NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480: GF100 Has Landed

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 26 2010 7:12 PM

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480: GF100 Has LandedFor 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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acarzt replied on Fri, Mar 26 2010 7:13 PM

And here I was just about to complain that it's Firday and no news on the GTX480 :-P

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Joel H replied on Fri, Mar 26 2010 7:23 PM

Shouldn't "High Power Consumption" be labeled under "Hot"? ;)

 

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AKwyn replied on Fri, Mar 26 2010 7:23 PM

Meh, I can't believe that after all the hype. It's only marginally faster then an ATI card and it should of been $50 less for that kind of performance. I'm thinking this is part of a marketing scheme by NVIDIA for them to buy 2 cards and run them in SLI so they can get world class performance and more money, then again I might be crazy.

I'm also surprised by the fact that it makes more heat and consumes more power. I wonder what they thinking when they made the card, at least they could of done an Intel thing and made it more efficient so that it'd leapfrog over ATI just like the Core 2 Duo did with AMD's processors back in 2006.

And a card with 512 cores unlocked... I guess it's going to be 10-20 fps faster then the ATI cards released right now but damn are they going to need a cooler that can cool this card effectively.

I'm going to wait for the GeForce GTX 470 review until I make up my mind but I think NVIDIA has a GeForce FX on it's hands.

 

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I'm pretty surprised with the results... IMHO GTX 480 is meh and I'm gonna buy Ati this time.

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Inspector replied on Fri, Mar 26 2010 7:33 PM

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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acarzt replied on Fri, Mar 26 2010 7:57 PM

I think it is lacking in some areas due to drivers. It's a brand new peice of hardware.

Comparing it the the previous Gen of Nvidia cards, it's hugely impressive. A single chip GTX480 is faster than a Dual Chip GTX295. On top of that, in some bench marks it can nearly hang with the 5970. When paired in SLI it really shined.

While in Single card mode in the HAWX benchmark it was 20% faster than the 5870. Then in  Dual card mode it was 40-60% faster than a pair of 5870s. On top of that, a pair of 5970 is only 20% faster while having twice as many chips to work with.

More evidence of potential for driver optimization becomes apparant here as well since scaling from single card to dual picked up 90% at one resolution, but only 70% at the other. With some optimization Nvidia could squeeze out a few more frames.

When a dual chip Nvidia card comes out.... it'll be a beast.

Also, pay close attention to the Unigine Heaven benches as they can be a bit deceiving. While it looks like the 480 is only slightly faster than the 5870s, it is in actuallity nearly twice as fast. Add to that, that it was faster than the 5970.

I think for this card DX11 is where it's at. This thing will probably, kindly, hand the ATI card it's a$$ in DX11 games w/ Tessellation. And as we all know DX11 is the future. So I don't mind if it's not the best at DX10 as long as it's great at playing the games of the future :-)

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AKwyn replied on Fri, Mar 26 2010 7:58 PM

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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rapid1 replied on Fri, Mar 26 2010 11:29 PM

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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Joel H replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 1:56 AM

Acarzt,

I'll hit the rest of this in the morning, but I'm going to respond to one thing you wrote now. It's physically impossible for NVIDIA to build a dual-GPU GTX 480 on a 40nm process. Board power for the single-GPU flavor of the card is 250W. The maximum amount of power you can feed a PCI-Express card is 300W. NVIDIA isn't going to break the PCI-Express specification (they'd get no support from motherboard vendors, all of whom would have to specifically vet their motherboards against a non-standard component).

It's possible that these first parts are terrible examples of 40nm, so yes, NVIDIA could re-spin the silicon. Statistically, that won't happen for at least six months; NVIDIA's already respun it (and TSMC's yields aren't exactly fabulous even now).  Farther out, Fermi probably will go through a die shrink at some point in 2011 once 28nm tech is ramping, but that's a year away.

Sure, NV could opt to build a svelte mid-range dual-GPU, but that wouldn't be a dual GTX 480. It's very likely that we'll see NVIDIA roll a full 512-core Fermi and I think it's a good bet that they'll build a Fermi 2.0 on an improved 40nm die, but you can only rearchitect so much. If we look at the GTX 285 / GTX 295 as indicative, NV would need to pull the power consumption of a GTX 480 down by 50-60W to have enough room in the PCI-E spec to build a dualie. The only time you see leaps that massive on the same process, maybe, is if you compare A0 hardware to the mature, high-yield silicon you're building 1-2 years later.

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Joel H replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 1:57 AM

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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rapid1 replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 2:31 AM

Joel that's a good point I did not even think of. While it would be a major difficulty on what you say, I think for the first thing if you run it in SLI it is not only pulling 500 Watt's so forget Tri-SLI. I would also totally flood the PCI-X bus on anything but whats on a 1366 chip socket board as well. Well maybe a 1366 and a AM3. I don't know if the AM3 even has enough bandwidth either though, not to mention $1500 for the video cards alone for either of these with Tri-SLI. Then you get to the PSU in standard SLI the cards would be pulling 500 watts, in Tri they'd be pulling 750 watts which you could get with nothing less than a server power block which would not fit in a standard case anyway (not to mention would probably be at least 500 more dollars. On top of that I doubt a PCI-X would even have the bandwidth available to actually run it, where with 2 5970's it is still fine (greatly because of the reduced energy pull and of course heat ramp).

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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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RyuGTX replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 2:45 AM

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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3vi1 replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 8:45 AM

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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acarzt replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 2:03 PM

Well I never expected a dual GPU card based on the GTX480. That would be pretty awesome, but ridiculous to expect.

Even the GTX 295 isn't based off the 280. It's essentially 2 260s on 1 board. And with that it's a good bit faster than any other single card offering of it's Generation at Nvidia.

I was expecting a fermi equivilent to the 260 to be part of the dual gpu card. I would expect a 40-50% increase over the current single gpu 480. I don't think that would be unreasonable to expect :-)

I also don't expect this any time soon lol The GTX 295 didn't come out for some time after the GTX 280 was launched. If i'm remembering the time line correctly, I think it actuall even came out after the refresh of those cards.

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realneil replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 4:43 PM

So after all of this waiting with our breaths held in check, wondering about the magnificent surprises headed our way with these cards, they're a power hog bust? Ha! Ha-Ha!

Ha! Ha-Ha!

Ha! Ha-Ha!

Ha! Ha-Ha!

That's pretty rich, isn't it?

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sp12 replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 6:30 PM

I wouldn't buy, ATI cards are being priced gauged, and I see no reason for retailers to drop prices, ATI has the highest performance/price ratio, and the fastest single card.

They have minimal pressure coming from Fermi on their 5870, and the 470 is basically inferior/hotter/more costly than the 5850.

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realneil:

So after all of this waiting with our breaths held in check, wondering about the magnificent surprises headed our way with these cards, they're a power hog bust? Ha! Ha-Ha!

Ha! Ha-Ha!

Ha! Ha-Ha!

Ha! Ha-Ha!

That's pretty rich, isn't it?

I never held my breath because I expected a result like this. I just hope Nvidia gets their act together and really releases something that will blow us away. 

Don't get me wrong guys, what they released is still amazing by most standards. But by their standards, I would have to say it's sub par.

I will still have to back up ATI until Nvidia show its stripes again. 

But yes Neil, it's pretty rich =D

 

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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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They didn't list it on this site, but the Radeon 5770 in Crossfire (@ $320~340) actually matches or beats this new Nvidia card in every category.

I find myself... underwhelmed.

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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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rapid1 replied on Sun, Mar 28 2010 3:45 AM

Wow Nvidia is taking a beating on this one it seems! These are quote's:

"Meanwhile let’s talk about the other factors: price, power, and noise. At $500 the GTX 480 is the world’s fastest single-GPU card, but it’s not a value proposition. The price gap between it and the Radeon 5870 is well above the current performance gap, but this has always been true about the high-end. Bigger than price though is the trade off 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. If you need the fastest thing you can get then the choice is clear, otherwise you’ll have some thinking to decide what you want and what you’re willing to live with in return."

" Even if it was 25% faster, I wouldn't buy it, not with those thermals. Since I got my new 32nm Core i5, I finally have a quiet system for the first time in 10 years. I'm not going to give that up for marginal video performance gains. "

" This thing should come with a coupon for a power supply, this card isn't elegant at all and you can probably OC your 5870 to get the same numbers. AMD will likely release a high clocked 5870 with 2gb of ram before this thing hits the streets and take it crown back before Nvidia even gets a chance to prop it upon it's head. "

Those are randoms from other forums. I saw HH quote's a few times on them as well. This card seems to be headed directly for the trash bin to me. I just don't get it really why drop a product if it's not to the level you want it to be at, which is what this seems to be?

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Mar 28 2010 3:50 AM

Also the quote by Infinity sums it all up quite nicely

"They didn't list it on this site, but the Radeon 5770 in Crossfire (@ $320~340) actually matches or beats this new Nvidia card in every category.

I find myself... underwhelmed."

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RyuGTX replied on Sun, Mar 28 2010 4:26 AM

InfinityzeN:

They didn't list it on this site, but the Radeon 5770 in Crossfire (@ $320~340) actually matches or beats this new Nvidia card in every category.

I find myself... underwhelmed.

 

Do you have a link to support that? I'm curious because like we saw in the review, Crossfire scaling wasn't that great. I figured 5770 in Crossfire would be around the performance of a 5850. Maybe better, but not near the performance of a 5870, which is area the the GTX 480 is at.

 

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Overheating, more power draw than the 5970, noisy....this is what we were expecting, but like 3vi1, Bob and rapid1 mentioned, we were expecting a 20-40% performance jump over the 5870.

Yet we've seen all the manufacturers jump at the opportunity to supply the card into the system. I'll be curious to see the numbers, and where Nvidia goes from here.

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All fingers point to the fact that Nvidia felt the pressure after the success of ATI's 5000 series. This card feels rushed, and while the performance is there, the value certainly isn't.

I wouldn't say the card is headed for the trash bin though. With their lofty promises and by aiming higher, Nvidia has raised the bar for ATI.

Nvidia has informed us that the GTX480 is NOT a complete GF100 chip. A complete chip would be a 512 core organized in a 4x16x32 fashion, while these card do not have all the units activated. A GTX485/495 will unleash that power, but that maybe several months away.

I'd rather they had waited till summer and sorted out some of the temperature and power consumption issues. My advice to everyone looking for an Nvidia card is to wait. In a few months you'll be banging your head in frustration when faster and more efficient cards become available.

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Mar 28 2010 3:43 PM

Exactly so this was basically a rush job. The GTX485 I can see, while as we were discussing yesterday a 495 dual GPU card goes above power standards as well as PCI-X standards. So it won't run on any motherboard unless someone makes a specialized board with out of spec power availabilities, and Pci-X capabilities. I just don't see it, of course if they reworked the power profile, heat profile that may work and with further development I could see that. Efficiency is a really big thing when your hardware is pushing as much as this one is!

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RyuGTX replied on Sun, Mar 28 2010 4:31 PM

gibbersome:

Overheating, more power draw than the 5970, noisy....this is what we were expecting, but like 3vi1, Bob and rapid1 mentioned, we were expecting a 20-40% performance jump over the 5870.

Yet we've seen all the manufacturers jump at the opportunity to supply the card into the system. I'll be curious to see the numbers, and where Nvidia goes from here.

 

Don't know why you guys would expect something like that. Has any card ever seen a 40% increase over the competitor? If it was that much, I'm sure Nvidia would have shown something near those numbers during their demos to get the hype going.

 

I wonder... They probably rushed this and when they benchmarked it, it was performing slightly (or maybe more) behind the 5870. So they just overclocked it themselves. Maybe? Maybe??? How does Nvidia and ATI decide on the stock clocks anyways?

 

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Inspector replied on Sun, Mar 28 2010 4:53 PM

Yep most of us here agrees they rushed this and aren't getting what they planed for now. Maybe the next one will be much better and then we will see where nvidia is heading!

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3vi1 replied on Sun, Mar 28 2010 5:36 PM

@mental:

>> Am I the only one that things the gfx card looks like a futuristic hot rod?

Nope. Here's what I saw when I first looked at the pic (with apologies to Acarzt).

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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realneil replied on Sun, Mar 28 2010 5:52 PM

I just bought a 1GB XFX Radeon HD-5850 Black Edition Card for my Core i5-750 system. When I was considering what to get, I thought that maybe I should wait for the new NVIDIA cards to be released and continue to save some more cash towards one of them. I'm glad that I didn't wait.

I have DX11 capabilities and get good performance from the ATI branded card. Buying it didn't break the bank either. Of course this has been the way of it for a few years anyway, has it not?

NVIDIA is probably scratching their heads and wondering just WTF's happening right now, as they should be,.........

 

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realneil replied on Sun, Mar 28 2010 5:59 PM

gibbersome:
In a few months you'll be banging your head in frustration when faster and more efficient cards become available

Smart advice that should be followed by all,......NVIDIA just wanted some of the market share that ATI has been enjoying for so long. They haven't really earned it yet though. BUT,............I think that they'll release something earth shattering this year and slap ATI around some.

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The ATI linux drivers have made leaps and bounds in the last few years 3vi1. Getting a multi monitor set up with ATI and linux used to be a huge pain. I would have to write the xorg.conf file myself. Now it is easier than Nvidia.

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