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Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 SLI vs. ATI Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire

By Julio Franco · 110 replies
Jun 23, 2010
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  1. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    There should be some sort of captcha (is that what they're called? Those pictures with a stealthy string of numbers hidden?) to prevent spam, shouldn't there?
    Of course, only for the guest since I don't really want to have to deal with it :p.
  2. These cards are meant for DX11 not DX10
    At DX11 the difference does not equate the power and cost
    You don't buy ferraris and then use unleaded gas (if you can find it
  3. If you think this is biased then give us some facts or more information so that we can understand why you feel that way.
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I love walls...but not of text :(.
  5. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    guest, what on earth are you rambling about? that was completely incomprehensible and made no sense whatsoever.
  6. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,836   +1,962

    Wow that is an impressive demonstration of poor English skills and you are right red1776 I did not understand a one word he just said :)

    This thread needs a serious clean up!
  7. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I didn't even bother to read it, but I quote myself!
  8. Why was that big tekst deleter or so called cleaned?

    OC Boy
  9. To all the people claiming they should test 5970 vs 480: Any enthusiast in his/her right mind would not buy a Dual-GPU card. Compared to running 2 of the comparable card (ex: 2 5870s than a 5970), you get more performance, cooler cards, and more overclocking. There are also significantly less bugs.

    On top of that, 4-way under either system scales like total crap. 1 5970 will beat 1 480, for $200 more. 2 480s will beat 2 5970s (4 GPU) for $400 less. 3 480s will obliterate 2 5970s for $100 more.
  10. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,264   +454

  11. why deny what is blatant truth,read any benchmarks,tests or comparisons ANYWERE and tell me were to find a different conclusion?its ridiculously simple,the 480 gtx in sli SLAM the ati 5870 cards in crossfire(dont even mention the silly 5970 its brutally victimized)by an average of 25 to 35% and in metro 2033 by 94%.ati better hope the next round of cards is a little better.they cant live on the fact they were early so everyone assumed theyre better anymore,proofs in the pudding my friend.

    and now the 460 gtx cards are out and they scale wickedly in sli,2 of them flatten a 480 gtx so imagine what they do to ANY ATI CARDS THERE ARE,hint death and ati decapitation by a little 460 gtx.forget about the 5770 being the killer low budget card,theres a new kid in town kicking ***** and takin names everywhere.
  12. Dear sir:

    I'm glad that you pointed out that the 5970 is generally bested by two 5870s in CF. This is due to the fact that the two 5870 chips in it are down clocked to the speed of 5850s. This was down to keep the maximum power requirements down to no more than 300 watts at maximum, which I believe is an ATX power draw standard (?), though I'm not absolutely about it. If others now better, then please feel free to contradict me.

    As for the comparison it was highly informative for me, as I'm thinking of either of these set-ups, largely due to the fact that I was "stupid" enough to have bought a Dell U27711 IPS monitor direct for one heck of a deal, with two more years of warranty. But the "additional" price, aside from the financial differential on the monitor, is that it takes more GPU "horsepower" to drive the thing at its native resolution of 2550x1440, which is why this test was so interesting. I have read that SLi "scales" much better in general that ATi CF, a fact due, I assume, to driver issues. That, of course, can be hopefully rectified by later releases. Maybe SLi has been around longer as well?

    Simply put, it would seem, for now, that because the GTX480 is a faster card out of the box and that Nividia's SLI appears to scale much better compared to CF Nividia takes the win. But the win comes at a cost, namely additional heat, higher power draw, initial cost and noise. Heat and noise are subjective. And power consumption is as well, I guess. I mean, unless you're sitting in front of thing 24/7, I would doubt that it raise your bill that much. But then I don't know for sure. As for initial cost, well, if you're in the market for this, you're probably not begging for spare change.

    And one last thing. I wish that people on these forums would behave themselves a little better. Yes, I realize that some of them are on the young side (I'm 52, though a young one) and thus given to fits of 'roid rage at times, for the lack of a better way of putting it, but it would be better for all concerned if tempers were kept a bit more under control. Jeez! We're talking about VIDEO CARDS people to play GAMES, ladies and gentlemen. As I write this there are some 20 million residents of Pakistan who are being flooded out of life and limb. How about using some their passion for them?

    Rant now concluded. Thank you
  13. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,836   +1,962

    Guest #87 immaturity on the Internet has just become a way of life ;)

    If you are yet to make your graphics card purchase I recommend you stop for a moment and consider a pair of GeForce GTX 460 SLI cards. They are way better value than either setup tested in this review and we will have an article showing off their performance soon.
  14. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

  15. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,264   +454

    Also keep in mind that you can only run a pair of 460s - and as far getting really high performance at that res I'd probably try another card if I were you also. Don't get me wrong, I think the 460s are incredible - but only if I were planning to play at 1680x1050 or if it's for a secondary gaming machine. With the amount of money we're talking about spending on video cards and monitors I have to assume you're a bit spoiled by quality - and at this dollar amount spent on a monitor (the 2711 is an amazing monitor - but a bit out of my current price range) it means you'll be spending on a decent video card as well. I'd go with either multiple 5850s, 5870s, or a 5970 with an additional of the previous cards OR... multiple 480s if you have the power to do so.
  16. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,836   +1,962

    Whats wrong with you mate? Just three?!?! 4 works even better, every frame counts when you are that extreme :D

    Actaully we found quite the opposite at 2560x1600. The 1GB cards which cost less than a single GeForce GTX 480 were much faster at this resolution and in many cases even beat dual Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire cards. The fact that you can only run two means nothing as far as I am concerned. Anyway it is my opinion that if you are spending between $400 - $800 US the dual GeForce GTX 460 (1GB) SLI setup is the way to go.
  17. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,482   +44

    I'm currently in the market for an upgrade. I'll probably go nvidia since they scale a lot better with multiple cards. Not sure if I want anything closer to my raid controller, its already a little toasty.
  18. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

  19. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I very good review, and for once the comments are rather interesting (read comical). :D

    Has definitely persuaded me to go GTX460 now, if they scale in SLI anything like the GTX480's in this review they'll be perfect for me. :D

    P.S. No I'm not a nV fanboi (or whatever it is), I currently use a HD4670! ;)

    P.P.S. I find it very ironic that some people are concerned about power output on high end cards! Someone prepared to spend that sort of money wouldn't be concerned about power consumption - Its a given that you'll be using more power and you accept that for what it is a long time before purchasing those GPU's!
  20. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,836   +1,962

    That's not the whole story though. While I do agree that extreme users could probably not careless, high power consumption does have other consequences. For example added thermal output which can be a problem for those trying to overclock other components, operating volume is also often drastically increased due to the added thermal load.

    Finally a greater demand is placed on the power supply which means better quality more expensive units are often needed, though again as you say extreme users could probably not careless about this either. Still operating efficiency is certainly not something that should be overlooked and its half the reason why I love the GeForce GTX 460 SLI setup. It’s cool, it’s quiet and it overclocks like crazy!
  21. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    While I very much agree with all of the above, I consider those things to be part and parcel of upgrading to such GPUs.

    Its really not something your average joe bloggs, (or gran! :D ) would do, and its a given that those issues will arise. I would also expect the majority of those even considering these GPU's would already have very good cases, which would be required to keep the thermals in check. The same goes for a PSU - I wouldn't expect to see anything other than the best (in terms of reliable output) PSU's powering them.

    I don't consider myself a pro user, and I certainly consider myself a newbie to gaming, but even I expect this sort of GPU performance to add lots of heat (which needs to be addressed with decent cooling/cases etc) and the requirement for a small nuclear power plant inside the case. lol.

    Or did I miss the whole point when I automatically assumed that would be the case? LOL.
  22. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,264   +454

    What I was getting at with my last post is that I'd want the option to go with more than 2 cards - hence my suggestion against the 460 since it can only be paired at the most. Sure, we all know SLI scales incredibly well versus CrossFire, but getting GOOD performance at that resolution with today's most demanding and tomorrow's games you're likely to need at least 2 top end (480/5870/5970) if not more. Even at my resolution (1920x1200) I've found a couple of things that have made me want to upgrade my video setup. Metro 2033 is one of them, though it seem more like a poorly optimized engine than just demanding graphics. In my opinion it doesn't look good enough to be doing this type of damage to my system.

    Also, the concerns I have with power on the 480s are based on having 2-4 of these cards. I currenly use a 1000 Watt PSU and I would never even consider running 3 480s on it and I'd be weary to use 2. If I started having stability issues with 2 then my first thought would be that it's a power issue.
  23. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Its slightly unrelated, but regarding your comment of the GTX460; If you ran 3 GTX460's, two in SLI and the other on its own, would you still get a worthwhile increase using all 3 in comparison to just a pair of GTX460's??

    Can you also use a twin SLI setup, e.g. 4 (2 pairs) of say GTX460's?

    If you can run 4, surely the performance would be comparable to SLI GTX480's?

    I only ask as they seem (GTX460) to run cooler, requiring less juice and overclock well, from what I've read.
  24. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Two cards (GTX 460) is the maximum you can use for SLI (by definition this uses the number of cards used to render alternate frames). The third card (if added) cannot participate in the frame rendering. It can however be used as a dedicated PhysX processing unit (PPU) and of course any number of GPU's/cards can be used if you are running a GPGPU computing program (F@H, SETI@Home etc.)
    No. If nvidia were to release a dual chip (GTX 460 x2) card then it would be possible since each card would have an internal bridge (SLI) chip
    Theoretically yes. In reality quad-GPU, either SLI or CrossfireX is a case of diminishing returns and the gain from four GPU's over three is minimal (at best)
    All correct. I'd also add that they are quieter and chassis airflow is not of such critical importance. If you plan on keeping the card/s for a while there is also the factor of longevity and the 90+°C tempreture of the GTX 480 to take into account. While cards are capable of running at these temps over extended periods of time, it is not unheard of that already hot running cards, with cooling ability gradually eroded by dust accumulation and it's attendant increase in heating/cooling cycle temp delta will cause the cards to fail prematurely.
  25. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Thanks DBZ, for your detailed and easy to read reply. I now understand the whole SLI/CF setup a lot more now.

    I thank you. :D

    One last Q though: How would a dedicated PhysX card compare with a GTX460 doing the job instead.

    P.S. Sorry to go off subject.

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