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  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 Video Card Review
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 Video Card Review



    Sometimes, to pave the way to something great you have to make a radical change and NVidia has done that with the new Fermi architecture.  The new GPU core solves many of the current limitations found in the modern GPU by implementing technologies like Parallel geometry processing units, and GigaThread context switching.  While these are extremely complex operations, what they do is simple, and the result is pure speed.

    As we mentioned earlier the GTX 480 is the first GPU based on the new Fermi architecture and supports a long list of technologies and features.  Stuff like DirectX 11 in hardware, high speed Tessellation and Displacement Mapping, DirectCompute, PhysX, NVidia 3D Vision, Surround Gaming (across 3 monitors) 3D Vision Surround (3d vision across 3 monitors), Advanced Ray Tracing, and SLI (2+ GPUs) help to justify the effort.  In the end we have a product that is easily one of the most powerful GPUs ever to be produced.
    In this review we explored many of these features and found the GTX 480 to have vastly exceeded our expectations.  While it's true that when paired up against the HD 5870 in apples to apples match ups the 5870 often was faster, it wasn't until additional features, such as PhysX and DirectX 11 where enabled that we saw the true power of the Fermi architecture.  We can attribute these realizations to benchmarks (and games) being written to take advantage of the new, and powerful features, being offered by the GTX 480.

    The GeForce GTX 480 is not without its drawbacks.  The card is rather power hungry and draws up to 250 Watts under normal operation.  To put this in perspective, we all know how hot a Core i7 can get, along with what it takes to keep the processor cool.  Now overclock that processor and add 50 additional watts.  We suspect heat output and power efficiency will improve over time due to increased chip yields and general improvements are made to the core. 

    Amazingly enough, despite the huge power demands, excess heat, and fan noise there is still more power that can be squeezed from the GTX 480.  Overclocking was extremely successful and we suspect with better cooling, such as watercooling, we can get even higher clocks and better performance.  Also do not discount improvements to the GPU core itself; at launch the current flagship product is only using 480 processing cores. 

    It may be some time before we realize the full potential of the GTX 480, but for now it is easily a force to be reckoned with.
    Good Things
    Most Powerful GPU on the Market
    High-Resolution Gaming with PhysX
    Support for more DirectX 11 features than the competition
    Black Chrome Heatsink
    3D Vision Gaming across 3 Monitors
    Surround Gaming up to 3 Monitors
    3D gaming at 1080p
    Bad Things
    Huge power usage
    Extremely hot
    Higher price than the competition
    Flagship product without the full 512 Cores
    Needing a set of GTX 480/470 in SLI to use the Surround gaming options
    Ninjalane Rating
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 Video Card Review

    Furious 5 of 5