My relationship with the GTX 480 is a bit of a love/hate one. I do love the performance that it offers; you can't deny that as far as single GPU cards go, it's the fastest. On top of that, you throw in things like PhysX which depending on the game are playable when turned on. I hated the heat and the noise that came from the cooler, though, and it's great to see that Galaxy has fixed that.
My feelings towards the Galaxy GTX 480 Super OC is love/ love. Towards the reference design, it continues to be love/hate, though. The last time I overclocked the GTX 480 with extra voltage I had to crank the fan speed up to 100%. Not only did it make my ears almost bleed, but the overclock wasn't as strong as what we've achieved from the Galaxy card here today that didn't have the fan touched. Instead, it was left at the Auto setting the whole time, which resulted in no change in noise levels.
Something you might ask yourself is why you'd bother overclocking such a fast card anyway? Especially when we see that 60 FPS average we want in a lot of the games at a lot of the resolutions we play at. Over the past 12 months we've seen a shift in monitors. The introduction of 120Hz screens that support 3D have brought with them a demand for even more power. Since you're essentially pumping the image out twice, when gaming at 1920 x 1200 in our tests you want to see around the 120 FPS mark in the average department; that will mean that in 3D you'll be seeing around the 60 FPS mark which will continue to offer smooth game play.
The main reason we want 60 FPS is because most LCDs are 60Hz. The introduction of the 3D capable monitors again have offered us 120Hz, which means with VSYNC on if you can achieve a 120 FPS average you'll have a lot smoother game play. What you're getting is back to that CRT smoothness that a lot of gamers miss.
At the end of it all, it seems silly to have a card with such a mean cooler and not take even more advantage of it; especially when the extra power is not costing us more noise, and only a very small jump in heat.
Now, if only I had two of them...