Gigabyte GTX480 SOC Review
Sometimes we have to eat our words, and today is one of those days.
When MSI released the GTX480 Lightning we were completely shocked by how amazing it was and what a turn-around MSI had managed to make on the beleaguered Fermi chip. From an under-performing heat-monster into just a monster, we couldn't imagine anyone bettering it, especially with whispers of the GTX580 due for release.
Gigabyte though have done exactly that.
At stock the Gigabyte GTX480 Super Over Clock is better than the Lightning in performance terms, often being near to the MSI when it was overclocked. The numbers across the board were gaudy. Considering the much improved and more expensive GTX580 gets 13000 3D Extreme Marks, then 12000 Extreme Marks from the architecturally inferior GTX480 is stunningly impressive.
It's not just stock though. If anything the Overclock performance is even better. Both cards were overclocked to overclocked to 900MHz and the GTX480SOC consistently outperformed the Lightning in every benchmark we ran.
The Cooler is equally impressive, keeping the card cooler than the Lightning at a slower fan-speed. It also seems more consistent as the difference between the Stock and OC temps of the Gigabyte was only 10°C compared to 19°C different on the MSI.
All this without mentioning the improved power-phases, the dual-BIOS system that allows you to overcome any cold-start issues if you're a fan of Liquid Nitrogen, or the outstanding OC Guru which vastly reduces the power-draw of the card.
Pricing is unavailable but looking at the US pricing and comparing it to the current UK pricing we should see the SOC hitting the market at around £350-360. So you get a card that might be based upon the "older" GF100 core but is blisteringly fast, cool, quiet, and has all the features you could possibly desire.
Even if the GTX580 has got you tempted, the GTX480 Super Over Clock is impressive enough to make you rethink and put something else top of your shopping list. The OC3D Gold Award exists for products like this and kudos to Gigabyte for absolutely nailing everything we look for.