At launch the GTX 480 was plagued with the same issues as the GTX 470. It ran hot and it ran loud; two attributes people don't really want from a video card. The thing is, the GTX 480 can't be going well for NVIDIA. It really seemed like companies didn't want to send samples of the card and it's almost as if they where ashamed of it. Let's be honest here; they probably were. While the performance was nice, the time it took to come to the market meant that the heat it was generating and the noise it was making was unacceptable for most people.
Partners jumped on the GTX 470 quickly, but for some reason didn't seem to bother with the GTX 480. Finally though, we've seen the MSI Lightning make an appearance at MOA 2010 and today the pimping Galaxy version has graced us with its presence.
For me, NVIDIA got the performance of the GTX 480 right. It was faster than the HD 5870, which made it the fastest single GPU video card on the market. That for the company was no doubt a win. Well, Galaxy has taken the time to extend that performance even further and you can see in our TPR graph just how it compares to the HD 5870.
The noise and heat are what Galaxy has managed to kill. The Arctic Cooling cooler is just a beast, and honestly, outside of water cooling I didn't think we would see this card anywhere near 55c under load. Sure, it comes at the cost of an extra slot, but it comes with less noise which is another win.
You're going to pay more for this kind of version and really, we can expect that with the $489 price tag. As with any product, we wish it was cheaper, but with the reference GTX 480 and a lot of HD 5870s sitting around the $449 price tag, the card is priced fairly well. Like most high end cards, it doesn't hold the same value as its mid range counterparts, but that is the cost of owning the faster cards on the market.
If next month we were going to see the launch of the high end 6000 series, I would suggest don't take the leap into the GTX 480 yet. At best, though, it's going to be December it seems for a HD 5870 replacement and that's assuming everything goes to plan. I would prefer to go out today and buy the GTX 480 Super OC from Galaxy which is damn fast and enjoy the glorious FPS now.