The release of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 series graphics cards certainly has not been a rather smooth one. Though the performance and features are there two things backfired at NVIDIA, heat and noise levels.

What many people still do not know is that the media tested with reference engineering samples. The final retail samples have been tweaked a little. And sure, while  they are still noisy and warm, things have gotten a notch better alright. Today's review on Zotac's GeForce GTX 480 for example did not peak over 88 degrees C when completely stressed. Long story short, today is the start of several GTX 480 reviews we have lined up for the weeks to come. Now and in the near future we'll test boards from Zotac, ASUS but also have liquid cooled boards inbound from Inno3D and eVGA which apparently appeals to many of you.

Today we start off with Zotac, a company that has been quite active in the USA, EU and recently in Australia as well. We start off the review with the standard skinny on technology, we'll get you up-to-date on all the reference and official specifications and features of the new cards.

Before browsing to the next page let's have a peek at what is releases from the Zotac grotto, the all new GeForce GTX 480, which is set to deliver a knockout in single-GPU performance.

Have a peek at the green goblin we review today, and then head on over to the next page where we'll start up this review


GeForce GTX 480 4-way SLI review

You know, a couple of weeks ago I started to get the Guru itch, it happens so often really. In this case, the itch to achieve something remarkable with hardware. Reaching that x-factor with cool gear. Right at that time NVIDIA released a new driver for the GeForce GTX 480 cards, that new driver supports 4-way SLI on just one title ... 3DMark Vantage.

And as silly as it really is, it intrigued me. You know, the fastest multi-GPU setup I created last year achieved a 26449 mark (P score 3Dmark Vantage). Now with the recent refresh of the X58 motherboards, the all new Core i7 980X processor and the GeForce GTX 480 slowly becoming available we figured, frack it ... go for it. Create an uber-PC worthy of breaking that personal 3DMark Vantage score of mine.

Oh my, that was easier said than done. First order of business, contact NVIDIA. We needed more GTX 480 cards, helps us! So after a few calls, we had in house the reference GTX 480, two GTX 480 cards from Point of View and a week later, Zotac jumped in as well and send out their GeForce GTX 480 as well. So the four cards needed are in.

Meanwhile I requested to Intel to get the Core i7 980 Extreme shipped back for this uber-tweaking project. To create the infrastructure needed for Quad SLI we however made one monumental mistake, we picked the wrong motherboard.

See, to bypass CPU bottlenecks and really move forward in the Vantage score we'd had to overclock the processor on a very capable motherboard. Right after reviewing it we picked up the ASUS Rampage III Extreme. Once we started building this rig, during unboxing we realized .. for quad-SLI with four graphics card we'd need a 4-way SLI bridge. ASUS does not deliver that bridge with their motherboards, somewhat puzzled, that should have been our first hint.

We contacted some AIBs for that bridge to no avail, we contacted NVIDIA to no avail as they actually discouraged this article as Quad SLI with four cards really was only intended for the hardcore overclocking scene versus 3DMark Vantage scores. Considering that's exactly what we are after we then pushed forward.

eVGA Europe was kind enough to send out the 4-way SLI bridge. Meanwhile eVGA USA got back with a curiosity, they sincerely doubted that 4-way SLI would even work with the ASUS R3E as it has no additional NVIDIA NF200 ICs embedded on the motherboard, according to eVGA the motherboard would need 2x NF200 to support 4-way SLI.

GeForce GTX 480 liquid cooling Danger Den review

The GeForce GTX 480 is a hot card in both performance but unfortunately also temperatures, that is not exactly a secret. It's been haunting the product ever since its release.

Here at Guru3D we've continuously been stating that the true aficionados will opt for water-cooling for this product, and we always put our money where our mouth is, thus had to bring you at least one review on a liquid-cooled GeForce GTX 480. Now if you want something beastly in your PC -- this will be it man.

So today we'll liquid cool a GeForce GTX 480. We'll be testing what temperatures we can reach but also look at the more advanced stuff, how well the card would overclock with the much improved temperatures. And does that whale of a reference cooler consume a lot of power? E.g. will the overall TDP of the graphics card go down or up when we add it to a water-cooling loop?

All these questions will be answered in today's article. The folks at Danger Den shipped out their most shiny nickel plated GTX 480 cooling block, and we will put that to the test. We'll have a look at the product, the installation, temperatures before and after, we'll overclock ad yea... thus look at power consumption as well.



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