Installation of any of the GeForce GTX 580 card is really easy. Once the card is installed and seated into the PC we connect the one 6-pin and one 8-pin PEG power connectors to the graphics card. Preferably your power supply is compatible; most high-end PSUs built after the year 2008 have these connectors as standard:
GeForce GTX 580 needs one 6-pin PEG connector and one 8-pin PCIe PEG connector.
Preferably the PEG headers should come directly from the power supply and are not converted from 4-pin Molex peripheral connectors. Don't forget to connect your monitor, you can now turn on your PC, boot into Windows, install the latest compatible NVIDIA GeForce Forceware driver and after a reboot all should be working. No further configuration is required or needed.
Let's have a look at how much power draw we measure with this graphics card installed.
The methodology: We have a device constantly monitoring the power draw from the PC. We simply stress the GPU, not the processor. The before and after wattage will tell us roughly how much power a graphics card is consuming under load.
Our test system is based on a power hungry Core i7 965 / X58 system. This setup is overclocked to 3.75 GHz. Next to that we have energy saving functions disabled for this motherboard and processor (to ensure consistent benchmark results). On average we are using roughly 50 to 100 Watts more than a standard PC due to higher CPU clock settings, water-cooling, additional cold cathode lights etc.
Keep that in mind. Our normal system power consumption is higher than your average system.
Measured power consumption
System in IDLE = 187W
System Wattage with GPU in FULL Stress = 447W
Difference (GPU load) = 260W
Add average IDLE wattage ~ 20W
Subjective obtained GPU power consumption = ~ 280 Watts
Mind you that the system wattage is measured from the wall socket and is for the entire PC. Below, a chart of measured Wattages per card. Overall this is much higher than reference, this is due to an increased GPU voltage to allow easy overclocking and the standard higher clock frequencies.
Power Consumption Cost Analysis
Based on the Wattage we can now check how much a card like today will cost you per year and per month. We charge 0,23 EUR cents (or dollars) per KWh, which is the standard here.
TDP in KWh
2 hrs day
4 hrs day
Graphics card measured TDP
Cost 5 days per week / 4 hrs day
Cost per Month
Cost per Year 5 days week / 4 hrs day
We estimate and calculate here based on four hours GPU intensive gaming per day / 5 days a week with this card.
Above, a chart of relative power consumption. This is the entire PC (not just the card as just measured) with the GPU(s) stressed 100%, and the CPU(s) left in idle. Mind you that these are the extreme peak measurements, overall power consumption will, obviously, be lower.
But what is interesting is that power consumptions was actually higher than the GTX 480, not lower as NVIDIA claims. Yet we also really need to mention that the board used (engineering sample) had an older BIOS and that power consumption on this board might be a tad higher as a result of it.
Here is Guru3D's power supply recommendation:
GeForce GTX 580
On your average system the card requires you to have a 650 Watt power supply unit.
GeForce GTX 580 in SLI
A second card requires you to add another 250 Watts. You need a 900+ Watt power supply unit if you use it in a high-end system (1 KiloWatt recommended if you plan on any overclocking).
For each other card (3-way SLI) that you add, just add another 250 Watts and 20A on the 12V rails as a safety margin. What would happen if your PSU can't cope with the load?:
bad 3D performance
spontaneous reset or imminent shutdown of the PC
freezing during gameplay
PSU overload can cause it to break down
There are many good PSUs out there, please do have a look at our many PSU reviews as we have loads of recommended PSUs for you to check out in there.
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