NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480: GF100 Has Landed - HotHardware
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480: GF100 Has Landed

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480: GF100 Has Landed

For better or worse, the launch of NVIDIA's next-generation GPU architecture codenamed Fermi, a.k.a. GF100, is one of the most highly anticipated in our industry, ever. Information about the GPU has been tricking out for many months now, some of it good and some bad. Regardless of what you have chosen to believe or ignore up to this point, one irrefutable fact remains. NVIDIA is extremely late to the DirectX-11 party. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Rival AMD has used the last few months to release a myriad of DX11-class cards ranging in price from under $100 to almost $700, fleshing out a top-to-bottom line-up that caters to virtually every market segment. Today NVIDIA is announcing two high-end cards, neither of which will be available for a couple of more weeks. So while this announcement is an important move for the company, NVIDIA would have liked to have made it sooner. C'est la vie.

NVIDIA may be late with their DX11-class cards, but launching strong products that compete favorably at their respective price points may erase some lingering concerns about the company and restore faith in prospective consumers. To that end, we can finally show you what NVIDIA has in store for the hardcore gamers out there. Today, NVIDIA is officially unveiling the GeForce GTX 480 and GeForce GTX 470. We have two of the flagship GeForce GTX 480 cards in house, and have tested them alongside NVIDIA's previous-gen products and AMD's Radeon HD 5800 / 5900 series, both in single and dual-card configurations. There's a lot to cover, so grab a snack, hydrate, and strap yourself in while we take NVIDIA's latest flagship for a spin around the HotHardware lab...

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480: GF100 Has Landed

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recoveringknowitall:

I wonder how the folks over at the green camp are reacting to all the mixed reactions their new baby is getting. Seems to me that negative or at the very least, unenthusiastic reactions outweigh positive ones. Is it possible that Nvidia knows exactly what they're doing and has some sort of sinister marketing plan?! lol

 

Their marketing department has some work to do, that's for sure. The reception has been mixed, mostly tepid. Certainly not the "bang" that ATI produced 7 months ago.

This card blows a lot of heat, I don't know how it's going to work out as a mobile solution.

 

bob_on_the_cob:

I don't think so. I think they just had a lot of issues with manufacturing and are playing catch up. 

Also Hardocp reviews graphics cards weird. I personally am not a fan of their reviews. My motherboard (Intel Bonetrail 2) they gave a really bad review and gave another review of a gigabyte board with the exact same issues a great review. The bonetrail board even did better in overclocking, but they praised the gigabyte board on overclocking and slammed the intel board for its poor overclocking. Same priced boards. When people started saying this not even in a bad way, just pointed it out, they started deleting the posts and banning people. We all caught up in the eXtremesystems forums about it.  The only reviews I trust from them are PSU reviews. Kyle is a cool dude and I have talked to him a few times, but he is hot headed and I find the site hard to trust.

 

HardOCP: -> Negative "Overall, GF100 hasn’t exactly delivered. I think we were all hoping it would provide a substantial gameplay improvement over the Radeon HD 5870 and Radeon HD 5850."

AnandTech: -> Neutral "Bigger than price though is the tradeoff for going with the GTX 480 and its much bigger GPU – it’s hotter, it’s noisier, and it’s more power hungry, all for 10-15% more performance"

OverclockersClub: -> Positive "All things considered, NVIDIA stepped up to the plate (albeit rather late) and delivered gaming performance with visual quality."

Guru3D: -> Positive "The performance is grand and impressive and well, it's just a sick card to play all modern games with at any resolution or image quality preference."

TechSpot: -> Negative "The GeForce GTX 480 is fast but given the extra time Nvidia had to work on the card and tweak it to perfection, we would have at least expected to do without the heat/power compromises."

HardwareCanucks: -> Neutral "The GTX 480 isn’t necessarily a resounding success but we consider it to be a good stepping stone towards some much needed competition in the DX11 marketplace"

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The GTX 295 is a dual card yes.  That cost in the same price range ($500~600) and has close to the same power envelope/heat.

The fact that the GTX 295 is a dual does not matter except for saying you have the fastest "Video Chip".  People don't buy video chips, they buy video cards.  When your top of the line from the last generation cost about as much as your newest top of the line, while performing faster, that is not a good thing.

Due to its high heat and power requirements, I do not see a 400 series dual card coming out until the respin.  That will be sometime around the end of the year most likely.  Granted, their 512 card will be a little faster then the GTX 480 (We are still only talking about a 6.67% increase in processing and memory bandwidth though).

I personally have a GTX 285 in my rig as well.  It has been a rock solid and dependable card.  However, with all the trade-offs I do not see myself putting a 400 series card into my rig.  After all, it is micro atx.

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The GTX480 scales better than the ATI 5000 series. It overclocks on par with the ATI 5870 series as well, giving around a 5-7% performance boost in most cases. But again there's the heat, noise and power issues to deal with, especially if you're planning a multi-GPU config...not to mention the price tag. Two GTX480's will run you $1,000.

It's important to keep in mind that the GTX480 has a lot of hardware tessellation power that is largely untapped in most of the benchmarks. Before any games come out that can take advantage of this, we'll see fully functional GF100 cards with much better performance, heat dissipation and factory OCs.

Again, my suggestion is save your money and wait till Nvidia works out the kinks in the GTX400 series.

Oh and the GTX470...performs close to the ATI 5850, but the additional heat, noise, power and price make it largely irrelevant. You can get a 5870 for a few bucks more.

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Gibbersome.

That graph was actually relatively accurate. For that test.

Even in that video that was released a while back of that demo, showed the ATI card and the Nvidia card, neck and neck until tessellation kicked in and that's when the fermi card dominated. And if you don't consider double the fps a domination than I don't know what would.

Like I said though this card seems to be pretty great with DX11. I'd like to see more DX11 benchs..... but of course... there's really very few games out there for DX11.

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I have the benchmarks in my account on DX11 with normal Tesselation as well as all other options on the system I won (5870) in my account files "Benchmark's". It is all at stock speeds "Normal" with all options on at 4X. I had bought a 5850 (the only real upgrade it had) for my previous system and am going to Crossfire the 5870 w/the 5850 and try to up and down clock them to be the same speeds as I have heard that the difference in speeds causes some difficulties. I also am hoping this will also help with heat issues of running crossfire we will see where it goes. I may have to add the 60mm x2 optional fans which run directly next to the cards and above the PSU cage!

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in_sOmniac:

Funny as can be! LOL!

Thanks for sharing that.

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THAT IS THE BEST POST EVER!

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HILARIOUS, In_somniac!

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Im cooking myself a hamburger with bacon :P lol, But hey it saves you the money on extra gas/energy and a pan/stove Wink

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acarzt, its now time to complain why isn't this as super as the hype made it??? :) lol. Its nice but we were expecting better of them :(...

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Yeah!........1600Core processors!!

Oh, Wait...What? Its Nvidia :(

Only 512 cores. Also a big card with a minuscule fan?

As you can tell This Fan is still one of ATI's :)

Like I have said before, it is going to take a while for the software to catch up to these cards to these multi-core GPU's. The big thing is the DX11 support. that is the main reason for upgrading a card!

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animatortom:

Yeah!........1600Core processors!!

Oh, Wait...What? Its Nvidia :(

Only 512 cores. Also a big card with a minuscule fan?

As you can tell This Fan is still one of ATI's :)

Like I have said before, it is going to take a while for the software to catch up to these cards to these multi-core GPU's. The big thing is the DX11 support. that is the main reason for upgrading a card!

It's 480 cores animatortom. The 512 cores aren't fully enabled yet. And the software is catching up at a faster pace then you predicted. The only problem is that it's only marginally faster then the ATI cards. The only time where it outperforms the ATI Radeon HD 5870 is in SLI mode, and the price does not justify the marginal performance increase.

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Either one Nvidia or ATI, You can paint a Yugo Ferrari red. It still doesn't make it a Ferrari :)
Much like WS cards the ones that have the best OpenGL is the latest one needed for the current software, much like DX11. With each iteration, about the only difference is the doubling of the memory.
My theory is, when it comes to GPU's, Give it time and in another few months they will be rolling out something that is twice as powerful at the same price. Then the die hard fanboys on either side will try them out, then if you look at the complaints. You will get a better idea of the cards short comings :)

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To show off the capabilities of GF100, NVIDIA has created a number of interesting demos. As many of you know, properly rendering and animating realistic hair is a difficult task.

Tell me about it. My OCD has been cringing from this for years now. I see a character's head move, and it's like their hair is a lego piece that has been capped on top of their head. It doesn't move and it irritates the crap out of me. The pictures that nvidia released from the demo looks incredibly realistic, which of course is thanks to the proper lighting. 

Another demo NVIDIA created to illustrate tessellation with the GF100 is aptly dubbed the Water Demo. As you can see in the screenshots above, the water demo takes a scene with relatively basic geometry, and through increased tessellation and displacement mapping the detail in the rocks and water is dramatically increased. 

Water has been the hardest object to master for so long now, at least for consumer priced products like video games. 

The demo does not use realistic fluid dynamics, but the effect was nonetheless still very good.

That's a bummer. I can't tell you how many times games have made water look like soggy gelatin. Still impressive though. 

In addition to offering much more compute performance and geometry processing than previous generations, the GF100 also features new anti-aliasing modes.

This is probably why the card spikes at 105C. I was looking at the Age of Conan references you attached to the article. It's quite a difference, even though that close up the image of grass is still pixelated, I'm sure that us gamers aren't going to critique the grass on a microscopic scale. 

I'm finally glad to see that Nvidia is pushing their "The Way It's Mean't to Be Played" slogan. I haven't experienced a renaissance in PhysX optimization in really any game that I've been able to play. But their incorporation of APEX was really impressive. I expect to see a lot more of capes flapping in the wind much like Arkham Asylum. I want real time hair movements too. I'm a picky gamer haha. Seriously though, the more realistic a game is for me, the more engrossed I get into it. 

"Computational GPU" is short-hand for "a whole lot of number crunching".

I take it this means that the card will kick some ass. 

So I was looking at the charts. The GTX 480 barely passes the 5970 in Extreme Tessellation, even in both single and multi GPU set ups. However, it fails miserably at 3D MarkVantage. 

But, thinking more on the subject, we have to remember that the 5970 is made up of TWO 1 GB GPU's.

What's interesting though is the Quake Wars test. The fact that Crossfire 5970's only have about a 25% increase in performance than SLI GTX 480's is pretty substantial. That's 2 cards vs. 4 cards and the 4 cards have a slight head margin.

One thing I keep seeing though is the comparison between the GTX 480 and the GTX 280 and 295 models. The is an increase in performance, but nothing ground breaking in my opinion. It might have something to do with Crysis being optimized for Dx10.

However I noticed that the GTX 480 shinned brightly through the Far Cry 2 test. At Ultra Quality and 4x AA at 1920x1200 it only falls behind the 5970 by 10 FPS and only 6 in their multi GPU set up. 

Regarding L4D2, I just LOVE how every card just pushes through and dominates haha. 

Now, about that power consumption. HOLY CRAP. It's amazing how much juice this card needs in order to throw its weight around. 

 At 438 watts under load, the GeForce GTX 480 consumed almost 40 more watts than the dual-GPU powered Radeon HD 5970, despite offering lower performance. With regard to power efficiency, it is obvious, the GF100 GPU is significantly less efficient than the Radeon HD 5870.

Yea seriously, Nvidia needs to rethink their strategy, people can afford their cards..but they will most likely foreclose on their homes because of the power bill. 

Having spent some quality time with the GeForce GTX 480, we can't help but expect the card, as we have shown it to you here today, will not be NVIDIA flagship for an extended period of time. The true potential of the Fermi architecture hasn't been fully realized just yet.

You see this is what depresses me. People are going to go out and buy this card and then Nvidia will release something that's actually ground breaking. I think they did this, just so they could get a margin of their market share back. 

Right now the GTX 480 is Nvidia Flagship card, but like you said in your conclusion, it won't be for long. I don't think this is what Nvidia wanted either, and I hope they can roll out something eye boggling and mind numbing very soon. 

 

My conclusion? This card isn't worth the trouble despite the beautiful things that it can do. Save your money, wait one month, and I can promise you that ATI will drop the price tag on their cards by a few bucks. And you can end up getting more bang for your buck. That is at least until Nvidia finally get's their stuff together. But don't get me wrong, this card is still a monster, and it should be respected as so. 

 

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All I have to say is Meh. Pretty underwhelming.

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I agree bob seems pretty underwhelming to me to. When I saw the email notification of the post I was excited to. Oh well it's pretty close to what I expected especially seeing as ATI will probably release another card in3-4 months. Then on top of that the pricing as I can almost guarantee you ATI is going to price drop a bit more, probably across the board. Give it a month if we see any major action market wise they will. I don't know though this may be hardcore fanboys only to, in which case there won't be much market movement.

I guess it's just wait and see, I will say one thing for sure though if Nvidia does not see some decent roll over on this GPU I think its going to hurt. They have been working on it for quite some time with ATI taking most of the pie on the GPU end money wise. So they have been putting money in R&D for what over a year now with no return, not to mention ATI has also been gaining market share which is more dangerous than straight money in many cases I think.

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its a nice looking card a performs well, though it was not what I was expecting. None the less I would still trade my 2 275's for one of them. 

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Der Meister,

Two GTX 275s are faster than a single GTX 295. I'd be surprised if you're missing much.

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Joel H:

Der Meister,

Two GTX 275s are faster than a single GTX 295. I'd be surprised if you're missing much.

I wouldn't get much if any performance increase but I would get less power usage and Dx11. Im still tossing the idea around still

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I expected most of this. I didn't figure anything so amazing in the benchmarks.

The benchmark that I did like to see was the Unigine Heaven. I'm not sure how accurate/representative it is of real-world gaming because we don't currently have a game on hand that makes much use of DX11, but I would think that as we see more game titles, it might be somewhat representative. If that is the case, then this card is ahead of its time.

 

I was more interested in seeing the GTX 470 performance. Given the price, it would probably be something like 5% better than the 5850. I wonder how much the GTX 470 can be overclocked and how close it can come to the 5870 (stock).

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Gotta agree with Bob and Rapid1: we were led to believe that this would be a lot more than what we're seeing now.

It looks like we were right when we guessed why nVidia was doing the marketing blitz of Fermi info after ATI took the lead - ATI *really* leapfrogged them on this gen and they were over four months away from bringing performance back into parity.  If people had not been promised more last September, and Huang not shown the fake Fermi board (making people think its release was imminent), ATI would have had a better X-mas.

ATi's hardware's probably going to get cheaper now, and they just released OpenGL 4.0 compatible drivers for Linux (which of course nVidia has still to do - lacking hardware that can support the feature set)...  so I'm getting more and more tempted to give them a shot again.

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I knew Marco was up to something!  Am I the only one that things the gfx card looks like a futuristic hot rod?

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"I knew Marco was up to something!  Am I the only one that things the gfx card looks like a futuristic hot rod?"
Yeah Mentaldisorder,  I think your the only one :) LOL
I think these things look alot more like the ATI 5K Cards?! The one that really looked like a hot rod was that MSI 5850 we reviewed a couple days ago. That thing looked like a couple big radiators with the headers coming down the sides.

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mentaldisorder:

I knew Marco was up to something!  Am I the only one that things the gfx card looks like a futuristic hot rod?

I've got to start watching him in steam. If I see him open a bunch of games in one night I'll know he is up to something. Stick out tongue

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