TechSpot: Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 Review, Fermi Arrives

Two years later, Nvidia is finally ready to unveil a new piece of graphics silicon aimed at consumers and the enthusiast crowd based on its latest Fermi architecture. The GeForce GTX 280 was the company's last big launch that comprised of innovative technology, at the time rewriting the record books as the fastest single-GPU graphics card. Besides the dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 that went on sale months later, anything after the GTX 280 has been a rehash of the same GT200b graphics core.

The company battled it out against the ATI Radeon HD 4800 series for a while, but long story short, last September ATI was already shipping brand new parts that were faster and more efficient, while Nvidia wasn't giving out any specific details on Fermi. These new Radeons became the first products to steal the performance crown away from Nvidia in a long time, and they did so in a very convincing fashion.

Nvidia's new Fermi architecture is debuting with the GeForce GTX 480 and GeForce GTX 470 graphics cards. Designed to be the next evolution in GPU computing, we are excited to see what these new boards are capable of, and whether or not they'll be able to bring Nvidia back into the spotlight.

Read: Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 Review, Fermi Arrives

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well it's not as appealing as i think it should be but in some extreme cases according to the tom's hardware review, it's in the same ballpark as the 5970(i think that's the double chip ati card).

didn't read this particular review, but in the tom's hardware review it out did the ati equivalent, but not by enough to really make it worthwhile imho.

i prefer nvidia cards since my last high priced ati card didn't make it past 6 months around 3 years ago, but i'm a bit hesitant to shell out the cash for a 480 with those temps.

not to mention they aren't listed on Canadian web vendors yet

I honestly do not care about these new cards in regards to purchasing them at this price, but I do look forwards to the 200 series cards dropping in price so that I can purchase one. I also watched a video where the 470 ran at 93 degrees full load--really?

grewnd33 said,
I honestly do not care about these new cards in regards to purchasing them at this price, but I do look forwards to the 200 series cards dropping in price so that I can purchase one. I also watched a video where the 470 ran at 93 degrees full load--really?
yeah several reviews had the 480 running at 95C i find that to be insane... like i have seen others say wait for aftermarket coolers or liquid cooling then it would not be a issue.. although i still do not care for the power consumption around same as a 5970 that is crazy not saying it is a bad card but if the power consumption and heat was lower it would be great

Edited by ShiFteDReaLitY, Mar 28 2010, 8:48pm :

I agree with those saying that all these fresh reviews at different sites had them thinking about buying an HD 5870. I currently have an "ancient" 8800GTS 320mb that still can run all the games at 1680x1050 with pretty much all the eye candy (few and minor exceptions).

I am/was waiting for nvidia to release their new gpu's but I think that they dropped the ball in the power/heat/noise department and surely they will loose in there, still with matured drivers down the road.

It would be interesting to learn how CUDA and DXVA perform with the new cards. I will wait other few months (and reviews for the GTX 470) to make a decision and upgrade my current card.

Not surprised that the new GeForce got it's arse kicked before it even hit the shelves, Nvidia have really lost the plot in recent years. hopefully they lift their game soon. I'm a long time Nvidia user and love my (aging) GTX 260 but if Nvidia are going to keep letting ATI beat them like a drum, my next machine could have an Radeon.

I think that this'll end up alot like the last generation battle. In a year or so, Nvidia will release a 495 dual GPU card which outperforms the 5970 by 10 or so FPS in every game, but costs an extra 200$. Then ATi would be stuck in the middle again, although still being the best solution.

Recon415 said,
I think that this'll end up alot like the last generation battle. In a year or so, Nvidia will release a 495 dual GPU card which outperforms the 5970 by 10 or so FPS in every game, but costs an extra 200$. Then ATi would be stuck in the middle again, although still being the best solution.
And in one year ati will have done no work on a new card? Wtf do they just sit around and do no nothing? I'm sure if they have one year they could come up with something LOLOLOL u fail

How did gaming suddenly become more about graphics card then the actual game you play in the last 10 years? Dam I need to get out more.

djpailo said,
How did gaming suddenly become more about graphics card then the actual game you play in the last 10 years? Dam I need to get out more.

True, I have a powerful computer, but most of the time I play on lower graphics just because I like the simplicity.

Minimoose said,

True, I have a powerful computer, but most of the time I play on lower graphics just because I like the simplicity.
LOL... you got me giggling... your sarcasm was too obvious lol

Edited by Krome, Mar 28 2010, 7:20am :

djpailo said,
How did gaming suddenly become more about graphics card then the actual game you play in the last 10 years? Dam I need to get out more.

10 years you say? I remember everyone being massively excited when the first GeForce came out. Nothing has changed. Apart from that the people I know who play games talk about games all the time. And every few months about hardware.

Im an Nvidia fanboy and this is somewhat sad, hopefully the dual-card version of this will have alot lower power and give 2x the results. Else my next purchase may be from ATi

Not too impressive really, especially considering the power consumption they rack up. It seems that ATI are ahead of nVidia with their current GPU tech.

Having said that I'd still stick with nVvidia purely because they seem to be more reliable when it comes to games. There's been a few instances in recent times of games being released that had major issues with ATI hardware. In most cases they were patched but it shows that some game devs don't code with ATI in mind. Plus, ATI lacks any kind of PhysX compatibility. So it's not all about benchmarks. Still, I'd like to see nVidia up their game a bit. It feels like they've been taking things for granted lately.

protocol7 said,
Not too impressive really, especially considering the power consumption they rack up. It seems that ATI are ahead of nVidia with their current GPU tech.

Having said that I'd still stick with nVvidia purely because they seem to be more reliable when it comes to games. There's been a few instances in recent times of games being released that had major issues with ATI hardware. In most cases they were patched but it shows that some game devs don't code with ATI in mind. Plus, ATI lacks any kind of PhysX compatibility. So it's not all about benchmarks. Still, I'd like to see nVidia up their game a bit. It feels like they've been taking things for granted lately.


how can physx work on ATI if Nvidia designed it to work with Nvidia cards only?

Next to that, Physx is not THAT impressive, and i remember playing that free running game with that japanese chick that had Physx, which worked well on my ATI card.

Great cards, but very over priced.
For the same sort of money, you can use 2x5850's which would wipe the floor with performance.

barteh said,
Great cards, but very over priced.
For the same sort of money, you can use 2x5850's which would wipe the floor with performance.

I agree with you there.

barteh said,
Great cards, but very over priced.
For the same sort of money, you can use 2x5850's which would wipe the floor with performance.
ATI has to be laughing a little. The new Nvidia cards just made their line look more interesting. I haven't owned an ATI card in easily 8 years, but the 5870/5850 look very attractive now for my next GFX upgrade.

zeke009 said,
ATI has to be laughing a little. The new Nvidia cards just made their line look more interesting. I haven't owned an ATI card in easily 8 years, but the 5870/5850 look very attractive now for my next GFX upgrade.

My thoughts exactly. I will admit im a nVidia fanboy, but wow, the power, heat that goes with buying one of these... no thanks. maybe the 2nd generation of these bad boys will solve these problems, if not, im switchin to ATI for my next GPU upgrades.

barteh said,
Great cards, but very over priced.
For the same sort of money, you can use 2x5850's which would wipe the floor with performance.

Actually in the review two 5770 beat the 480 in most tests.

I think many of you fail to look at the details of many reviews. Nvidia's new cards are tested on beta drivers as in Baby drivers considering ATI's were matured even if they didn't use the current 10.3's that were released a few days ago. Give Nvidia some time to mature the drivers and you will see that the 480's will far out perform anything ATI currently has on the market. Even now the tests are pretty darn close so again give the drivers some time to mature and you will see Nvidia take the top spot with these cards.

sava700 said,
I think many of you fail to look at the details of many reviews. Nvidia's new cards are tested on beta drivers as in Baby drivers considering ATI's were matured even if they didn't use the current 10.3's that were released a few days ago. Give Nvidia some time to mature the drivers and you will see that the 480's will far out perform anything ATI currently has on the market. Even now the tests are pretty darn close so again give the drivers some time to mature and you will see Nvidia take the top spot with these cards.

Oh really...? Don't think so. I think ATI will continue to be thr thorn in NVIDIA side.

sava700 said,
I think many of you fail to look at the details of many reviews.
No, you do. New drivers won't change the horrible energy consumption and the fact that Fermi is very expensive to manufacture. nV has more problems on their hands than performance which actually is the only thing that's pretty okay. Also don't forget the release was pushed back many times. nV had time to optimize their drivers.

sava700 said,
I think many of you fail to look at the details of many reviews. Nvidia's new cards are tested on beta drivers as in Baby drivers considering ATI's were matured even if they didn't use the current 10.3's that were released a few days ago. Give Nvidia some time to mature the drivers and you will see that the 480's will far out perform anything ATI currently has on the market. Even now the tests are pretty darn close so again give the drivers some time to mature and you will see Nvidia take the top spot with these cards.

No.

Digitalx said,

No.

Your response of just "No" means nothing... wasting bandwidth and time. Read more than just one review too. Most are again using new drivers against a already mature ATI driver thus your going to see a slight bit more in performance from the ATI cards when Nvidia obviously has the leg up and will soon have both legs up over ATI. However, I feel like as I type this I'm doing nothing more than wasting my time too since it is likely your a ATI fan boy and won't turn a cheek the other way even if slapped.

sava700 said,

Your response of just "No" means nothing... wasting bandwidth and time. Read more than just one review too. Most are again using new drivers against a already mature ATI driver thus your going to see a slight bit more in performance from the ATI cards when Nvidia obviously has the leg up and will soon have both legs up over ATI. However, I feel like as I type this I'm doing nothing more than wasting my time too since it is likely your a ATI fan boy and won't turn a cheek the other way even if slapped.

If anyone is being a fanboy here, it's you.

Fermi has more problems than driver release can fix, and it shows.

sava700 said,
However, I feel like as I type this I'm doing nothing more than wasting my time too since it is likely your a ATI fan boy and won't turn a cheek the other way even if slapped.

Nvidia fanboy?

I have used both Nvidia and ATI, at the moment I'm using an Nvidia but ATI you have to admit, 'ATI > Nvidia' at the moment. I would much rather get a 5870/5850 as my next card rather than one of these new gimped Nvidia cards (then again, ATI have never had very good drivers in my experience, but there are always pro's and cons).

Minimoose said,
I have used both Nvidia and ATI, at the moment I'm using an Nvidia but ATI you have to admit, 'ATI > Nvidia' at the moment. I would much rather get a 5870/5850 as my next card rather than one of these new gimped Nvidia cards (then again, ATI have never had very good drivers in my experience, but there are always pro's and cons).

it's a shame cuda beats whatever the heck ATI has in the same space. Or at least, seems that way from performance of third party apps.

sava700 said,

Your response of just "No" means nothing... wasting bandwidth and time. Read more than just one review too. Most are again using new drivers against a already mature ATI driver thus your going to see a slight bit more in performance from the ATI cards when Nvidia obviously has the leg up and will soon have both legs up over ATI. However, I feel like as I type this I'm doing nothing more than wasting my time too since it is likely your a ATI fan boy and won't turn a cheek the other way even if slapped.

Yeah I am, nothing new there most people know I am for good reason. However, you're thinking that drivers maturity can actually effect performance on a noticeable level the gains are within the 1-2% increase/decrease at driver level which isn't even noticeable by a person unless informed. Sooner you understand that and the fact that drivers can't fix hardware problems the easier to accept the steaming power hungry vacuum cleaner this is.

dotf said,

it's a shame cuda beats whatever the heck ATI has in the same space. Or at least, seems that way from performance of third party apps.

lol well with lack of knowledge or understanding, sure maybe it does cause it's only thing you know about yes ?

sava700 said,
I think many of you fail to look at the details of many reviews. Nvidia's new cards are tested on beta drivers as in Baby drivers considering ATI's were matured even if they didn't use the current 10.3's that were released a few days ago. Give Nvidia some time to mature the drivers and you will see that the 480's will far out perform anything ATI currently has on the market. Even now the tests are pretty darn close so again give the drivers some time to mature and you will see Nvidia take the top spot with these cards.

This is what people say everytime a new card is relased.

Yet i've never seen that much of a difference with more mature drivers (from both ATI and nVidia). The card might get 3 maybe 5% boost but more would be surprising.

Will not be that hard for ATI to come with a 5890 card with higher clock than 5870 and doing as good as the 480 for the same price.

Edited by LaP, Mar 29 2010, 5:54pm : typo

yowan said,
ATI series 5000 are much better and chaeper

Maybe so, but NVIDIA are the innovators. ATI are the copy-cats.

Meph said,

Maybe so, but NVIDIA are the innovators. ATI are the copy-cats.

sorry what? ATI copy cat? lol that's why they are behind nvidia for the last 2-3 years?

right? right? haha

Meph said,

Maybe so, but NVIDIA are the innovators. ATI are the copy-cats.

Tessellation was in ATI cards 9 years ago (starting with R200 cards such as Radeon 8500)
ATI implemented DirectX 10.1 and DirectX 11 long before the lazy nVidia.
nVidia was very slow to develop drivers for Vista. They were late and crashed a lot. nVidia also forced Micorosft to weaken driver specifications that would have moved all video drivers to the user-mode and prevent BSODs.
nVidia was slow even in PCI-Express adoption (they just slapped AGP-to-PCI-E bridges on their cards)

*someone who used only nVidia's cards but will switch*

Meph said,

Maybe so, but NVIDIA are the innovators. ATI are the copy-cats.

Ahem. Where do you think the standard for multi-monitor gaming came from? Certainly not "3D Vision" (answer: Eyefinity). Who had the first DX10.1 and DX11 cards? Certainly not Nvidia. Nvidia might be the first to do radical architecture changes but it's ATI who adopts the changes to new fab processes (smaller dies) first (see: Radeon HD 4770). Also who implemented GDDR5 into their video cards first? ATI with their HD 4870 of course.

There is a lot of things ATI has done first so I don't see how ATI are the copy-cat and I'd say the same about Nvidia as well. What Nvidia does seem to like to do is create proprietary technologies that gives them the upper hand by lobbying developers/companies into using them. If that is what you mean by innovation then leave me out!

svnO.o said,

Ahem. Where do you think the standard for multi-monitor gaming came from? Certainly not "3D Vision" (answer: Eyefinity). Who had the first DX10.1 and DX11 cards? Certainly not Nvidia. Nvidia might be the first to do radical architecture changes but it's ATI who adopts the changes to new fab processes (smaller dies) first (see: Radeon HD 4770). Also who implemented GDDR5 into their video cards first? ATI with their HD 4870 of course.

There is a lot of things ATI has done first so I don't see how ATI are the copy-cat and I'd say the same about Nvidia as well. What Nvidia does seem to like to do is create proprietary technologies that gives them the upper hand by lobbying developers/companies into using them. If that is what you mean by innovation then leave me out!

1) Physx.
2) SLI
3) Cuda.

RealFduch said,

Tessellation was in ATI cards 9 years ago (starting with R200 cards such as Radeon 8500)
ATI implemented DirectX 10.1 and DirectX 11 long before the lazy nVidia.
nVidia was very slow to develop drivers for Vista. They were late and crashed a lot. nVidia also forced Micorosft to weaken driver specifications that would have moved all video drivers to the user-mode and prevent BSODs.
nVidia was slow even in PCI-Express adoption (they just slapped AGP-to-PCI-E bridges on their cards)

*someone who used only nVidia's cards but will switch*

yet ATI's drivers are still complete and utter garbage in comparison to nvidia's. I bought an ATI card ~xmas(Rad 4890) to upgrade my old 8800..and i gotta say that even though the 4890 is fast, the drivers just make it unpleasant. No user profiles is just insulting, considering theyve been on nvidia cards since what..the 6000 series? I know that ATI revamped their driver program now, but but almost every month since ive had this card theyve released followup drivers after monthly releases to fix bugs so that new titles work properly. Its pretty sad, but their new driver program looks promising, such as regular mobile updates. Though i think in the end well get more rushed and lower quality drivers as a result of this rush.

Neoauld said,

yet ATI's drivers are still complete and utter garbage in comparison to nvidia's. I bought an ATI card ~xmas(Rad 4890) to upgrade my old 8800..and i gotta say that even though the 4890 is fast, the drivers just make it unpleasant. No user profiles is just insulting, considering theyve been on nvidia cards since what..the 6000 series? I know that ATI revamped their driver program now, but but almost every month since ive had this card theyve released followup drivers after monthly releases to fix bugs so that new titles work properly. Its pretty sad, but their new driver program looks promising, such as regular mobile updates. Though i think in the end well get more rushed and lower quality drivers as a result of this rush.

afaik ATI cards come with Catalyst Control, which has profiles.

I am using NVIDIA graphics card from a long time and NVIDIA really rocks. I am really impressed by your review, looking forward to buy this graphic card for my next PC.

Thanx for the review.

Akash Malik said,
I am using NVIDIA graphics card from a long time and NVIDIA really rocks. I am really impressed by your review, looking forward to buy this graphic card for my next PC.

Thanx for the review.

One post wonder... Right...

Akash Malik said,
I am using NVIDIA graphics card from a long time and NVIDIA really rocks. I am really impressed by your review, looking forward to buy this graphic card for my next PC.

Thanx for the review.


Welcome nvidia employee!

Akash Malik said,
I am using NVIDIA graphics card from a long time and NVIDIA really rocks. I am really impressed by your review, looking forward to buy this graphic card for my next PC.

Thanx for the review.


Enjoy your steaming pile of energy bill.

Akash Malik said,
I am using NVIDIA graphics card from a long time and NVIDIA really rocks. I am really impressed by your review, looking forward to buy this graphic card for my next PC.

Thanx for the review.

Good joke. Enjoy spending 25% more money for 10% more performance and a huge electricity bill.

Sucks for nVidia, but ATI owns this round fair and square.