GeForce GTX 480 SLI Performance Analysis

Test Setup

Test Setup

We'll be testing the cards on our new Intel X58 chipset based system which has the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i7-975 (3.33GHz)
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard
  • 3 x 1GB DDR3-1333 OCZ memory in triple channel mode
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

How does 6.4 billion transistors, 960 CUDA cores, 3072MB of frame buffer, and over US$1000 worth of graphics processing power sound to you?

Apart from seeing how two GeForce GTX 480 cards will perform as opposed to one, we will also be looking closely at how it compares against the Radeon HD 5970, which is still holding on to its title of the world's fastest single graphics card. We'll are also curious to find out what power consumption readings and temperature readings will be like for such a high-end setup.

Considering two GeForce GTX 480 cards will cost nearly US$1000, we are expecting it to handily beat a single Radeon HD 5970, which costs a slightly more palatable US$599. Naturally, we are also curious how two Radeon HD 5970 cards in CrossFireX will match up against this dual GeForce GTX 480, but keeping in mind that two Radeon HD 5970 cards will come in at a whopping US$1200, we'll save such a comparison for the near future in a separate article. Perhaps one that is an all-out shootout featuring two Radeon HD 5970 cards in CrossFireX and dare we even mention it, 3-way GeForce GTX 480 SLI? Should be interesting. For now, we're clearly focused on the gains from taking the SLI route with the GeForce GTX 480.

In the meantime, this is the full list of cards and their driver versions used:

  • 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 in SLI (ForceWare 197.17 Beta)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 (ForceWare 197.17 Beta)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 (ForceWare 196.21)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 (ForceWare 196.21)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5970 (Catalyst 10.2)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5870 (Catalyst 10.2)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5850 (Catalyst 10.2)

The list of benchmarks are as follows:

  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
  • Crysis Warhead
  • Far Cry 2
  • Warhammer: Dawn of War 2
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2
  • "Heaven" from Unigine
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
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