Well, was Fermi worth the wait?
The most anticipated graphics card is rather interesting, and no one can argue the fact that it is the fastest single-GPU card on the market. On the other hand, it is also the most complex piece of graphics silicon that was ever created, and at 3.2 billion transistors it is certainly the most impressive one.
The GF100 is designed for future games based on DirectX 11 specs, and it bets on the importance of DirectX 11 tessellation coupled with a significant geometric performance increase but today it cannot shine. It is faster than any single-GPU card graphics card and performs quite well in new DirectX 11 tests. Compared to the GT200 generation, the new GPU offers several major improvements. Physics processing is now more efficient, as well as ray tracing. Let's not forget tessellation, either.
However, while the state of the art architecture is something to drool over, real life tests and economics work against the GTX 480. In most scenarios it is 20 to 25 percent faster than the HD 5870. On the other hand, AMD's HD 5870 is available for about €330, while the GTX 480 will set you back €450. So, the architecture gets our thumbs up, but the actual card leaves much to be desired. While it is somewhat faster than the HD 5870, it's pricey, hot and it needs quite a bit more power than the HD 5870. The fact that an HD 5970 costs €515 also works against it.
It is possible the GTX 480 will manage to outpace AMD's 5000 series cards by a wider margin in new games, and a 512-shader version could help turn the tables. Although Nvidia is back in the game, it still has a long way to go.