Gainward GTX 480 is without doubt the fastest single-GPU card with many advantages but a few flaws as well. Packing 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory and based on the mighty Fermi core, the GTX 480 brings DirectX and some nice performance to all Nvidians out there.
The juice it packs is enough to beat the HD 5870 in pretty much every test, especially in newer games which feature DirectX 11 effects such as tessellation. Of course, we can’t forget CUDA, PhysX and 3D Vision support - CUDA-based apps are on the rise as parallel data processing using the GPU is becoming pretty popular; PhysX effects indeed improve the realism of games whereas 3D Vision will offer you a new perspective on 3D.
Gainward’s GTX 480 is no different from the reference GTX 480. The card comes with dual slot cooling which does get the job done, but at what expense. Namely, the cooling can get pretty loud and we’d love seeing Gainward’s magic touch on this card, such as the one on Gainward GTX 470 Good card, here.
We used ExpertTool to overclock Gainward’s GTX 480 and the aforementioned tool comes on the driver CD. It enabled us to push the GPU from reference 700MHz to as much as 810MHz without meddling with voltages. Unfortunately, reference cooling isn’t quite intended for such high clocks and runs too loud when at maximum RPM. Idle operation, however, is pretty quiet.
You can find Gainward’s GTX 480 priced at about €490, here, which is the price you’ll have to pay for this high-end prestige. We recommend this card if you want maximum juice, but only if it won’t leave you bankrupt. One thing is certain though – Gainward’s GTX 480 is the fastest single-GPU card around.