You might wonder why it's taken GIGABYTE so long to bring the GTX 480 SOC to the market. The reason is that for GIGABYTE it wasn't about just adding an overclock to the card and releasing it with a new cooler. Instead they go to the drawing board and work out how they can make the card better in terms of what features can they add, and don't just attack the performance side of things, but also areas like power draw and noise.
The GTX 480 SOC from GIGABYTE is a beast of a card and the only thing meaner than the performance is the price tag. While some people aren't going to have an issue paying this kind of money, we're not sure how it's going to go now that the GTX 580 is being shown to us, although we're still yet to see that card personally.
GIGABYTE has put a lot of R & D into this product and you can tell. That of course means a higher price tag, but we have to wonder if it has been priced out of the market like possibly the MSI Lightning version because of the GTX 580. Until we know what stock is really like for the new model, we won't know for sure.
GIGABYTE has thrown a really great version of the card at us, though, and the cooler while being a bit loud when it gets into the swing of things is still a very strong performer. We just can't help but feel uncertainty in the air because of NVIDIAs decision to release another new model that carries with it a new series number.
It comes as no surprise that the card carries with it a higher price tag than the standard GTX 480, but it seems clear at $469 the card isn't too bad a buy if you're happy to take it over the more expensive GTX 580 which is at least $100 more expensive. Considering performance is said to be about 15% better when compared to a stock model and the price is more than 20% higher than this overclocked GIGABYTE offering, you can imagine that the card won't have any serious issue selling.
What we do know, though, is that the GTX 580 isn't going to carry the extra feature set that we're seeing on this SOC model; voltage readings, quick switch BIOS and a 14 phase PWM power setup just to name a few. If the GTX 480s life is short lived, let's hope that GIGABYTE can attack the GTX 580 quickly with a similar kind of feature set.