and the hefty dissipating surface helps to provide good cooling performance. However, placing fans between the heatsink and the cooler’s base does introduce one disadvantage - the card is 2.5 slots wide. We can’t really pick hairs though, as the cooler does its job really good and it remains quiet all the time. The card is 10.5 inches (267 mm) long, same as the reference card.

A six-heatpipe system is used to take care of heat transfer between the cooler base and the heatsink. As you can see from the picture below, some heatpipes stretch to the farthest end of the heatsink.

phantom-strong

As we mentioned before, Phantom’s cooler is equipped with three fans but there are only two 4-pin power connectors on the PCB.

phantom-pinhead

Two fans share the same 4-pin power connector, whereas the third fan is connected on its own connector. However, this is not as important because the driver will take care of setting the same RPM for all fans. Setting the RPM manually is a breeze using Gainward’s ExperTool or any other popular utility like MSI Afterburner.

The next picture shows how cable routing was implemented.

phantom-cable-routing

The heatsink features clean design without sharp edges. The welds between heatpipes and aluminum fins were done well.

Pulling cold air through the heatsink is the main task for the three fans, but they are in charge of cooling hot components on the PCB too.

phantom-fan-job

Removing the cooler from the card will not be an easy task. Usually, this is done by removing four spring-loaded screws from the card’s back side, but this time you will have to remove all the other screws as well.

 

phantom-back

 

phantom-gpu-screws

GTX_580_phantom-box-front_4

The cooler base is fastened to the black metal plate by two clips. Contact area to the GPU does not feature mirror finish.

phantom-base

Gainward uses Power Logic PLA8015S12HH fans with maximum RPM of about 3500.

phantom-base-screw

As you can see from the picture below, the big metal plate covers all the shorter electrical components on the PCB, such as memory modules.

phantom-metal-plate

Taller components, including the six phase VRM (power regulation module) for the GPU and two phase VRM for the memory, are cooled directly by the air from the fans above.

phantom-pcb

GTX 580 Phantom is equipped with a total of 3072MB video memory.

phantom-memory

As far as video outs go, we have here the classic Gainward’s Quattro-ports design, i.e. two dual link DVIs, HDMI and DisplayPort out. Note that only two video outs can be used simultaneously. Nvidia included an HDMI sound device within the GPU, so there is no need for connecting the card to your motherboard’s/soundcard’s SPDIF out to get audio and video via HDMI.

GTX_580_phantom-box-front_5

This card requires two PCI Express power connectors - one 6-pin and one 8-pin. It supports both 2-way and 3-way SLI configurations.

Integrated power Control IC is placed at the back of PCB - ON Semiconductor's ADP4100 IC was used.

phantom-adp4100

(Page 2 of 11)
Last modified on Wednesday, 09 February 2011 17:02
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