Conclusion: Nvidia's first DirectX 11 video card has been a long time in coming and it's not quite worth the wait. Though it's the fastest card on the market by a hair, its performance gains don't entirely justify its price.
Pros: Fast performance. Supports DirectX 11. Enables 3D Vision Surround with appropriate hardware.
Cons: Expensive. Power-hungry. Does not markedly outperform competing cards.
Conclusion: As we understand it, Nvidia will already be selling the GeForce GTX 480 well below its intended price at $499. At this price point the card will be some ~$100 more expensive than most Radeon HD 5870s . On average when Nvidia's new flagship managed to outperform the Radeon HD 5870 it was around 16% faster, yet we are not sure gamers will want to pay a 20% premium for this.
Conclusion: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete.
Pros: Fastest single-unit DX11 graphics accelerator available, Best price-to-performance cost ratio, GF100 Introduces Error Correcting Code (ECC), Outstanding performance for ultra high-end games, Fan exhausts all heated air outside of case, Includes native HDMI audio/video output, Adds 32x CSAA post-processing detail, Supports triple-SLI functionality
Cons: Consumes 52W at idle and 370W under full load, Extremely hot under normal operation, Very expensive premium-level product, Cooling fan is loud under load
Summary: The first comparable thing to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 that comes to the mind are the powerful yet gas-guzzling SUVs that are used for cross-country drives with heavy loads, comfortably. Often stereotyped with fuel-inefficiency, those vehicles don't compromise one bit on performance, space, passenger comfort, loads of accessories, utilities and features. Same is the case with GeForce GTX 480. The card sports solid overall build quality.
Pros: Fastest single GPU card to-date, DirectX 11 support, Substantial performance improvements in DirectX 11, GDDR5 memory, Software voltage control seems possible, Native HDMI output, Support for NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround, Support for CUDA, PhysX and 3D Vision, Improvements to integrated HDMI audio device
Cons: High power draw, Noisy cooler, High temperatures, Fairly high price, Paper launch, High temperatures and power draw makes SLI and triple SLI difficult, Limited availability, Only 480 shaders, DirectX 11 won't be relevant for quite a while
Summary: Before we begin summing the GeForce GTX 480 up, here is a quick break down of the 2560x1600 results in comparison to the Radeon HD 5870. The GeForce GTX 480 was 16% slower in Battlefield Bad Company 2, 13% slower in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat and 5% slower in Wolfenstein. The GeForce GTX 480 was only slightly faster when testing with Batman Arkham Asylum winning by a 4% margin, just 1% faster in Resident Evil 5, 9% in Dawn of War II, 10% faster when testing with...
Summary: NVIDIA has been slipping behind in the now famous DirectX 11 race since the launch last fall and the rumors have been endless ever since. Doomsday prophets have deemed the architecture beyond rescue, while others claim the GeForce GTX 400 series will make the world a better place with less wars, more drinking water and a cure for cancer.