Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 Review: Fermi Arrives

By Jos · 107 replies
Mar 26, 2010
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  1. 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. Designed to be the next evolution in GPU computing, we are excited to see what the GeForce GTX 480 is capable of, and whether or not it'll be able to bring Nvidia back into the spotlight.

    Read the full review at:

    Please leave your feedback here.
  2. Regenweald

    Regenweald TS Rookie Posts: 143

    Something that hot should not be in my machine, killing my other parts slowly. Also, what kind of lifespan can you expect from it? Your conclusion is pretty kind. Seems to me that the higher price plus the ridiculous power consumption and heat generated, all for a meager 16% performance increase overall makes for a pretty horrible purchase. This is a *computer component* we are talking about, as tech gets better, should we not see better performance and *less* heat ? Like what Intel and AMD are doing? So heavy gamers have melted cables and random shutdowns due to heat to look forward too?
  3. matchu

    matchu TS Enthusiast Posts: 100

    I am a little disappointed =S as I was expecting a lot out of this card.

    I suppose one could always pay off the price of the video card by saving on their heating/gas bill....
  4. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Hold it. Nvidia hasn't released drivers for the GTX 400 cards and the drivers used are not officially compatible. That could definitely mess with scores. I for one say this should be redone when Nvidia ACTUALLY makes drivers for it.
  5. PaulWuzHere

    PaulWuzHere TS Guru Posts: 271

    Doesn't sound like a very good deal at all to me. High Price + High Power + High Temps + Small gains = AMD/ATI.

    This reminds me a lot of the FX 5800 Ultra, anyone else remember the "dustbuster"?
  6. Regenweald

    Regenweald TS Rookie Posts: 143

    They had 6 extra months to get the drivers right. How much more time do they need ? Redone drivers of not, this baby will still do 85+ degrees under load. Unacceptable.
  7. zillion

    zillion TS Rookie Posts: 51

    Well it is a fast card, but there are a lot of buts....
    Sounds like the roles been shifted, we all remember the 3000 and 4000 series from ATI, they were hotter, more power hungry and a little louder then the Nvidia, and now the roles have been reversed.

    And if the MSRP og 499$ is right, I think the bang for the buck is on ATI tbh.
    Honestly i think Nvidia is putting a tester out, and checking forums to see if ppl will actually pay the 499$ and if all goes against it, they might lower it to a more reasonable level (just speculating)

    But I do sit back with a slight feeling of disapointment tbh, but lets see what MSRP will be and also if the drivers should offer any gains when it becomes available in stores.
  8. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Nice review, I guess nvidia can claim back its single GPU performance crown, but only just... it didn't even beat a 6 month old card in some tests. Still, 60fps in Crysis @ full HD is nice to see.

    The power consumption and temps are insane - it uses more power than a 5970 and I would not happy seeing my GPU idling at 65C either.

    Pricing wise, here in the UK the GTX 470 is selling for £300, the same price as a 5870, while the GTX 480 is selling for £450, which is a 50% premium and only £50 less than the 5970. I don't know if these are a reflection of prices elsewhere in the world but at those pricing points nvidia is in a bit of trouble. Would be interesting to see how the GTX 470 and mid-range cards perform though.
  9. -------- spelling mistake ----------------
    It's fair to say that the GTX 480 is considerably worse AMD's product in terms of efficiency.
    nvidia not AMD <-------
  10. myrmidonks

    myrmidonks TS Rookie Posts: 48

    I'm sorry nvidia, but I am very disappointed. If you are going to try to release a card between the 5870 and 5970 in terms of performance, you must make sure the power consumption and temperature is scaled as well. This is not a card that someone can just put into their computer without upgrades to other components as well (e.g. PSU). I mean a required 600 watt PSU? That is ridiculous for a single GPU card, even one as powerful as this. Maybe the GTX 470 will fare better...
  11. Tizzlejack

    Tizzlejack TS Rookie Posts: 26

    Well, 6 months ago I would have bought this card to get me through the winter without turning my heater on. This is disappointing. I like components that have a good power consumption to performance ratio so this isn't very exciting.

    If this is just a tester, they better make a quick move because there's a lot of anxious people out there like me that have been waiting for nvidia to release these cards. With the prices on ATI already dropping, they're running out of time.
  12. zillion

    zillion TS Rookie Posts: 51

    Yeah i know Tizzlejack, im not trying to defend Nvidia, just looking at the bright side of life :p

    And finally they got rid of that insanely stoopid little Spdif cable u had to run from the mobo to the old 200 series for sound in the hdmi, been mocking quite some friends running gtx295 with a 1$ cable tied to it.
  13. UT66

    UT66 TS Rookie Posts: 143

    It's over guys, with competition like this ATI is never going to lower those prices :(
  14. IvanAwfulitch

    IvanAwfulitch TS Booster Posts: 218   +11

    This doesn't deserve to be called a FERMI card. The FERMI cards were being touted as revolutionary, super powered graphics processing cards capable of so much more than this. The 480 looks like a slightly revamped 295. All it got was a couple of performance tweaks, a name 200 points better, and a new heatsink that barely does anything according to the test runs. Severe disappointment is being had. I don't care if the drivers aren't fully matured or not. A further software tweak isn't going to do much to improve the framerate. It might add a couple here and there, but nothing significant...unless I'm an ignoramus and there's something I don't know.

    If NVIDIA is going to hype up a card series like that, they better deliver. The card is good, yes. But I call BS on their advertising. SHENANIGANS I SAY!
  15. jznomoney

    jznomoney TS Member Posts: 17

    Looks like they are diggin themselves a ditch.
  16. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    All i can say is that Nvidia is a little late since ATI will be releasing a revamp of there cards very soon so even if nvidia gets better drivers it is futile since ati has better pricing and a lot less power draw. i am kinda mad that nvidia took all this time for a 16% increase over the 5870 in most games with a 20% increase in price.
  17. mystic420

    mystic420 TS Rookie Posts: 18

    I will always stick by Nvidia!!! I have 3 BFG GTX275 OC's in my system in SLI. Best gaming investment I ever made! I think and hope, with heat output like this some manufacturer will liquid cool them. That's my next upgrade, liquid cooling, besides I'll get 3 PCI slots back by converting my GPU's to liquid cooling and remove the heat totally from the case. With liquid cooling those temps would be no problem... As for power, well US gamers want all the POWER we can use!!! AR AR AR!!! Also give them a year and see where this card is at then. As far as we all know this could be only the tip of the proverbial ICEBERG!!!
  18. Sounds to me like some of you need to get a better PSU and more efficient internal fans/coolers!! Stop buying the cheap crap!! LMAO!! This card rocks!!! Long live Fermi ! :-D
  19. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    Well, at least the performance was better than many were expecting... And this was without official drivers that will theoretically get that FERMI architecture up and dancing. Still, I can't help cringing at the power/heat specs, Seems like they keep getting hotter while ATi keeps getting more efficient... Not a trend I like to see.

    Now, I know that for a while there was talk of nVidia dropping chipset production, but is that still the case? Would love to see a motherboard with integrated GPU based on this architecture, just to see what it could do as a dedicated PhysX processor :)
  20. HaMsTeYr

    HaMsTeYr TS Guru Posts: 379   +6

    I don't think its the right idea for us to make the adjustments to suit the thermally crap GTX 480... Honestly i think nVidia could've done much better with this. Semi disappointed at the power pull and the heat...

    As technology gets better, things are supposed to get smaller and release less heat... nVidia seems to not get that idea... And what happenned to the days of single slot coolers...

    I'd hate to pass up PhysX but... at this rate ATi has my sale if i decide to get an upgrade.
  21. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    just my opinion but if i were u i would wait until the next nvidia cards come out to upgrade i mean u already have an amazing setup that no game can conquer i mean 3 gtx 275 is just plain sick why would u need anything better?
  22. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    It seems like they just set the bar so unbelievably high and couldn't live up to it. The GTX 480 is powerful but like pointed out its 6 months late, almost $100 more, power hungry & ridiculously hot. Just sad you guys couldn't get a GTX 270 as that card seems to be better off, being around the price range of the 5850 but performing ~10-15% faster. Sadly though it's also a power hog and runs hot. Hopefully this will get the 5850 to finally drop below $300 again closer to its original MSRP of $259, maybe even drop the 5830 too. I'm curious to see what Nvidia has in stores for the mainstream target with the 450, 440 & 430 in a couple of months.

    On a side note lol at wearing gloves =P because those idle temperatures are CRAZY, from the multiple reviews I've read this evening yours is by far the highest @ 65 degrees.
  23. dikbozo

    dikbozo TS Booster Posts: 82

    I guess you own your own power utility or else you live at home with mom and dad. That is an absurd waste of electricity considering the frame rate return. It seems to me that your system will suffer from thermal breakdown due to the extreme heat and airflow levels that will going through your box. Liquid would be a better solution to this. Do you have a window available to hang those radiators out of?

    Perhaps a better idea would be to check the power bill and see how much juice is being used. A Kill-A-Watt unit between your box and the power mains would be a nice wake up call. Bigger, faster, more power isn't a very good solution to anything except towing. A more appropriate examination of your usage would be in line here.

    I can't ever imagine using one of these Fermi cards. Big hot chip using too much electricity to little advantage. I didn't get a Radeon 3850 either. From what I have read about using multiple video cards for gaming it seems to be a 'hotrod' type thing, your neighbor builds one so you have to build a bigger one. Nobody uses them for more than going to the corner store.
  24. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,383   +172

    I've read reviews here and at Anandtech, and I think the 480 is not totally disappointing, and NVIDIA fans should be reasonably happy. The 480 is the fastest single chip card in most benchmarks, the clear winner for dual card, and from what I've seen at Anandtech gets better minimum fps scores than the 5870 by a good margin. I also imagine that there's more room for optimisation in the drivers, because it's a newer card, so there's a chance the gap will grow with time.

    I still think that anyone who wanted a new card last year and waited for Fermi made a mistake, but competition is always good, and I do think this will help ATI's prices drop.
  25. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    I have briefly read the review, and I think at current price / power / performance ratios, I wouldn't touch Fermi based offerings at all.

    For some odd reason, the situation seems bit like Intel in the olden days of P4; more speed and more heat and more power usage is just not the way to go. Yes GTX 480 performs better than ATI offerings, but not convincingly enough in most situations, and if nVidia can get some more juice out of these with more optimized drivers, all ATI would have to do is reduce prices and may be jack up the speeds a bit and that should give nVidia good run for its money. On the price front, I think nVidia's manufacturing issues/cost will hamper its ability to wage price wars with much aggression.

    Anyway, as many pointed out earlier competition is great for us ;) ....... I've choosen ATI 1st time ever for my desktop PC (beside I am just a casual gamer at most); and I am happy with my choice, as I think Fermi based mid-range solutions would offer similar sort of performance at much greater overall TCO.

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