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!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Some Radeon RX Vega graphics cards will be faster than the Frontier Edition
- Nvidia quietly launches the GeForce GT 1030, a Radeon RX 550 rival with a modest price
- AMD's first Radeon Vega graphics card isn't for you, and gamers may be waiting a while
- AMD's Ryzen Mobile chips are ready for liftoff, with the new Ryzen Pro not far behind
- It's official: AMD's Threadripper will bring a 16-core, 32-thread monster to the desktop
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.
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Moto G5 smartphone: 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 Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTPerformance Management SMENSW
- FTSenior Microwave Transmission EngineerNSW
- FTDisaster Recovery AnalystNSW
- CCDesigner - Salesforce Marketing CloudVIC
- FTReport Developer and Visualisation AnalystQLD
- FTSenior UX/UI DesignerNSW
- TPPrincipal Data Analyst | ArcGIS | Power BI | QlikQLD
- FTProject SchedulerQLD
- FTMicroservices DeveloperVIC
- CCSharepoint Analyst / DeveloperQLD
- FTPMO CoordinatorVIC
- FTERP Reporting AnalystNSW
- CCProject Manager - Grant managementNSW
- FTEnterprise Architect - Network and TelecommunicationsNSW
- FTSenior Citrix Engineer / LeadNSW
- FTIntegration SpecialistQLD
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- CCProcess Improvement Manager (Black Belt)NSW
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW
- CCNetwork EngineerNSW
- FTBI Developer (SQL Server Reporting Services)SA
- CCSecurity Incident Analyst - Splunk - TelcoVIC
- FTSenior Software EngineerACT