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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

3DMark Vantage Performance Tests

3DMark Vantage is a computer benchmark by Futuremark (formerly named Mad Onion) to determine the DirectX 10 performance of 3D game performance with graphics cards. A 3DMark score is an overall measure of your system's 3D gaming capabilities, based on comprehensive real-time 3D graphics and processor tests. By comparing your score with those submitted by millions of other gamers you can see how your gaming rig performs, making it easier to choose the most effective upgrades or finding other ways to optimize your system.

There are two graphics tests in 3DMark Vantage: Jane Nash (Graphics Test 1) and New Calico (Graphics Test 2). The Jane Nash test scene represents a large indoor game scene with complex character rigs, physical GPU simulations, multiple dynamic lights, and complex surface lighting models. It uses several hierarchical rendering steps, including for water reflection and refraction, and physics simulation collision map rendering. The New Calico test scene represents a vast space scene with lots of moving but rigid objects and special content like a huge planet and a dense asteroid belt.

At Benchmark Reviews, we believe that synthetic benchmark tools are just as valuable as video games, but only so long as you're comparing apples to apples. Since the same test is applied in the same controlled method with each test run, 3DMark is a reliable tool for comparing graphic cards against one-another.

1680x1050 is rapidly becoming the new 1280x1024. More and more widescreen are being sold with new systems or as upgrades to existing ones. Even in tough economic times, the tide cannot be turned back; screen resolution and size will continue to creep up. Using this resolution as a starting point, the maximum settings were applied to 3DMark Vantage include 8x Anti-Aliasing, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, all quality levels at Extreme, and Post Processing Scale at 1:2.

3DMark Vantage GPU Test: Jane Nash


Our first test shows the Gigabyte GTX 480 SOC clearly besting all of the single-GPU cards we have in this test. The Radeon HD 5870 card is a factory overclocked PCS+ unit from PowerColor, so it's an Oranges-to-Oranges comparison. In DX10 synthetics, the 1600 stream processors of the top Cypress GPU model had ruled the roost for awhile. All of the dual-GPU pairs beat the fastest single-GPU cards, by a big margin. The GTX 460 SLI combo really stands out here, and you better get used to it... This is a matched pair of MSI Cyclone cards, and they perform very well, even with the mild factory OC of 725MHz on the core. This is where you can see the advantage the GF104 GPU has over the first Fermi chips, which has now been ported over to the GF110 GPU in the new 5xx series from NVIDIA.


At 1920x1200 native resolution, things are much the same as the lower screen size; just the absolute values are lower, the ranking stays the same. BTW, the order of the bars, from left to right is based on current cost of the products. Only the sub-$300 cards seemed choppy at times, as most of them managed to break free from the 30 FPS visual barrier. There is quite a price range represented here, from a low of $210 on the left to a high of $580 on the right. Oddly enough, if you take the e-tail prices and divide them by ten, you get a rough estimate of the frame rate in this benchmark. Unfortunately, the odd man out in that calculation is the GTX 480...

Let's take a look at test #2 now, which has a lot more surfaces to render, with all those asteroids flying around the doomed planet New Calico.

3DMark Vantage GPU Test: New Calico


In the medium resolution New Calico test, the MSI N460GTX Cyclone SLI set does so well that it edges out the AMD HD 6870 CrossFireX pair with standard clocks. Once again, the GTX 480 beats all comers that only have a single GPU to keep warm, but it's just that the GTX460 seems to get a boost from this benchmark. In this test, it takes a $400 graphics solution to get over 30 FPS in this 1680x1050 benchmark, which shows how tough this medium resolution test really is. With two cards running in tandem though, you are well over the hump.


At the higher screen resolution of 1920x1200, the Gigabyte GTX 480 Super Over Clock card, with its substantial factory OC finally hits the wall and just manages to dip below 30 FPS. The GTX 460 SLI set kicks butt one more time, and ties with the HD 6870 CrossFireX pair again. This benchmark suite may have recently been replaced with DX11-based tests, but in the fading days of DX10 it has been a very reliable and challenging benchmark for high-end video cards.

We need to look at some actual gaming performance to verify these results, so let's take a look in the next section, at how these cards stack up in the standard bearer for DX10 gaming benchmarks, Crysis.

Graphics Card


Core Clock

Shader Clock

Memory Clock



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





1.0 GB GDDR5


MSI Radeon HD 6870 (R6870-2PM2D1GD5)





1.0 GB GDDR5


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





1.0 GB GDDR5


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





1536 MB GDDR5




# 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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