The GTX 480 is meh, the GTX 470 is a very good card for the money.
It is 10% slower than the 5870, a gap that will quickly close with new drivers as every single card release in the history of the GPU has shown, it has an architectural advantage that allows it to beat the 5870 when a decent amount of tessellation is used now, let alone after new drivers, and it costs $70 cheaper as far as we know.
That is a damn good card.
Yes it requires a little more power, yes the temps are a little higher, and yes its a little louder (not nearly as loud as many think), but those issues are so overblown in these forums today its insane, especially since they are back-seat issues to the most important, price and performance.
470 is about 8% slower then the 5870 for about 7% less, so a good buy on that front. Would clearly benifit from an extra shader cluster (16 shaders) though...
As for the 480, its competitive with the 5970, but at a much lower price ($499 vs around $700), so at the really high end, it makes more sense then the 5970. Its advantages over the 5870 remain to be seen though. Sometimes, it crushes the 5870, sometimes, the 5870 wins. And this goes beyond teh standard game bias, something else is at work. [I suspect again those missing shader clusters comming into play].
I would also like more DX11 samples, particularlly with Tesselation [which is the future], as that should be the cards greatest strength, so the 400 series probably has a bit more staying power over time...
Decent. Not RV2000 by any means; not the 5000 series...more like the 9000 series. A good upgrade from anything prior to the series before, but otherwise...eh.