Zotac GeForce GTX 480 graphics card
The Zotac GeForce GTX 480 is NVIDIA's fastest single-chip graphics card
- The best single-chip solution available
The NVIDIA GTX 480 is clearly the best single-chip solution around (although still not fast enough to beat the dual-chip 5970). But is that enough? The problem is that it's very, very expensive. Given the huge heat and power consumption of the GTX 480, the ATI Radeon HD 5970 remains the better choice of the two.
Price$ 784.00 (AUD)
While NVIDIA's new lower-end cards started coming out many months ago, products based around its next-generation GF100 architecture have been far longer in the making. Indeed, even now NVIDIA has held back the fully fledged GF100 – the Zotac GeForce GTX 480 is actually a slightly watered down version of the GF100. But it’s the fastest single-chip NVIDIA card we’ve seen yet – and, for that matter, the fastest single-chip card full stop.
Like ATI, NVIDIA has moved to a 40nm manufacturing process for these chips, but the chips themselves are considerably larger than their ATI counterparts. However, the actual cards aren’t gigantic, and the Zotac GeForce GTX 480 should fit into any decent-sized case – it certainly won’t cause the same problems as the ridiculously long 5970, for instance.
The Zotac GeForce GTX 480 runs very hot though and the power ratings are heady indeed. The GTX 480 theoretically puts out 250 Watts at maximum load – we’ve found the real figure can exceed 350 Watts – the 5870 generates just 188. Even when idle, 47 Watts (almost twice that of the 5870) is a pretty substantial figure. One six-pin and one eight-pin connector will be needed. A few PCs can only support a pair of six-pin connectors, so you’ll need to watch for this. The 480 is a loud card in use, so you’ll really want to be using the computer in which it’s installed room to keep it in.
Both the Zotac GeForce GTX 480 and NVIDIA Zotac Geforce GTX 470 have some rather new approaches to graphics, with better handling of raster operations, enhanced floating point calculations and improved texture units. Not all of this is obvious from the specifications though. A simple measure of Fill Rate, for instance, suggests that the 480 is vastly inferior to the 5870 – 42.0GTps (GTexels per second) rather than the 5870’s 68.0GTps. And even with attention to floating point calculations, on paper the 5870’s figure of 2.72TFlops is twice the GTX 480’s 1.35.
The Zotac GeForce GTX 480 has fewer texture units too, although it does fight back on ROPs. Perhaps more significantly, its memory bandwidth (177.4GBps to 153.6GBps) is much stronger, partly down to the 480’s 384bit memory interface being considerably wider than the 5870’s 256bit alternative. It also helps that this card has a mighty 1536B of GDDR5 memory.
However, in graphics card testing the only figures that really matter are game frame rates. And here the Zotac GeForce GTX 480 feeds the 5870 its ears, pulling off a string of victories that puts the 5870 in its place. Although the Heaven and Crysis tests show leads of just 5-9fps, the 480 wins comfortably everywhere else, beating the 5870 by between 6 and 16fps in Aliens vs Predator, and 25 to 27fps in the high framerate environment of Hawx. The card has more than enough to make short work of DirectX 11, although we didn’t find the 480 to be better at holding its pace in DX11 than the 5870.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- AMD busts Ryzen performance myths, clearing Windows 10 from blame
- Nvidia supercharges GeForce DirectX 12 performance with new Game Ready driver
- Ryzen works with XMP memory profiles
- Beyond smartphones, Samsung wants its Exynos 9 chip in VR headsets
- Nvidia slashes GeForce GTX 1080 prices, reveals new overclocked memory options
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCMigration EngineerACT
- FTOracle eBusiness Functional Consultant. (Procurement)NSW
- FTSenior Desktop Engineer - SCCM / AD / 2012 ServerNSW
- FTTechnical Writer - Reports EditorQLD
- FTSolutions ArchitectSA
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- FTProject Manager, FinanceNSW
- CCFullstack .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT
- FTProject AnalystNSW
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW
- TPAutomation TesterQLD
- FTSenior System/Network EngineerACT
- FTSCOM AdministratorACT
- CCAutomation Test AnalystQLD
- CCBusiness Analyst Team LeadQLD
- CCServiceNow Specialist - Administration and DevelopmentVIC
- FTTechnical Consultant - ApplicationsSA
- FTLinux Systems AdministratorNZ
- TPSenior Performance TesterQLD
- CCSenior Commercial AnalystNSW
- FTSystems AdministratorNSW
- FTFinance AnalystVIC
- FTDevops / Technical Support AnalystVIC