We tested several games at 2560x1600 but we needed more than 1.5GB of memory only in rare cases. Although 3GB of memory sounds enticing, anyone who's less than hard-core gamer would do just fine with the reference GTX 580 1.5GB version. PoV/TGT aren't targeting uninformed customers who consider RAM to be the measure of GPU power, but rather informed gamers who like to know that they will never be limited by available memory. If you’re looking to use the card for scientific purposes and tap into CUDA, then you’ll probably love the 3GB version – it will allow for twice as much data in the memory.
Several Nvidia's partners have already launched 3GB versions of the GTX 580, which means that the demand exists. While there are only few games that can put the 3GB to use, we're hoping to see more by the year's end.
Our testing revealed that 2560x1600 gaming will suffer from GPU speed limitations more often than memory limitations. The 3GB version is also useful for SLI. If you use two reference GTX 580 cards with SLI, you have 2x 1.5GB and not 1x 3.0GB. With 2x 3.0GB versions, you have both the performance and the memory to support very high resolutions. Of course the 3GB version is also very useful for games which support multiple monitors.
Investing in future is not always an easy decision to make, especially if the ‘future’ costs €540 here. PoV/TGT GTX 580 UC card with 1.5GB goes for about €90 less.
We would've liked a better cooler on the GTX 580 3GB Ultra Charged. Compared to the reference version, our today's test sample was much louder and hotter.
The card packs a nice punch, there's no doubt about it, but unless you're an enthusiast or know exactly why you need 3GB of memory, we'd recommend you to stick with the more affordable, reference GTX 580 with 1.5GB of memory.