Galaxy GeForce GTX 480 Super OC 1536MB Overclocked

We see if we can make the GTX 480 Super OC from Galaxy the Super Duper OC by overclocking it further.
| Sep 27, 2010 at 1:55 am CDT
Manufacturer: Galaxy

Introduction and Overclocking

Introduction

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It's really been ages since we looked at a GTX 480 aside from the Galaxy Super OC we looked at the other day which can be found here. Sure, we've had a look at it with a dedicated PhysX card and more recently we looked at it with the latest driver, but when it comes to looking at the card in a standard review, because we only got hold of the one card it's been ages.

Galaxy managed to do a superb job with this GTX 480. The cooler fixes the issues we had seen with the reference card while giving us even more performance. As it's been so long since we've overclocked the model and the fact that the Galaxy version is so much meaner than the reference one, we thought it was time to look at overclocking again.

There's really no point rambling on anymore. Look below to find out what happened with our OC and jump straight to the next page to get into the performance.


Overclocking

Galaxy has already done quite a nice job with the overclock of the card, giving us a 760MHz / 1520MHz / 3800MHz QDR, Core / Shader / Memory setup; this compared to the 701MHz / 1401MHz / 3696MHz QDR setup seen on the reference card. We managed to see a nice bump in performance that clearly separated the card from its reference part.

Bumping the voltage to 1.138v, we managed to achieve not only a good OC compared to what the Super OC offers us out of the box, but a great OC compared to the reference clocks.

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What we ended up with was a core clock of 880MHz, Shader clock of 1760MHz and a memory clock of 4500MHz QDR. This is indeed a very nice increase in clock speeds and higher than the clocks we achieved on the reference GIGABYTE GTX 480. We should see some really good gains thanks to these numbers.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

Today we'll be comparing the Galaxy GTX Super OC at our new overclocked speed against the same card at its default Super OC clocks. We've also got the HD 5870 in for good measure. We've removed the GTS 450 SLI setup that was in the original review, but of course you'll be able to see this setup and more in our final TPR graph towards the end of the article.

Let's get started!


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

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Straight away we see the big boost in clock speeds really help bump up Vantage numbers. Of course, it's only a synthetic test and the most important numbers will be our real world games.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//



New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Heaven also manages to see a really nice boost in performance. Hopefully the numbers we're seeing at the moment translate into some good gains when it comes to our games tests.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/




Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

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In our first game test we see a very nice bump in overall performance. While we're above the averages we want already, no one's going to complain about even more performance.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/





Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS.

The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series. Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target.

Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.

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Across the board we continue to see very good gains from the Galaxy GTX 480 Super OC when overclocked to 880MHz on the core.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here




Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Mafia II is another game that is enjoying the extra MHz on offer. You can see all that extra power helps boost the 2560 x 1600 performance into a very playable level. At stock the card just fell under that 60 FPS average we want. Now we see it's well over it.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/




Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Lost Planet 2 is very intensive and we see the extra MHz on offer does a good job of boosting our FPS. While not quite playable levels at 2560 x 1600, we're still seeing very good numbers across the board.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Again we have another intensive benchmark and you can see very nice boosts across the board, especially when compared to the reference clocked GIGABYTE GTX 480. Unfortunately we're still a bit far from that 60 FPS average at the highest resolution on all setups.

Benchmarks - Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Elezen (Male)
Developer Homepage: http://www.square-enix.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/




Final Fantasy XIV, also known as Final Fantasy XIV Online, is the fourteenth installment in the Final Fantasy series. The game is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and is developed and published by Square Enix. The game takes place in a land called Hydaelyn, mainly in a region named Eorzea, which will have a contemporaneously aesthetic blend of science fiction and classic fantasy elements.

The battle and job systems will be different from the one previously used in Final Fantasy XI, which utilized experience points and level-based progression. Final Fantasy XIV is being designed to utilize a skill-based progression[15] system similar to that of Final Fantasy II. Character races will resemble and allow players to create avatars similar to ones in Final Fantasy XI. Group play has been de-emphasized, and now solo and group play have been balanced. Weapon use will alter "character development".

Note: Final Fantasy XIV gives us a score and not a normal FPS rating, our understanding is that anything around 2000 points or above is considered playable.

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We again see a big boost in performance here and where the GTX 480 and HD 5870 were quite close at stock, we see performance is a fair bit stronger here thanks to the massive core speed.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.streetfighter.com/




While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called "Focus Attacks" ("Saving Attack" for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.

All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, similar to the Street Fighter EX sub-series Capcom produced with Arika. However, there are a couple of key differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.

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SF IV already sees big numbers and the overclock just makes those numbers even bigger. You're not going to have an issue playing this game on this card, or most other cards for the most part.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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Across the board we continue to see nice gains from the Galaxy Super OC GTX 480 thanks to that big overclock that we've achieved.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/





Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

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The extra MHz helps boost performance even further, but across the board we're already well above the minimum numbers we need to see.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

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In our AA tests we see some good increases in performance. The most notable would have to be the Mafia II one. At stock the Super OC managed to scrape just past that 60 FPS average we want. Now we see it's well past it which is great. AVP does continue to struggle, though; it's not much of a surprise as we haven't seen an average over 60 FPS yet with these settings.

Benchmarks - PhysX Tests

PhysX Tests

Here we're able to find out when PhysX is turned on in games that support it what kind of frame rates we're able to get. We always set PhysX to the highest possible in game settings while also keeping detail at its highest.

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Batman performance is boosted across the board and we see a 30 FPS minimum again at all resolutions. Mafia II performance is also boosted, but does fall shy of that 60 FPS average we want. You can see we're right on the edge of it, though.

Temperature Test

Temperature Test



The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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With some extra voltage running through the card it does run a little warmer; but nothing too serious as you can see. Still, exceptionally cool for a GTX 480!

Sound Test

Sound Test



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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The fan seemed to sit no higher than 45%, like it did when it was running at its stock speeds, so noise levels were almost unchanged.

Power Consumption Tests

Power Consumption Tests



Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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The extra voltage naturally increases power draw. It's not a number we're worried about, however, and as we've said in the past, a good 650 Watt+ PSU would easily handle the card.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)

Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and ATI are on an even playing field.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark Vantage, Heaven Benchmark V2, Resident Evil 5, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., Mafia 2 (PhysX Off), Lost Planet 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Final Fantasy XIV, Street Fighter IV, Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off) and our four High Quality tests which include Mafia 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Street Fighter IV and Far Cry 2.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

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Overclocked, you can really see the big boost on overall performance in our TPR graph.

Total Value Rating (TVR)

Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on Newegg.com. In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

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While the model continues to hardly scream value, the extra MHz no doubt does a good job of helping increase overall value.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

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...

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:29 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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