|Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SOC GV-N480SO-15I|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Wednesday, 22 December 2010|
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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 Super Over Clock Review
The GeForce GTX 480 got an incredible amount of criticism when it first came out. To be honest, I think a lot of people were just letting off steam at NVIDIA for taking so long! The three biggest concerns were: an architecture that wasn't optimized for gaming, power consumption, and its evil twin - heat. A short while after the release date, vendor cards started appearing that consumed slightly less power and weren't quite so toasty. The consensus was that BIOS tweaks were responsible for the more socially acceptable behavior, but I don't know that anyone has been able to confirm that. Now, at the twilight of the product life for the GTX 480, a few vendors have attempted to put those problems completely to rest. The Gigabyte GV-N480SO-15I GeForce GTX 480 Super Over Clock video card is one of the best examples of that effort, and it represents what the GTX 480 could have, would have, and should have been at its launch.
We've had to wait for the GF110 GPU in the GTX 580 to correct the architectural shortcomings of Fermi for gaming purposes, but at least in the meantime we had the GF104 in the GTX 460 to offer a preview of things to come. The brand new GTX 570 seems to have very similar performance to the GTX 480, so there's going to be some pricing confusion in the marketplace for the next several months as suppliers and consumers decide which one to favor. Given the binning/downgrading scheme that all CPU and GPU manufacturers use to minimize production losses, it doesn't make sense to sell only one model of any chip design. I wouldn't be surprised if production of the GF100 GPU is stopped completely. NVIDIA is still looking at a big gap in performance and price between the GTX 460 series and the GTX570, though. AMD introduced a brand new "tweener" GPU with the HD 68xx series to fill in their product line, and I have to wonder if NVIDIA will follow suit. One alternative is to continue offering the earlier versions of Full-House Fermi at reduced prices.
Until there is a demi-Fermi, if there is one in the offing, the GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480 are the only products left in the gap between the new 5xx series NVIDIA cards and the venerable GTX 460. For the near future there are going to be some old-stock reference cards in the pipeline and the few non-reference designs that made it to production before the 5-series hit. There are a ton of benchmarks out there for the reference GTX 480 already, but let's dig a little deeper and take a complete look, inside and out, at the Gigabyte GV-N480SO-15I GeForce GTX 480 Super Over Clock Video Card. Then we'll run this highly overclocked version through Benchmark Review's full suite of DirectX 9, 10, and 11 tests.
Manufacturer: GIGA-BYTE TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Gigabyte.