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Written by Bruce Normann   
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SOC GV-N480SO-15I
Closer Look: Gigabyte GTX 480 SOC
Gigabyte GV-N480SO-15I Detailed Features
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 GPU Features
Gigabyte GTX 480 SOC Features
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis
DX10: Just Cause 2
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Aliens vs. Predator
DX11: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DX11: DiRT-2 Demo
DX11: H.A.W.X. 2
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: METRO 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
Gigabyte GTX 480 SOC Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
Super Overclock Final Thoughts
Gigabyte GTX 480 SOC Conclusion

Unigine Heaven 2.1 Benchmark Results

The Unigine "Heaven 2.1" benchmark is a free, publicly available, tool that grants the power to unleash the graphics capabilities in DirectX 11 for Windows 7 or updated Vista Operating Systems. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode, emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

The distinguishing feature in the Unigine Heaven benchmark is a hardware tessellation that is a scalable technology aimed for automatic subdivision of polygons into smaller and finer pieces, so that developers can gain a more detailed look of their games almost free of charge in terms of performance. Thanks to this procedure, the elaboration of the rendered image finally approaches the boundary of veridical visual perception. The "Heaven" benchmark excels at the following key features:

  • Native support of OpenGL, DirectX 9, DirectX-10 and DirectX-11
  • Comprehensive use of tessellation technology
  • Advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion)
  • Volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm
  • Dynamic simulation of changing environment with high physical fidelity
  • Interactive experience with fly/walk-through modes
  • ATI Eyefinity support

Gigabyte_GTX_480_SOC_Video_Card_Unigine_Heaven_DX11_4xAA.jpg

Starting off with a lighter load of 4x MSAA, we see the Gigabyte GTX 480 SOC taking the single GPU crown by a large margin. Even in the "normal" tessellation mode, this is a graphics test that really shows off the full impact of this DirectX 11 technology. The Fermi architecture has so much more computing power designated and available for tessellation, that it's no small surprise to see the card doing so well here. The same goes for the GTX 460 SLI combo, which ekes out a first place finish in this test. The HD 6870, with its revamped tessellation engine, gets within striking distance of the HD 5870 in single-GPU mode and nips past it by less than one FPS when they're both in CrossFireX mode. I'm amazed that it does this with only the same number of shaders as the Radeon HD 5830. There is no jerkiness to the display with any of the multi-GPU pairs at this resolution; now that I've seen the landscape go by for a couple hundred times, I can spot the small stutters pretty easily. This test was run with 4x anti-aliasing; let's see how the cards stack up when we increase MSAA to the maximum level of 8x.

Gigabyte_GTX_480_SOC_Video_Card_Unigine_Heaven_DX11_8xAA.jpg

Increasing the anti-aliasing just improved the already convincing performance of the MSI N460GTX Cyclone, relative to all of the other cards. There's no denying that the Fermi chip, in its best interpretation yet: the GF104, is a killer when called upon for tessellation duty. The GTX 480 SOC also gains some in this test; it advances to second place in these rankings, compared to fourth place when we had MSAA cranked down to 4x. Besides the most obvious trend of the GTX 460 SLI grabbing first place more often than not, the other thing I've noticed is a consistent improvement in performance by the GTX 480 when the going gets tough.

In our next section, we investigate the thermal performance of the Gigabyte GV-N480SO-15I GeForce GTX 480 Super Overclock Video Card, and see how well this unusual non-reference cooler works on the GF100 Fermi GPU that is known affectionately as "big and hot".

Graphics Card

Cores

Core Clock

Shader Clock

Memory Clock

Memory

Interface

MSI GeForce GTX 460 (N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC)

336

725

1450

900

1.0 GB GDDR5

256-bit

MSI Radeon HD 6870 (R6870-2PM2D1GD5)

1120

900

N/A

1050

1.0 GB GDDR5

256-bit

PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 (PCS+ AX5870 1GBD5-PPDHG2)

1600

875

N/A

1250

1.0 GB GDDR5

256-bit

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 (GV-N480SO-15I Super Over Clock)

480

820

1640

950

1536 MB GDDR5

384-bit



 

Comments 

 
# geckoTony Hagger 2010-12-27 03:22
All of the 400 seeries cards have major problems with crashing Pc's think before you buy I have just wasted £128 quid on one.
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# RE: geckoServando Silva 2010-12-27 17:22
Really? I have tried several GTX400 GPUs and none of them has crashed my PC. You probably have another other problems.
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# OK,......RealNeil 2010-12-27 09:58
"The GTX 570 does it all for less"
Enough Said,...............
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# RE: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SOC GV-N480SO-15IGeorgeMMM 2010-12-27 22:53
I think it would be better to had the MSIGTX 460 Tallon Attack instead of the MSI GTX460 Cyclone
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# RE: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SOC GV-N480SO-15ITony Hagger 2010-12-29 00:46
Servando Silva Well just on and look up the Nvidia forums and you will see how many people are having problems with the 400 series cards.

I now have an ATI card in and all is fine.

And why would you be trying several 400 cards surley one is enough.
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# RE: RE: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SOC GV-N480SO-15IOlin Coles 2011-01-01 09:59
Tony: there are many thousands of NVIDIA GeForce 400-series video card owners, and some of them will have problems. Even I've had problems. But more often than not, it isn't the video card, it's the software/driver.

Keep your comments on-topic with this article, so they can be published.
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