EVGA GTX 480 Hydro Copper FTW Review

Article Index

Test System and Unigine Heaven 2.0


HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: In order to provide comparable results, the graphics cards tested here were installed on the same, high end X58 based test system. The components we used consisted of an EVGA Classified motherboard, Core i7 980X Extreme Edition processor, and 6GB of OCZ Blade memory. Within the BIOS, we configured the processor to an overclocked speed of 4.38GHz and memory to 1857MHz.

We feel these settings will minimize the occurrences of CPU performance bottlenecks during benchmark runs and allow the graphics cards to show their true potential. Furthermore, our Crucial M225 solid state drive entered the testing process with a clean copy of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit installed. Once installation was complete, we fully updated the OS and installed the latest drivers and applications relevant to the review article.

HotHardware's Test System
Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition
Overclocked 4.38GHz

EVGA Classified 760 Motherboard
X58 Express Chipset

EVGA Hydro Copper FTW GTX 480 1.5GB
XFX HD 5970 Black Edition 2GB
Gigabyte Super OC HD 5870 1GB
EVGA GTX 480 1.5GB

6GB OCZ Blade DDR3-1857
(3 X 2GB) 7-8-7-20 1T

Crucial M225 128GB SSD
Firmware 1916

Watercooling Loop:
Laing MCP655 D5 12V DC Pump
Thermochill PA120.3 Triple Radiator
EK-RES400 v2 Multi-Option Reservoir
1/2" ID / 3/4" OD Tygon R3400 Tubing
Bitspower 1/2" Compression Fittings
Six 120mm Yate Loon D12SL-12 Fans

Dell 3008WFP LCD Monitor
2560 x 1600 Resolution

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Professional 64bit
NVIDIA GeForce Driver Release 257.21
ATI Catalyst Display Driver 10.6

Benchmarks Used:

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Dirt 2
Aliens vs Predator
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat
Just Cause 2
Batman: Arkham Asylum

In order to find out where EVGA's Hydro Copper FTW GTX 480 stands in the land of high end graphics, we put it up against a trio of heavy hitters. For reference, we tested an EVGA GTX 480 in stock form to go along with a couple of serious ATI competition. Gigabyte's Super Overclock HD 5870 is ATI's fastest single GPU videocard, while the XFX HD 5970 Black Edition is a slightly overclocked version of ATI's top card. Without a doubt, the four cards we're comparing in this article represent the some of the most powerful models available from both ATI and NVIDIA.

Keep in mind while looking at our results, we ran benchmarks with every setting as close to being maxed out as possible to see how well the graphics cards could handle them. In most cases, this means anti-aliasing (AA) set to 8x and anisotropic filtering at 16x, at a demanding resolution of 2560 x 1600. Some of the games we use offer higher levels for NVIDIA cards like the GTX 480, but we find 8x AA / 16x aniso to be the max for ATI cards. Textures, shadows, and all other image quality settings were locked in at their highest settings, with V-sync disabled.


Unigine Heaven v2.0 Benchmark
Synthetic DirectX 11 Gaming

Unigine Heaven

The Unigine Heaven Benchmark v2.0 is built around the Unigine game engine. Unigine is a cross-platform real-time 3D engine, with support for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL. The Heaven benchmark, when run in DX11 mode, also makes comprehensive use of tessellation technology and advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion), and features volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm and a dynamic sky with light scattering.



For Unigine Heaven v2.0, we were forced to dial down the settings a bit in order to complete the benchmark. Even with all this heavy duty hardware, we could not conquer this particular test at maximum settings and get smooth fraterates. Here, we find EVGA's Hydro Copper FTW GTX 480 trailed the HD 5970 by only 2 frames per second, a 6% disparity. That's impressive considering the HD 5970 is packing two ATI Cypress GPU's compared to one NVIDIA Fermi chip. Also worth noting is the fact it recorded a much higher minimum FPS during our Heaven 2.0 testing.

Related content