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ConclusionA few days ago, Gainward announced the GTX 580 Phantom card, which boasts 3GB of GDDR5 memory and comes with a rather unique custom cooler with three 80mm fans, six heatpipes and a large aluminum heatsink with a copper base.
The factory overclock is really only slight - GTX 580 Phantom comes with 512 CUDA cores and runs at 783MHz for the GPU, 1566MHz for shaders and 4020MHz for 3GB of GDDR5 memory paired up with 384-bit memory interface.
We recently tested Gainward’s GTX 560 Ti Phantom card, here, and liked it a lot. However, it appears like we’ve had too high expectations for the GTX 580 Phantom, as it didn’t quite score that well.
Truth be told, GTX 580 3GB Phantom’s cooling performance is better than that of reference cooling – we measured up to 9°C lower GPU temperatures. However, the cooler is a bit louder than the reference solution. That’s not to say that Phantom is loud, it’s actually within acceptable levels. However, we’d much rather see a card quieter than the reference version. After all, we’re talking about a two and a half slot wide cooling that’s expected to deliver bigtime.
Gainward GTX 580 3GB Phantom runs at slightly higher clocks that will not really affect performance. However, the card is still the fastest single-GPU graphics card around and will chew up any game with ease. If you need more than 1.5GB of memory then this is the card for you as it packs 3GB of GDDR5. Note however that the added memory won’t help much if you’re playing on one display, although some games might find some use for it at 2560x1600 (32x AA and 32x AF). This means that dual-display gaming will probably be the wisest application for the frame buffer.
Gainward did a good job with Phantom series, which already attracted much attention among enthusiasts. All the cards from Phantom series look good but cooling performance and noise levels are even better. The only thing that might raise eyebrows is the pretty steep price of €520, here, which is in our eyes a bit too much. However, if you’ve got green to spare, make no mistake – this card will provide serious performance, and then some.