You've got to feel a little bad for some of these NVIDIA partners; you have to wonder how much they knew about the GTX 580. We also wonder what's going to happen with the GTX 480. One would assume that it's going to hang around for a bit as companies like GIGABYTE has thrown a bit of R&D into the creation of the beast we're looking at today, but everything's a little up in the air at the moment.
GIGABYTE got us the GTX 480 SOC nice and quickly, so we don't have a full retail package today. Instead of checking out the box and what's inside it we'll instead be getting stuck straight into the card itself, which as we've already mentioned is the GTX 480 SOC.
If you're not too sure what the SOC series is, it's GIGABYTEs higher end Super Overclock Series which has been fairly impressive since the launch of the series. Concentrating on both high end models and really overclockable midrange ones likes the GTX 460, it's hit the market well and has been quite popular. Today we find out what the series can do for the GTX 480.
The other day we had a look at the GIGABYTE HD 6850 which carried with it the Windforce cooler. Today the GTX 480 SOC we're looking at carries the same series cooler, but the upgraded Windforce 3x which carries with it as you can see, three fans instead of two.
Unlike the MSI Lightning version we looked at recently there's no third power connector here. Instead we've just got the standard 8-Pin / 6-Pin ones. The card PCB is also not extra tall, so you shouldn't run into any problems when it comes to installing it into your PC. Across the top you'll also see we have the two SLI connectors in the event you want to put four of these bad boys together.
Connectivity also doesn't hold any surprises with two Dual-Link DVI connectors and a single Mini HDMI. While we don't have the package on hand, going off the press documents that GIGABYTE sent it looks like a mini HDMI to HDMI cable is included along with the standard DVI to VGA connector.
You may have noticed in the first picture a little button towards the bottom of the card. The GIGABYTE GTX 480 SOC sports a dual BIOS setup and instead of the normal BIOS / back up BIOS setup, we've instead we've got a standard BIOS and an extreme overclocking BIOS. The latter is designed for LN2 users and when the light is red it's in LN2 BIOS mode which helps avoid potential cold bug issues.
Outside of that stuff there are a few other cool things that make this a stand out GTX 480 including a 14 phase PWM design with 12 phases for the GPU and 2 for the memory; the standard has a 6 + 2 setup. There are areas on the card where the GPU Core, I/O, PCI-E and memory voltage can be read.
The SOC is all about the overclock and GIGABYTE hasn't skimped on them, We've got the core clock bumped from 700MHz to 821MHz, and this has pushed the Shader clock from 1400MHz to 1641MHz.
The memory has also been clocked north moving from 3696MHz QDR to a more rounded 3800MHz QDR. We should really see some decent performance out of the model.