Galaxy GeForce GTX 480 Super OC 1536MB Video Card

Galaxy make the fastest single GPU card faster. The question we ask is whether or not they can also make it better.

Manufacturer: Galaxy
16 minutes & 49 seconds read time

Introduction and Package


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I'm sure that I'm not the only person who has been waiting for a card like this to come. The GTX 480, a lot like the GTX 470, wasn't plagued with poor performance when it came to pumping out the FPS, but it didn't do well when we looked at the noise of the card and the temperature it was running at.

We saw not all that long after the launch of the GTX 470 that companies attacked the model quickly with both higher clocks to increase performance, and also better cooling solutions to help drop both the noise level and the temperature.

Finally the GTX 480 gets its time. Galaxy has not only slapped on the Super OC tag which we're beginning to love, but they've also strapped on a super cooler which no doubt will look familiar for some. Before we get into all that, though, let's check out the package we've got.

The Package

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Galaxy GeForce GTX 480 Super OC 1536MB Video Card 04

Galaxy GeForce GTX 480 Super OC 1536MB Video Card 05

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In the whole package there's nothing too exciting going on. Having said that, the front of the box shows us a picture of the card and gives us a bit of a run down on the advantages the card offers compared to the reference card. As for the rest of the package, we've got a driver CD, some paperwork, DVI to VGA connector and a HDMI cable.

Card and Specifications

The Card

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Galaxy GeForce GTX 480 Super OC 1536MB Video Card 08

Looking at the card itself, you see that Arctic Cooling heatsink we've seen before on some of the fastest cards we've tested, including the Sapphire HD 5970 TOXIC that did a fantastic job of impressing us. The biggest con to the cooler is that it's a triple slot one, and it's something that no doubt has to be noted. Turning the card over, you can see that we've also got a massive plate on the back of the card which looks good.

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Around the rest of the card, there's the normal familiar connectors that you're used to seeing. Power is supplied with a single 8-Pin and 6-Pin connector. We've got our two SLI connectors and connectivity is offered via two Dual-Link DVI ports and a mini HDMI port.


Carrying the Super OC tag means that the card is of course overclocked and if previous cards are anything to go by, Galaxy should've done something decent here. First, let's just start with the stock GTX 480 which carries with it a 701MHz core, 1401MHz Shader clock and 3696MHz QDR on the 1536MB of GDDR5.

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Galaxy has increased the core to 760MHz. This has in turn bumped the Shader clock to a nice 1520MHz. It's also great to see they've taken the time to increase the memory speed. They've rounded that off to 3800MHz QDR. Galaxy is quoting a performance increase of 10% and the clocks would suggest we'll see something around that area.

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.

It's been a while since we've only tested higher end cards with mid range ones dominating the sample pool lately. Combined with the fact that we've also just recently upgraded the testbed, we don't have a whole lot of cards at the moment.

With that said, we've tested the standard GTX 480 from GIGABYTE and we've also got the HD 5870. Further to that, we've included the GTS 450 SLI setup from Galaxy we tested recently which brought with it some good performance and good value. It'll be interesting to see how the GTX 480 goes against it.

Let's get started!

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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 in our first test we can see that the GTX 480 Super OC from Galaxy offers us a nice boost in performance in both the P and the X preset. Thanks to the PhysX support, we also see the card doesn't have any trouble dealing with the HD 5870 in this case.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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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Checking out Heaven, we again see a very good gain from the Galaxy GTX 480 Super OC. Compared to the HD 5870, we also again see performance is very strong; in this case it's thanks to the stellar tessellation performance from the 400 series.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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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Under RE5 we see the NVIDIA setups perform very strong. We again see a nice little boost in performance across the board when compared to the stock clocked version as well.

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:
Product Homepage:

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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Compared to the HD 5870, we again see the Galaxy GTX 480 Super OC performing very strong. Across the boards its numbers are very high with the game not being an issue at any resolution. Compared to the reference GTX 480, we again see some nice gains across the board.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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 very intensive and you can see at the highest resolution all setups perform under 60 FPS. The reference GTX 480 and HD 5870 both score a solid 55 FPS. The overclock on the Galaxy Super OC GTX 480 helps lift FPS to an impressive 59 which with just a minor detail drop would get us over 60 FPS, which is fantastic.

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:
Product Homepage:

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 another very intensive game and we again see at 2560 x 1600 no setup is able to break the 60 FPS mark. At 1920 x 1200, though, only the GTX 480s manage to break that number and the Super OC breaks it with a little more breathing room.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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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Like our last two games, we see that 2560 x 1600 is a struggle for these setups. At 1920 x 1200 we really see the advantage of the overclock. You can see the Galaxy GTX 480 Super OC is the only card able to break the 60 FPS mark and it does it by a good 4 FPS.

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:
Product Homepage:

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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Under the Low preset for FF XIV we can see that the GTX 480s and HD 5870 perform quite close to each other. When we move to High, though, the GTX 480s begin to separate themselves and we see that OC from Galaxy once again come in handy.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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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Big numbers across the board for SF IV; even bigger numbers for the GTX 480 when compared to the HD 5870s, though, and even bigger numbers than that for the Galaxy Super OC offering which again gives us a nice little bump in performance.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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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We can see that on all setups we're able to play FC2 with max settings at all resolutions. The GTX 480s do sit ahead, with the Galaxy Super OC once again having the lead thanks to that extra OC.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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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Like FC2, we can see that we're playable at all resolutions on all setups. The Galaxy GTX 480 Super OC again shows its power, though, taking out top spot.

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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We see when we turn on AA and AF the Galaxy GTX 480 Super OC continues to perform strong. The most interesting number here would no doubt be the Mafia II one. We see across the board not a single card except the Galaxy is able to break the 60 FPS mark. It just goes to show how helpful that overclock can be.

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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We can see with PhysX on Mafia II struggles to get to 60 FPS at all resolutions. Batman AA on the other hand doesn't have the same problem. We again see the Galaxy GTX 480 help break that 30 FPS minimum as well at the highest resolution.

Temperature Test

Temperature Tests

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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We knew that big cooler would work well; we didn't think it would work this well, though. A cool 55c on this beast is very impressive and while we don't have the Sapphire HD 5870 and GIGABYTE GTX 480 in these results because of the testbed changes, on our previous temperature graphs the HD 5870 came in at over 60c and the GTX 480 over 70c.

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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Noise levels on the card are a little on the louder side of things. Once we get into testing, the card doesn't really get much louder. Looking at MSI Afterburner, the cooler sits at 45% when idling which is probably slightly higher than it needs to be. We'd probably just drop it down slightly to make it less audible, but by no means are the noise levels a problem; especially once it went in a case.

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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While some would argue the power draw on the GTX 400 series is just too high, the 425 Watt number which is the number we get from our whole system minus the monitor is still very low. A good 650 Watt power supply wouldn't run into any problems with this 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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Overall performance is very strong; you can see it's a clear winner over the reference GTX 480 and a very clear winner over the HD 5870.

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 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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When you get to the higher end market of cards, it's no surprise that overall value begins to drop. What we do see here is that compared to the HD 5870 the value is better, and compared to the stock clocked card, just in terms of performance, its value is very similar, which is good considering the extra dollars that are associated with this model.

What this graph doesn't take into account is just how much better the cooler is, and to some that holds a priceless value.

Final Thoughts

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.

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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.

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