ZOTAC GTX480 Review
The big technological leap that nVidia are advertising for this generation of cards is Tessellation, which is the ability to smooth out polygons without increasing the amount of them built by the 3D artist. This should lead to far greater performance scalability without sacrificing detail as can be seen from the shot below. Although the dragon greatly improves in quality the surrounding rocks remain the same.
Rather than have to hunt around the latest games in an attempt to find something that will demonstrate the usefulness of Tessellation in a non-benchmark environment, nVidia have kindly supplied a comparison screenshot of Metro 2033.
We've all had a good look, so if any of our readers can spot some jaw dropping difference we'd love to hear it, because we can't.
Unigine is a very recent benchmarking suite that will test your DirectX 11 card to the limits. We're going to use it to test how well the ZOTAC GTX480s much vaunted Tessellation feature works in practise.
Firstly we will run with Tessellation set to normal with 0 and then 8xMSAA.
With anti-aliasing off the HD5870 can just about keep up with the stock GTX480 but once it is overclocked towards its expected speed the ZOTAC GTX480 really annihilates the Radeon.
Once anti-aliasing is ramped up to 8xMSAA the ability of the GTX480 to tesselate really comes into its own as it spanks the Radeon comprehensively.
Leaving the overclocked card aside for a moment, as it clearly has the upper hand, Tessellation was set to Extreme and the tests were run with the cards at their default speeds. Any doubts about how much of a benefit Tessellation could be are instantly demolished.
Let's hope that the game coders take full advantage of it.
And finally to see the how much raw power we have available with the ZOTAC, we ran with Tessellation disabled. The brute horsepower of the GTX480 still wins out.