I've been fairly vocal on the interweb about my opinion on the GTX 400 series. To be honest, though, over the last week or two I've been a complete mess full of all different emotions.
Video cards are my job and I love them (most of the time!). For this reason I'm fairly passionate about releases. My frustration with NVIDIA lately has been immense due to big delays and horrible allocation on samples, but I know once I get the GTX 470 and hopefully GTX 480 in my hands, love it or hate it, I'll be excited.
I'm not sure if I should say we all expected the GTX 400 series to launch in October / November last year, but I can at least say we had hoped. It didn't, though, nor did it launch in December, January or February; it's March now and the launch date is set.
The HD 5870 and HD 5970 are different cards to the ones we looked at in September and November of last year. With a number of driver updates the performance has increased and if NVIDIA worked on beating the numbers these models launched at, they could well be in trouble.
While we understand that the GTX 400 series is more than just a gaming card, for the majority of gamers, that doesn't matter. It's going to mainly get reviewed in games and gamers are going to base their decision on the numbers from the games they play. Great tessellation performance, fast Folding@Home numbers and CUDA support aren't going to help in a lot of the games we play today.
Before we have a look at the GTX 400 series, though, let's take the time to see where the HD 5870 and HD 5970 have come from to where they sit today.