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Direct X 11 by Nvidia

Geforce GTX 480 and GTX 470 reviewed: Fermi performance benchmarks

Nvidia's Geforce GTX 480 and GTX 470 have arrived. PC Games Hardware puts the new DirectX 11 graphics cards to the test.


With a delay of several months and after tons of rumors Nvidia's Fermi architecture has finally reached the retail market. The first cards of the new DirectX 11 generation are the Geforce GTX 480 and Geforce GTX 470. They are targeted for the high-end sector where they have to deal with AMD's Ati Radeon HD 5800 series. PC Games Hardware tests which of the factions can win this face-off.

Geforce GTX 480 and GTX 470 reviewed: The architecture
We have summarized the most important technical specifications of the Geforce GTX 400 series in order to give you a quick overview. All in all a Fermi chip consists of four CPCs - Graphics (or General) Processing Clusters -, six memory controllers including ROPs and Level 2 cache, the Host Interface for communication with the PC as well as a control center which is called Giga Thread Engine. The GF100 has three billion transistors - about 40 percent more than Ati's Cypress chips with 2.15 billion. Each GPC has its own Rasterizer, a geometry unit called Polymorph and four Shader multi processors with 32 ALUs/16 TMUs each. The memory interface is 384 bit wide.

For the launch of the Fermi architecture Nvidia releases the Geforce GTX 480 and the GTX 470 and a rumor that has been working circles on the Internet lately has been proven to be true: None of the two cards will have a fully-fledged GF100 chip with 512 ALUs. The GTX 480 has 480 Shader Units and 60 Texture Units while the GTX 470 offers 448 ALUs and 56 TMUs.

In matters of clock speeds Nvidia doesn't make big steps in comparison too the predecessor, the GT200. The GTX 480 is running with 700 MHz core frequency and the Shader ALUs are running at 1400 MHz. The GDDR5 video memory has been set to 1846 MHz. Given the fact that the 0.4 nanosecond VRAM used for the card is specified for 2500 MHz it almost seems like Nvidia wants to keep the maximal power consumption down.

Graphics card Geforce         Radeon      
Model GTX 480 GTX 470 GTX 285 GTX 260 8800 GTX HD 5870 HD 5850 HD 5770 HD 4890
Price (Euro) 500,- 350,- 290,- 190,- n.A. 380,- 280,- 130,- 220,-
Market introduction Mar 2010 Mar 2010 Jan 2009 Sep 2008 Nov 2006 Sep 2009 Sep 2009 Oct 2009 Apr 2009
Code name GF100 GF100 GT200b GT200/b G80 Cypress XT Cypress Pro Juniper XT RV790
DirectX-/Shader-Version 11/5.0 11/5.0 10.0/4.0 10.0/4.0 10.0/4.0 11/5.0 11/5.0 11/5.0 10.1/4.1
Process 40 nm 40 nm 55 nm 55/65 nm 90 nm 40 nm 40 nm 40 nm 55 nm
Transistors (Mio.) 3000 3000 1400 1400 681 2150 2150 1040 959
GFLOPS, SP 1344.96 1088.64 708.48 536.54 345.6 2720 2088 1360 1360
GFLOPS, DP 672.48 544.32 88.56 67.07 0 544 417,6 0 0
GPix/s 33.6 24.28 20.736 16.128 13.8 27.2 23.2 13.6 13.6
GTex/s 42 33.992 51.84 41.472 18.4 68 52.2 34 34
Memory bandwidth (GByte/s.) 177.4 133.92 158.976 111.888 86.4 153.6 128 76.8 124.8
Chip frequency (MHz) 700 607 648 576 575 850 725 850 850
Shader ALU frequency (MHz) 1401 1215 1476 1242 1350 850 725 850 850
VRAM frequency (MHz) 1848 1674 1242 999 900 2400 2000 2400 1950



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Author: Spille, Vötter, Sauter (Mar 27, 2010)






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Comments (16)

Comments 13 to 16  Read all comments here!
PsychoticBaklava Re: Geforce GTX 480 and GTX 470 reviewed: Fermi performance benchmarks
Junior Member
31.03.2010 14:35
Seems more of a paper launch than anything else - some information suggests that XFX and others are disappointed by the cost and number of chips they received. Aside the performance and cost, i wonder how many of us will actually be able to see/buy those cards anyway.
dried Re: Geforce GTX 480 and GTX 470 reviewed: Fermi performance benchmarks
Member
29.03.2010 14:35
Great review !
The card isnt quite what i was expecting... but it is powerful nonethless.
fermi usually does a good job of keeping the lowest framerate up. i like that.
ruyven_macaran Re: Geforce GTX 480 and GTX 470 reviewed: Fermi performance benchmarks
Super Moderator
28.03.2010 15:58
Quote: (Originally Posted by spectral)
the load temperatures are very high- mid 90's seems very close to that 105 C threshold. if the card is running in an environment where the ambient temperature is 25-30 C could it run even hotter? or would the fan try and keep it working at around 95?


Considering that they use an extremly powerful fan (much higher Amperes then ATIs standard-Modell since the HD2900XTX) and that the card is far from it's maximum powerdraw in games, I would expect the cooling solution to have ample reserves for nearly any climate.
However, the eardrums of the user might not. extreme.pcgameshardware.d...

also, could there be some type of limited release 480 cards that have a full compliment of 512 cores later on?


Considering the abyssmal yield-rate of TSMCs 40nm process, I wouldn't expect any full compliment designs soon. If they get enough chips overall to satisfy the market, Nvidia might put fully functional ones in store to release an acceptable number of "GTX490" when ATIs HD6 series arrives. Powerdraw might also be an issue. I don't know, wether GF100 is fully powergated (the idle consumption suggest "no"), but if the non used cores are utilizing zero Watts at the moment, then enabling them should result in a noticeable increase of power consumption. Considering the rather low clocks Nvidia is currently using, this might not be the current aim.
However, as both Nvidia and ATI have issued numerous high-draw cards in the past, scoring positive reactions form buyers and with a dual-GF100 supposeldy in the pipeline, such not-to-high-power ambitions might crumble as soon as ATI presents something less efficient then there better-then-average HD58x0. (and a HD5890 or similiar is expected in reaction to GTX480. Considering the considerable higher clocks of current ATI cards, further overclocking should require an noticeable voltage increase, giving Nvidia the opportunity to relase high-powered GF100 without having a powerdraw "way higher" then ATI)

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