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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

Crysis Performance Tests

Crysis uses a new graphics engine: the CryENGINE2, which is the successor to Far Cry's CryENGINE. CryENGINE2 is among the first engines to use the Direct3D 10 (DirectX 10) framework, but can also run using DirectX 9, on Vista, Windows XP and the new Windows 7. As we'll see, there are significant frame rate reductions when running Crysis in DX10. It's not an operating system issue, DX9 works fine in WIN7, but DX10 knocks the frame rates in half.

Roy Taylor, Vice President of Content Relations at NVIDIA, has spoken on the subject of the engine's complexity, stating that Crysis has over a million lines of code, 1GB of texture data, and 85,000 shaders. To get the most out of modern multicore processor architectures, CPU intensive subsystems of CryENGINE2 such as physics, networking and sound, have been re-written to support multi-threading.

Crysis offers an in-game benchmark tool, which is similar to World in Conflict. This short test does place some high amounts of stress on a graphics card, since there are so many landscape features rendered. For benchmarking purposes, Crysis can mean trouble as it places a high demand on both GPU and CPU resources. Benchmark Reviews uses the Crysis Benchmark Tool by Mad Boris to test frame rates in batches, which allows the results of many tests to be averaged.

Low-resolution testing allows the graphics processor to plateau its maximum output performance, and shifts demand onto the other system components. At the lower resolutions Crysis will reflect the GPU's top-end speed in the composite score, indicating full-throttle performance with little load. This makes for a less GPU-dependant test environment, but it is sometimes helpful in creating a baseline for measuring maximum output performance. At the 1280x1024 resolution used by 17" and 19" monitors, the CPU and memory have too much influence on the results to be used in a video card test. At the widescreen resolutions of 1680x1050 and 1900x1200, the performance differences between video cards under test are mostly down to the cards themselves, but there is still some influence by the rest of the system components.

Gigabyte_GTX_480_SOC_Video_Card_Crysis_NoAA_1680.jpg

With medium screen resolution and no MSAA dialed in, Crysis shows a completely different picture than 3DMark. Unlike many so-called TWIMTBP titles, Crysis has always run quite well on the ATI architecture, and the Radeon HD 5870 is able to vie for top honors in this benchmark. The GTX 460 and GTX 480 are not quite as competitive in this game, at current pricing. The GTX 460 SLI pair could possibly have done better with a massively overclocked version, which is always a potential threat with the little GF104 chip.

Crysis is one of those few games that stress the CPU almost as much as the GPU. As we increase the load on the graphics card, with higher resolution and AA processing, the situation may change. Remember all the test results in this article are with maximum allowable image quality settings, plus all the performance numbers in Crysis took a major hit when Benchmark Reviews switched over to the DirectX 10 API for all our testing. None of the cards are struggling at these low settings, though. You may have noticed that the CrossFireX combinations are missing from these results, and that is because I couldn't get meaningful results with that arrangement. Try as I might, the results were all over the place, and I just didn't trust them. All the single-GPU results were very consistent, like they normally are with this test.

Gigabyte_GTX_480_SOC_Video_Card_Crysis_NoAA_1920.jpg

At 1900 x 1200 resolution, the relative rankings stay the same; the raw numbers just go down. Even with the increased load on the GPU, every card from the HD 6870 on up still gets over the 30FPS hump convincingly. Any of these high-end GPUs can muster up the muscle to play Crysis at high resolution with all the bells and whistles turned on, much to everyone's relief. Can it play Crysis? Yes.

Gigabyte_GTX_480_SOC_Video_Card_Crysis_4xAA_1680.jpg

Now let's turn up the heat a bit on the ROP units, and add some Multi-Sample Anti-Aliasing. With 4x MSAA cranked in, the top cards lose about 5 FPS at 1680x1050 screen resolution but they manage to stay well above the 30 FPS line. In all these Crysis tests, the Gigabyte GTX 480 SOC has managed to do quite well. It even keeps up with the GTX 460 SLI pair, which has the advantage of the second generation Fermi GPU, and 672 CUDA cores between the two of them.

Gigabyte_GTX_480_SOC_Video_Card_Crysis_4xAA_1920.jpg

This is one of our toughest tests, at 1900 x 1200, maximum quality levels, and 4x AA. Only one GPU drops below 30 FPS in this test, which is unbelievable when I think back to the first days of DirectX 10 testing with Crysis. In the middle ranges, the HD 6870 lags the performance leader a bit, and also pushes out the GTX 460 out of the running. Even a massive overclock on the GTX 460 won't come up even with the HD 6870 on this test. I ran the MSI GTX460 HAWK at 950 MHz core clock last month, and it only got 26 FPS at these settings. On this, the toughest of the four benchmark configurations, the GTX 480 SOC finally edges out an overall win and shows its thoroughbred pedigree.

Our next test is a relatively new one for Benchmark Reviews. It's a DirectX 10 game with all the stops pulled out. Just Cause 2 uses a brand new game engine called Avalanche Engine 2.0, which enabled the developers to create games of epic scale and with great variation across genres and artistic styles, for the next generation of gaming experiences. Sounds like fun, let's take a look...

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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