Fermi Arrives - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480


Test Setup

Test Setup

To see how the new GeForce GTX 480 matches up, we'll be using an Intel X58 and Core i7 setup with the following specifications:

Intel X58 Test System:

  • 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

Obviously, the GeForce GTX 480's main rival is ATI's Radeon HD 5870, and we'll be paying close attention to how the two cards perform. Another key point of interest is how much faster the GeForce GTX 480 will be compared to the older GeForce GTX 285. With all the improvements that NVIDIA claims, it'll be intriguing to see what it translates to in actual frames per second. That aside, we've also included other high-end cards such as the Radeon HD 5970, HD 5850 and the GeForce GTX 295, to see just where the GeForce GTX 480 stands amongst its high-performance peers.

The full list of cards tested and drivers used are as follows:

  • 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)
  • ATI Radeon HD 4890 (Catalyst 10.2)

We've also tweaked our suite of benchmarks a little. Three new inclusions are the immensely popular Battlefield Bad Company 2, the Heaven benchmark from Unigine, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. These three new benchmarks were included because they take full advantage of DirectX 11, allowing us to see how the cards cope with the newer DirectX 11 games. We will also test them on DirectX 10 settings to fully discern how the new generation cards compare to the old on the newer DirectX 11 games and also just how much tessellation affects performance.

We have also adjusted our testing resolutions to reflect 16:10 aspect ratio widescreen monitors that are widely (no pun intended) in use today.

The full list of benchmarks used:

  • 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
8.0
Performance
9.5
Features
8.5
Value
7
The Good
Untouchable single-GPU performance
3D Gaming
The Bad
Costly to own and run
Power-hungry
Runs incredibly hot